Airport iPads

Monday, March 21, 2011 - 9:00am

Popular gadget is being tested as menu replacers at New York airports.

The iPad has changed almost every aspect of daily life. Many restaurants and bars are starting to replace paper menus with iPads and now the high-tech gadget is being tested at two of New York City's largest airports.

The idea: give travelers a break before they take to the skies.

At JFK's Delta terminal, Rachel Leibson waits to catch the last leg of her flight home to Albany. Rachel says "I've been flying for about 12 hours and I'm very tired."

Tired and hungry. But on this layover, Leibson is getting a taste of the recently revamped waiting areas near the gate. Rows of tables and booths outfitted with the hottest gadget, iPads, that serve as menus for travelers to place food and drink orders.

Rachel says "it was cool. I could scroll the menu and I didn't have to go stand at a counter and wait for them to bring the food over."

Instead, waiters bring the food to those waiting. Airport food management company, OTG installed the iPad lounges at Delta terminals at both JFK and LaGuardia. CEO Rick Blatstein calls it the start of an overall plan to overhaul air travel.

Rick Blastein, CEO of OTG, says "we really wanted to deliver an experience in the gate hold areas that was a restaurant quality restaurant lounge, really give you your time back."

The new look at the terminals has a bit of an old feel, a throwback to curbside, or gateside service where you can order and the overall travel experience is meant to be more enjoyable.

Travelers can also use the iPads for free to check email, surf the internet or even play a game of checkers. Another plus: frequent fliers have a place to recharge. A welcome change at a time when travelers are used to paying more and getting less.

Rachel says "it's nice to have a good experience at the gate beforehand."

And a high-tech trend that could soon land at an airport near you.

At both Delta terminals at JFK and LaGuardia, more than 200 iPads have been installed so far.

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