Atlanta airport hackathon: Teams propose ideas to improve air travel

2:41 p.m Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Travel

What do travelers need in an airport app? How can Delta Air Lines improve its handling of unaccompanied children and passengers in wheelchairs? And what would it take to get people to do their shopping at the airport?

Those are some of the questions that 22 teams of entrepreneurs tackled in a hackathon sponsored by Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Delta. The program stretched over several weeks with an ideation lab, hackathon and pitch competition this month.

At the final pitch competition, one of the teams selected to develop their idea with the airport over the next 90 days is Flycart, which plans to deploy personal shoppers around the airport that can take orders for items from airport shops via an app and deliver the purchases to passengers at their gates.

The winning teams aren't paid, but in exchange for allowing use of their idea for free as a pilot project, they gain experience and keep the intellectual property.

Another winning team proposed an airport app that highlights the estimated wait time at security checkpoints, photos of airport restaurants' food selections and a button to request assistance for passengers in wheelchairs based on their location.

A team that proposed a system of tracking unaccompanied minors flying on Delta using digitally-connected wristbands will work with the airline on its ideas.

"If you think about unaccompanied minors or customers needing special assistance, these are things that make the news if you get it wrong," said Delta manager of airport customer service technology Jesse Adams.

And Goodr, a company that collects unused food from restaurants and events to donate and reduce waste, was selected to work with the airport on its proposal.

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