New real-time wait info at NYC Airport for the first time

Not just subways have countdown clocks.

New screens at one Kennedy Airport terminal now give travelers real-time wait information for customs, security and taxi lines using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals emitted from their phones.
Thirteen screens went live the first week of August in Terminal 4, which has 30 airlines, including KLM, Emirates and Jet Blue.

“It continuously updates,” said Daryl Jameson, a vice president at the company JFKIAT, which runs Terminal 4. “People like to know how long they are going to wait in queues. Nobody likes to wait in lines.”

Any phone that is on gives off signals that can be used to track passengers.

Managers are using the information to ease waits — by opening up more lanes using historical data to figure out how much staffing to have during a shift.

In the past, cameras and stopwatches were used to manually track how long it took fliers to get through lines. The data this methodology created was often inconsistent.

Airport advocates such as Joe Sitt of the Global Gateway Alliance praised the new technology.

“For too long, passengers were left on long lines at the airport, with no information,” said Sitt.
“Countdown clocks at JFK Terminal 4, however, are the kind of modern technology that infinitely improves the passenger experience and helps advance the airport into the 21st century. Now, it is time for the other NY and NJ terminals to bring this critical amenity their passengers.”  

The screens are privately funded and cost more than $250,000, according to JFKIAT. No other airport in New York has the screens.