Tuesday, 24 February 2009

No perfume under the flightpath

In this audiofile clip in Passenger Terminal Today Leading passengers by the nose the chairman of Scent Air explains how perfume in air conditioning systems is influencing passenger behaviour at East Midland’s Airport in the UK. Scents are selected for different zones of the airport, to reduce annoyance caused by queues, security and delays.

In baggage reclaim the chocolate chip cookie scent is supposed to be homely and can engender feelings of hunger, and there is speculation that this might have helped the sales go up in the nearby Costa Coffee. The scent can be changed for different times of year. So at Christmas there was an ‘Old St Nick’ scent with notes of cloves and mulled wine which made customers feel Christmassy and celebratory. The scent is subtle so it works subliminally. However perfume is an effective form of ‘mood management’. As it explains in the clip, we are so bombarded with information and advertising now that we become more adept at tuning it out. We cannot turn off our sense of smell though, we have to breathe.

People who live under the flightpath have to breathe as well. I have family living in one of the many villages nearby that are under the flightpaths of East Midland Airport. The air isn’t so sweet here from the cocktail of pollutants spewing out of the noisy old freighters flying over. The noise is round the clock with night flights allowed. Like many airports East Midlands is planning massive expansion, supposedly unfazed by the economic downturn, aiming to more than double traffic by 2016 with cargo tripling in this period.

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