Projects: SFO’s New Terminal 3E Flight Deck

January 28, 2014 by Dave Haynes


San Francisco International re-opened a renovated Terminal 3E today, and one of the signature elements of the bustling facility is an experiential area called Flight Deck, put together by the Emerging Experiences team at Razorfish.

On that team’s blog, it describes how they were contracted by Hensel-Phelps, one of the largest general contractors and construction managers in the United States, to create the area.

So just what is Flight Deck? The SFO Flight Deck is composed of three distinct but connected digital experiences — an interactive and real time large scale projection (you can’t miss it), six multi-touch kiosks that are rich with beautiful content, and a mobile takeaway component for those on the go. The entire experience resides in Terminal 3, but the projected visualization serves as a beacon calling all SFO guests to contribute to the global SFO travel story. Content in all three experiences encompasses the entire airport and extends its reach into the city of San Francisco and global destinations.


In order to serve the wide gamut of travel guests, the team operated under the following experience pillars at all times. If an idea did not fit under two or more of these pillars, it hit the floor.

1. Quick and meaningful interactions should maintain quality and depth.

2. Playful collaborations should be maintained throughout the experience.

3. Your personal narrative is part of the SFO story.

Why? As mentioned earlier, the assignment was not so simple. Today’s travelers are in a rush. How and why do we make busy passengers take the time to stop and engage? Inspired by the golden age of travel, when it was considered a magical thing and an experience to do so, we wanted to bring back the joy of the travel experience.

The team dug into SFO’s archives to come up with hundreds of old photos of the airfield.

Very nice. That projection piece will be hugely challenged by ambient light, even with a 20K projector. But I like.




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