Looking for trends and innovations in the airport experience? Keep an eye on Scandinavian airports

airporttrends•com reports on the latest commercial trends and innovations at airports around the world, be it airport retail, F&B, advertising and the overall airport experience. We aim to inspire professionals working in or related to the airport industry to connect with passengers in a different way, by sharing ideas, insights, knowledge about today’s and tomorrow’s airport experience, because we believe airports are much more than just spaces of transit.

Scandinavia´s forward-looking airports have been dreaming up novel airport services, retail and F&B concepts that tie in with current trends such as ‘Sense of Place’, ‘The Sharing Economy’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Transcient Spaces’, ‘Third Places’ and ‘Connected Travellers’.

One of our favourite regions where innovative concepts ‘pop up’ on a regular basis is Scandinavia, as the region’s forward-looking airports have been dreaming up novel airport services, retail and F&B concepts that tie in with current trends such as ‘Sense of Place’, ‘The Sharing Economy’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Transcient Spaces’, ‘Third Places’ and ‘Connected Travellers’.

For your inspiration, here are some innovative concepts from Helsinki Vantaa, Copenhagen Kastrup and Stockholm Arlanda that have caught our eye.



Relaxation Area
Opened in the fall of 2013, the Relaxation Area at Helsinki Vantaa Airport is open free of charge to all passengers and includes silence chairs, pods and sleeping tubes. The decoration and ambience has been created to reflect elements of Finnish nature, such as ice and snow. The idea behind the lounge is to provide passengers a calming and peaceful environment, far removed from the stress of the everyday airport terminal.

The lounge is the result of a partnership between airport operator Finavia and Vantaa Innovation Institute and half a dozen Finnish companies.

Marjukka Holopainen–Rainio, Project Manager, Airport Concepts at the Vantaa Innovation Institute, told Future Travel Experience: “There are not many places where passengers can relax, sleep or take a nap at airports, so we wanted to give the Relaxation Area to ordinary people, for those who are not able to travel as VIPs. When we were travelling ourselves, we realised many times that there should be a better alternative than an uncomfortable bench or even the dirty floor. We see this Relaxation Area as a great addition to services for passengers. We hope to catch all types of passengers and also offer a service for those who don’t use airport lounges.”

Suvanto Private Pods
On a similar note, Finavia has partnered with Finnish companies Martela (office furniture), UPM (plywood), Fortum (electricity) and Karelia-Upofloor (wooden floors) to introduce a ‘private space’ concept at Helsinki Airport in 2012.

Called ‘Suvanto’ (which can be translated as ‘quiet waters’), the private pods provide passengers with a tranquil space to make their waiting time more comfortable and make it more convenient to work between flights. Says Marko Tikkanen, director at Finavia, “Our goal has been to create a new kind of passenger service, which is available for everyone and meets the challenges of the changing passenger culture.”

The three Suvanto lounges are located near the gates 16, 26 and 36 and can be used free of charge. Free wi-fi is also available throughout Helsinki Airport, and earlier this year, the airport also installed 15 charging points at the gates that are sponsored by energy supplier Fortum.

Airport Book Swap
In 2012, Helsinki Airport also launched an Airport Book Swap, which was voted one of the top three ideas in the joint Finnair and Finavia the Quality Hunters co-creation iniative.

The book swapping space allows passengers to drop off books they have finished reading and make them available for other readers passing through the airport. Quality Hunter ‘Yalotar’ describes the book exchange facility as follows: “What started off as an idea, has now developed into something tangible: A small room with bookshelves and books. Anyone can come in and relax for a while. There are some cozy armchairs as well, in case you’re like me and actually need to read parts of the book before choosing. So, if you have a book in your bag that you’re already done with, you can leave it to the bookshelves. Just tag it with the Book Swap sticker, write down where the book has travelled with you and choose a new book to enjoy. So happy and proud for my input!”

According to Helsinki Airport Customer Experience Manager Johanna Metsälä, “The Book Swap station’s interior design is based on suggestions made by the online community, as are the mechanics for book swapping. Even the Book Swap logo is a community member’s design.”

Almost@Home Lounge
Counterbalancing the often quite sterile airport lounges – although the ambiance of airport lounges is improving rapidly – the Almost@Home Lounge at Helsinki Vantaa aims to resemble a modern Finnish home. Passengers can make their own snacks in a kitchen, work in a home office with HP computers, or borrow a pair of woollen socks at the reception and curl up on the couch with a book.

The Almost@Home Lounge at Helsinki Vantaa can be viewed as a showroom, similar to the idea behind the bed and bedding stores that many hotel operate in order to allow hotel guests to “buy the bed they have just slept in.”

The idea behind the lounge is to provide a homey rest stop for hurried passengers, tapping into the so-called ‘being space’ trend, as coined by

Operated by airport restaurateur SSP Finland, The Almost@home lounge has been decorated with original artwork, handicraft, furniture and household items by renowned Finnish designers such as Wirkkala vases, Artek ‘2nd Cycle’ chairs, iitala table and glassware, and a kitchen by Avestia.

The heart of the lounge is a fully equipped kitchen and dining area with a variety of fresh food, drinks, snacks, and bakery products where travellers can make their own snacks. In the living room passengers can watch TV or sit on a sofa in the book corner and pick up a book from one of the book shelves to read.

