Do you experience bouts of frustration just before a flight due to long queues and delays at check-in, or maybe just pre-flight stress? If so, Heathrow airport may have just improved your airport experience! This month, Heathrow has introduced a green ‘Garden Gate’ to help soothe frayed nerves.
Heathrow’s ‘Garden Gate’ consists of seven Biotecture green walls, each measuring 1.8m high by 2.4m wide. Each wall is made up of 240 species of plant, including Peace Lily and English Ivy, carefully chosen for their calming and purifying effects. Each wall is fitted with a water supply and nutrient system which allows the plants to flourish within this artificial environment. A total of 1,680 plants were used for the walls.
Currently on show at Gate 25 Terminal 3 at Heathrow, which sees an average of 287,274 passengers per year, the walls are now being trialled for a 6-month period. If passengers think they are a success, they will be expanded across the airport.
Flora and fauna have for some time been known to have positive psychological effects on people, working to reduce physical stress and decrease blood pressure.
Spokesman for Biotecture, the company that designed the wall, Richard Sabin, said: "The world’s major cities are increasingly investing in green infrastructure, and the Garden Gate, both technically and ecologically, is cutting edge for its ease of installation, unique plant selection and LED lighting system. As the nexus of transit and technology, transportation hubs are ideal locations for green infrastructure to become an investment in public health and well-being."
Heathrow holds the current title for Europe’s Best Airport at the Skytrax World Airport Awards. Speaking about the effects of the new horticultural display on customer satisfaction, Heathrow Strategy Director Emma Gilthorpe commented that customers can now “enjoy a natural sanctuary of rest and relaxation as they make their way through the airport".
"We are proud to have received our best ever passenger service scores to date this summer,” she added. “But we are always keen to make our passengers’ journeys better."
Heathrow’s ‘Garden Gate’ is the first of its kind in the UK, but green walls have been installed in several other international airports across the world, including Edmonton International Airport, Canada; Singapore’s Changi Airport and Christchurch Airport, New Zealand. The green walls have clearly had a lasting effect on customers, as Changi Airport has this year won the customer-voted Skytrax World’s Best Airport award for the fourth year running. The green walls have been named as a major factor in this vote.
Dubbed the ‘ecosanctuary’ within Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow’s Garden Gate will no doubt leave travellers feeling calm, serene and ready for their journey. If you’d like to see it being built, watch this amazing video:
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Some people rank airports for their range of destinations. Some focus on the shopping choice. But for an airport, surely the best way of judging success is based on punctuality. After all, having flights departing on time is what airports are all about – or at least it should be.