Why Newark Airport walkways are better

A view of Newark Airport at sunset.
A view of Newark Airport at sunset.

Newark Airport in New Jersey has unique features in its terminals that I wish more airports would adopt.

I’m referring to the airport’s moving walkways that help people go from one area to the next faster while using less physical energy.

These moving walkways (or moving sidewalks as some call them) are essentially extremely long conveyor belts that line the outside of the walkway between the security checkpoint near the terminal entrance and the gates to board planes.

The design

It’s not that others don’t have them. At Newark Airport, however, the moving walkway surface is rubber in some areas, with a certain amount of “bounce” in the path (I wish they all were like this).

This design differs from other moving walkways that take on the form of a flat escalator, using slotted metal plates as the base.

Both versions move at about the same speed, but in my experience, the rubber design of the moving walkways inside Newark Liberty International Airport (and others) lends some extra help to those who are running late.

My experience at Newark Airport

In a recent trip to New York, I made a poor planning decision while on my way to my flight home and arrived at Newark 30 minutes before my flight was scheduled to take off.

I was lucky that the security lines were not too long (although it felt like forever) and I was able to get my shoes back on quickly enough to sprint down the terminal to my assigned gate.

Knowing I had little time to spare, I zeroed-in on the moving sidewalks on my way to the gates and began to take my long strides even faster.

I was fully aware of my need to get to my seat as soon as possible but I couldn’t take my mind away from the amazing bounce I was feeling as I took each step of my sprint. What a feeling!

Minus the anxiety of running late, it was like running on clouds.

A view of one of the moving walkways at Newark Airport.
A view of one of the moving walkways at Newark Airport, although it’s not the one I ran on.

Terminal B (where I was) has a somewhat similar design to George H. W. Bush International Airport in Houston in that planes connect to the terminal in circular pods, rather than hallways with just two sides.

I was thankful for these pods that day as I was able to find my gate and briskly walk up to the agent, present my ticket, and board.

Check out the moving sidewalks in Detroit

A view of the "Light Tunnel" inside Detroit Metropolitan Airport.
A view of the “Light Tunnel” inside Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) – Photo courtesy of Steve Hopson Photography.

The question of speed

As I slumped into my seat, out of breath, I wondered how fast I was running through the terminal. It made me want to go back and have someone pace me. Another time would have to do.

Later on, I learned that moving walkways are also known as “travelators” in British English (also “travolator”). I kind of prefer travelator, personally.

It’s hard to believe this invention has been around for more than 100 years.

What do you think about moving walkways in airports?

Featured image courtesy of Doug Letterman via Flickr

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