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New Automated Retail Lounge Unveiled at Syracuse Airport

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The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA) unveiled a new automated retail lounge at Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) Wednesday, the design of which was a partnership with students from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) College of Art and Design. The new automated retail lounge is centrally located on the first level of the airport, pre-security checkpoint.

The new automated retail lounge will expand the airport’s 24/7 food and beverage offerings, as well as provide a new, stylish seating area for travelers and visitors to the airport. A variety of specialty vending options are now available including sandwiches, subs, salads, yogurt parfaits, ramen noodles, hot breakfast sandwiches, hot comfort foods, cookies from local baker Kadesha Carter’s “Cupcakes R Me”, a variety of snacks, the world’s second most popular coffee, other beverages, and more!

Additionally, Visit Syracuse has installed two interactive kiosks in the lounge to personalize and improve the traveler’s journey through digital experiences, interactive mapping, and itinerary building. The kiosks even serve as photo booths. A large, eye-catching video wall on the north side of the lounge displays rich content videos, social media, and advertising. These additions to the lounge set a great first impression of and deeper connection to our area, encouraging travelers to explore more in our region.

“Seeing the fruits of our collaboration with the students from RIT’s College of Art and Design has been very rewarding,” said Syracuse Regional Airport Authority Chief Commercial Officer Jason Mehl. “The students’ design has helped us meet a real-world need here at the airport while simultaneously elevating the customer experience pre-security checkpoint for travelers, visitors, and airport workers.”

Kelly Jahn, Visiting Lecturer of Interior Design at RIT’s College of Art and Design, created a competition for her students to design an area at SYR dedicated to housing a variety of automated retail units. This project, deemed “Hyperspace,” consisted of 15 teams of students who were tasked with providing the SRAA staff design options for the space. The teams created an amazing array of design ideas for the airport and saved the SRAA thousands of dollars in design fees.

“Air travel today is viewed by many as a tedious and stressful experience,” said Jahn. “Airport design strategies focus heavily on passenger experience post security, but typically do not consider the experience of the pre-security visitor. Working with airport staff to design a pre-security food and beverage concessions area gave RIT interior design students the opportunity to work with an actual client, tackle a contemporary issue, and apply their knowledge of the psychology of design.”

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