Another innovative feature of the lounge is the possibility for guests to purchase any article or furnishing found in the lounge that takes their fancy, which sort of turns the facility into a showroom, much like the idea behind the bed and bedding stores that many hotel operate in order to allow hotel guests to “buy the bed they have just slept in.”


CPH Apartment
Helsinki’s Almost@Home Lounge may have been inspired by ‘CPH Apartment’ at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport, a lounge that is inspired by classical Copenhagen luxury apartments with stucco ceilings, herringbone parquet and quality Scandinavian furniture.The venue is divided into six zones: An entrance hall with a cloakroom area, an information zone with flight information screens, newspapers and international magazines, a dining room with a lit fireplace, a sitting room where passengers can relax and recharge, a library with easy chairs and a view of the aircraft on the tarmac, and a conference zone where up to four persons can hold meetings in calm surroundings.

The furniture at CPH Apartment is primarily Scandinavian, including bookshelves from Muuto, dining chairs from Hay, a Beck lounge table, the award-winning ‘In Duplo’ sofa from Erik Jørgensen and the famous Wing Chair designed by H. J. Wegner. Unlike the Helsinki lounge, items featured at CPH Apartment are not for sale.

Tapping into the local, sustainable and healty trend, food & beverage operator SSP’s Foodmarket deli concept at Copenhagen Kastrup is based on Danish nutrition expert Louise Bruun’s 80/20 principle of eating wholesome food most of the time, but also leaving room for less-healthy indulgences. Foodmarket features dishes made from fresh, organic produce including soups, hot wraps, salads, freshly baked organic bread and made-to-order sandwiches, burgers and juices, as well as cookies, cakes and snacks.

All suppliers have been carefully selected to support the concept, which is the result of a partnership between SSP and well-known Copenhagen restaurateurs Jakob Blom and Kristian Willumsen. Furthermore, Foodmarket customers can access the nutritional facts of the food on offer by scanning QR codes using one of the iPads available in the deli.

Nordic Dining Pop-up
Copenhagen Airport celebrated the 2013 Copenhagen Cooking food festival with the opening of an in-terminal pop-up restaurant. The airport teamed up with F&B operator, SSP (again), and Michelin-starred chefs Thomas Rode, Mikkel Marschall and David Johansen, to open CPH Nordic Dining for 6 weeks. The chefs took turns to offer passengers Danish-inspired menus that included fresh, seasonal, locally grown products.

A Michelin-level pop-up restaurant definitely reflects our ambition for the F&B category: we aim to have one of world’s best F&B offers in an airport, and we aim to continue to surprise and thrill travelers at CPH.” - Carsten Nørland, Copenhagen Airport

As Copenhagen Airport’s VP for Sales and Marketing, Carsten Nørland commented on the initiative: “Gastronomy is one of the strongest trademarks of Denmark, and we want to use CPH Nordic Dining to give travellers a taste of the latest and very best of what Copenhagen and Denmark as a whole have to offer. Over the past two years, we have managed to substantially improve our F&B offer. We have brought in a number of strong brands and focused on creating value for money across categories – and with great success. A Michelin-level pop-up restaurant definitely reflects our ambition for the F&B category: we aim to have one of world’s best F&B offers in an airport, and we aim to continue to surprise and thrill travelers at CPH.”


Food Truck
Stockholm Arlanda Airport in the fall of 2013 joined the popular food truck movement to promote its food and beverages offerings. The airport’s Arlanda Food Truck scheme offered the general public in downtown Stockholm a sample of the cuisine available from restaurants at the airport.

As Arlanda had recently revamped its food offerings, the airport decided to take samples of the cuisine available on the road using food trucks, in order to raise awareness of the new cafes and restaurants furnishing the airport, without waiting for customers to visit the airport first.

Charging a standard price of SEK 65 (EUR 7.50, USD 10) a meal, the food truck visited multiple locations around Stockholm and kept customers updated of its whereabouts through its own website.

Eco Taxis
In order to achieve more sustainable taxi services to and from the airport, Arlanda Airport’s inventive called ‘Eco Taxi’ scheme gives priority to vehicles that emit less than 120 gram of CO2 per kilometer in the airport’s taxi lanes. The fewer emissions a taxi produces, the shorter the waiting time will be for being dispatched to the taxi lane in front of the terminal. The taxi dispatch system automatically gives the shortest waiting times to cars with the lowest environmental impact, such as hybrid, biofuel or flexi-fuel powered vehicles. As one taxi driver at the airport put it: “I save at least one hour a day in this way, as I do not have to stand at the end of the ‘normal’ taxi line.”

How it works: All taxis that deliver and pick up customers at Stockholm-Arlanda are gathered in a designated remote parking area. To get physical access to this area, and participate in the queue system, a taxi has to be registered at the airport. This provides Arlanda Airport with the opportunity to calculate CO2 emissions based on the vehicle’s registration certificate. In line with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions model, a 65 percent deduction in emissions is made for cars that run on ethanol and an 85 percent deduction is made for those that run on biogas, as net emissions are lower with green fuel.

To ensure vehicles that run on ‘green’ fuel actually refuel with it, there is a monitoring system that checks to ensure whether the car has at least 80 percent of the fuel indicated.

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