Next Generation Airports: Adapting to Millennials

next generation airport

If you’ve been following our blog lately, you should have realized millennials are different. They live differently, buy differently, and use technology differently. The millennial generation is the largest and most powerful generation since the baby boom. They have already revolutionized several industries, and they’re still not done. The airline industry is the next sector that millennials are trying to revolutionize. Millennials are creating the next generation airport.

Why airports need to cater to Millennials

next generation airport

Millennials form the core group of current travelers. Ranging from 23-38 years old, they have come of age and now form a powerful group of consumers and travelers. Since the world’s largest generation is now ready to spend money and travel, airports must be able to serve the millennial need. 

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA): 
Passenger demand will almost double from 2016 to 2036. The IATA expects 7.2 billion air travelers in 2035 compared to only 3.8 billion in 2016. Based on our calculations, this means 3.4 billion more travelers will fly in an industry that has been running for over 50 years. The next few years won’t just bring growth to the airline industry, they’ll bring a completely new generation as well. 

This new generation demands two things: connectivity and convenience. 


In today’s society, connectivity has turned into a basic human need. The millennial generation stands out from previous generations in many ways, but the most obvious is their use of technology. Growing up with Wi-Fi and a smartphone in their pocket, millennials have always had instant access to all the information they need and more. They crave connectivity. Whether it be through social media, texting, or iMessaging, millennials are always within a few buttons of each other. 

Let this sink in: according to a study done by Barkley Inc, some even say that the millennial generation considers digital connectivity as vital as any other basic human need, such as food or shelter.
While traditional basic needs such as food and drinks are usually easily accessible, airports often fail to provide a free and stable Wi-Fi connection. In a study conducted by Speedtest, it was concluded that while some airports offer passengers high-speed connection, air travellers in many other airports have to settle for speeds that “were slower than any Wi-Fi we [Speedtest] saw in Africa.”

This isn’t just a North American problem. Studies of Asian, European, and African airports confirm this is a global problem. In July 2018, the global average mobile speeds were 22.81 download Mbps and 9.13 upload Mbps. but, 66.67% of North American airports failed to reach this download speed while the same goes for 77.78% of the European airports and 80% of both the Asain and African airports. 

Yes, we realize that comparing Wi-Fi to food and water may seem a bit odd, but it’s 2019. If the generations of the future rely so heavily on connectivity then the next generation airport must be able to efficiently satisfy this need.


Part of the reason millennials crave connectivity is because it makes it very easy for them to communicate with each other. Despite the slow Wi-Fi, airports often have their own mobile apps. But do they use them to their full potential? Considering the Wi-Fi speeds, probably not. Millennials expect to be able to use mobile technology in every aspect of their lives; they buy, research, pay, talk, and use social media all on their mobile devices. The convenience of the cell phone is crucial to the Millennials. Mapsted’s technology doesn’t require internet connectivity to work; it allows passengers to stay connected and up to date, even with the slow airport Wi-Fi. Actually, airports don’t even need Wi-Fi at all to run Mapsted’s location-based technology. 

Long layovers can be stressful and tiresome, especially if travellers don’t know their way around the airport.

Where to find the souvenir shop? Which restaurant is recommended and where is it located? What’s the fastest way to get to a changed gate? All of these questions can easily be answered within airport apps using Mapsted’s indoor navigation technology. There’s nothing more convenient for a traveller than having the answers to all those questions right in the palms of their hands.

For airports to adapt to the next generation of travelers, they must keep millennials connected and provide access to convenient travel tools. According to Skift, airports will become, “a place people want to be, rather than where they go for transportation.” Even though this transformation will probably take a few more years to complete, airports will ultimately become a community with a town-square feeling to cater to the next generation of travellers. 

Ready? To create a next generation airport using Mapsted location technology contact us today!


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