New KC Airport Includes Digitally-Driven Simulation For First-Time And Anxious Fliers

March 1, 2023 by Dave Haynes

The brand-new terminal at Kansas City International Airport has, like most new and reno’d airports, a lot of digital display deployed around its sprawling footprint, including some 300 feet of fine pitch Nanolumens LED used to designate and locate airline check-in. But there’s also a super-interesting component that uses digital displays as part of an overall effort to calm first-time or anxious fliers.

Developed by Dimensional Innovations, which is based in KC, the Kansas City Air Travel Experience is a designated area in the new terminal that incorporates the front end of a mothballed commercial jet.

The lifelike, tech-heavy simulation aims to help ease the fears of first-time or anxious fliers, as well as children and those with special needs – including sensory issues, autism spectrum disorders, auditory and visual disabilities, and more. Housed in a decommissioned Airbus A321 fuselage, the simulation represents a true-to-life flying experience from check-in to touchdown – all without leaving the ground.

After going through KCI security, the journey begins with an actual check-in kiosk, where participants enter their confirmation number, check bags, and print their custom boarding pass. Once the kiosk light switches from red to green, practicing passengers can make their way down the imitation jet bridge and into the air travel experience. Passengers can then practice locating their seat, stowing carry-ons, and buckling their seatbelts.

The 15-minute simulation replicates every stage of flight: boarding, safety demonstration, taxi, takeoff, cruising, landing and deboarding. 360° video displays are mounted outside the cabin windows, offering a real-time view of KCI from the ground, then from above come “takeoff.” Ambient audio rumbles throughout the experience to replicate the roaring sounds of the engines, wing mechanics, tire screeching, pilot voiceovers and more.

Very clever!

There are also interactive areas in the new terminal aimed at kids, and at aviation buffs.

I also like what DI’s Director of Creative Technology did for testing …

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