Ask any U.S. frequent flyer who passes through Washington Dulles what the phrase "mobile lounge" conjures up and you’ll likely be met by swearing, complaints, and the occasional horror story. I mean, just look at these things:
Admittedly, I do have a special place in my heart for these "moon buggies" (especially considering that it takes longer now to use the new passenger rail system), but how ghetto is it to have to crowd into one of those to move from terminal to terminal?
Yet the concept of a mobile lounge or mobile terminal should not be dismissed so quickly. For years (and on some flights to this day) passengers alighted from the aircraft directly onto the mobile lounges (they are able to elevate) then were chauffeured either to immigration or to the terminal. That made it possible to shuttle out more people when a runway was closed or a terminal under construction.
Which leads me to the tite of my post, the next generation of a mobile lounge–a mobile terminal in Geneva. GVA weather, with the Alps towering nearby, can be rotten during the winter months. To make matters worse, the airport is currently under construction.
In comes the solution (which I am frankly surprised has not caught on sooner): a mobile terminal. Bad weather? No problem. Runway closed? Relax. Busy summer flight schedule? Not to worry.
With a mobile terminal, you can specify how large you want it and place it just about anywhere you want on the airport property. It can be said up in a matter of days, not decades. And in case you thought amenities might be scaled back, the mobile terminals have creature comforts including check-in kiosks, wi-fi, space for food vendors, and plenty of power for departure and arrival boards, airline computer systems, and your precious laptops and mobile phones.
The mobile terminals haven’t been approved in the U.S. yet, but with the bungalows in use at SNA and LGB today, I don’t anticipate a long hold-up. Maybe that’s the best we can hope for at Washington Dulles: I doubt we’ll ever get the new midfield terminal before the turn of the century, so perhaps we should just set our sights on a new tent. Sadly, it’d beat Terminal C/D now. Then we’d need the mobile lounges again!
Pictures of the new mobile terminal here.