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New concessions, new service at Hartsfield-Jackson

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is welcoming three

new additions.

A new videophone service and two new concessions are currently

available at the world's busiest airport, said Katena Carvajales,

spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson. The airport now has public-access

videophones (PAV) for the hearing impaired. It also has a U*tique

Shop and MiMuzicBox kiosk, operated by concessionaire Business

Traveler Services, she said.

"We are very excited to offer these options for our passengers and

keep Hartsfield-Jackson on the cutting edge of technology and

customer service," said Paul Brown, director of concessions at the

airport. "We are especially pleased to improve our level of service

to the deaf and hard of hearing."

Public-access videophones

The airport's six concourses, the north and south baggage claim areas

and the rental car center will each have one public-access

videophone, said Carvajales. The videophones will be a permanent

feature at the airport and will be installed throughout the summer,

she said.

"We want the deaf and hard of hearing to be able to [easily] maneuver

around the world's busiest airport," said Carvajales.

According to the Communication Service for the Deaf web site, www.c-s-

d.org, the public-access videophone is a multipurpose, Internet-based

communications device that provides a standard payphone, videophone,

keyboard and a camera. It was developed by Communication Service for

the Deaf, Inc.

U*tique Shop

U*tique, an automated luxury retail outlet, is currently located on

Concourse A, said the spokeswoman.

Mara Segal, founder and CEO of U*tique, Inc., said the outlet is a

boutique that serves style-conscious customers on a personal level.

The passengers that use U*tique are on-the-go and don't have time to

enter actual retail outlets at an airport, she explained.

The kiosk offers 56 different products, she added.

"We feature the product like a luxury boutique would," Segal said.

The outlet showcases items such as Hanky Panky women's underwear,

Jessica Simpson sunglasses, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, a Swarovski

encrusted pen, a men's shaving kit and Lady Gaga headphones from

Beats by Dr. Dre, said Segal.

The products are "assorted to appeal to both men and women," she said.

Passengers can choose the items on a touch screen, which also offers

information about the product, such as its ingredients, what it's

used for and the price. Once the product is chosen, customers can

swipe their credit card to pay. A patent-pending robot developed for

the retail outlet handles the product of choice and carefully places

it in a container. Once it is placed inside the container, it is made

accessible to the customer to retrieve, she said.

Segal said prices range from $5 to $200. "We really strive to find

items that have real value to consumers," she said.

According to Segal, U*tique, which made its debut on June 17, is

doing well at Hartsfield-Jackson.

"It is like window shopping," she said.

MiMuzicBox

Due to the increased use of technology among travelers, a MiMuzicBox

kiosk is available on Concourse T, at Hartsfield-Jackson, said Bill

Swift, president of Business Travel Services.

For the last five years, said Swift, Business Travel Services has

tried to obtain a device that could download anything in five

minutes. Almost any download can occur in under two minutes with the

MiMuzicBox kiosk, he said.

For example, a song can be downloaded in seconds, and a music album

in under a minute, he said.

The kiosk can download media such as music, movies and audio books to

laptops, smartphones or any electronic device, he said.

The concessionaire found a need for this kiosk, by asking passengers

what they most desired at the airport. Passengers expressed wanting

an area where they could download entertainment onto their electronic

devices, he said.

"It's price competitive," added Swift.

He said passengers can download a song for 99 cents. Movie prices

range from $4.99, to $18.99, he added.

Swift explained that MiMuzicBox provides updated, downloadable

entertainment almost daily. The kiosk has more than 10,000 items for

customers to choose from.

The kiosk cannot import anything from other devices, so customers

needn't worry about viruses.

"The only interaction is from our company [MiMuzicBox] to the

device," Swift said.

He said the kiosk went online two weeks ago.

"We would like to put in a dozen at Atlanta's airport," said Swift.