by Susan Young
Last updated: 9:39 PM ET, Wed September 7, 2022
Get used to that word if you are traveling to, from or through Orlando International Airport's new Terminal C.
The massive concourse is full of wow moments everywhere you look.
The 1.8 million-square-foot terminal expects to serve up to 12 million passengers annually with amenities such as a nursing station, serenity room and pet relief areas. You will also find more than 33 retail, restaurant and beverage options. Orange County Brewers offer local beers while Wine Bar George offers a wide range of choices for your favorite bouquet.
Modern architecture by Fentress Architects is designed to allow natural light to fill the space using skylights, which form the spine of the structure. Arrival and Departure levels are switched from the usual configuration with arrivals located on Level 6 and departures on Level 2. As travelers arrive at their first impression of Central Florida, they will be surrounded by natural sunlight, the region's main attraction.
Walking through the structure, immersive art installations greet weary travelers, offering a calm experience during a normally stressful time. Directed to the uppermost level of the terminal, visitors are greeted by a technologically advanced luggage transport system, speeding up delivery time and easing the worry of lost baggage.
Scott Goodwin, Assistant Director Airport Operations for Baggage Handling Systems, explained that an Individual Carrier System is used, replacing the old conveyor belt arrangement. Each bag goes into its own bin, or tote, coded with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to track bags and eliminate jamming.
Scott also described the Early Bag Store, EBS, system which stores luggage in a separate area using robotic cranes to retrieve bags when needed.
"The EBS is a game changer, especially for the unique Orlando market. As guests depart from various hotels, cruise ships, or other accommodations mid-morning, they frequently arrive at the airport sometimes many hours prior to departure." Scott goes on to explain that the system is totally automated with nine cranes storing and retrieving bags when needed.
Amenities such as armrest phone chargers are just a sample of the many conveniences geared toward traveler satisfaction. A lot of the usual airport headaches have been streamlined with everything from facial recognition systems for international flights to automated screening lanes at TSA checkpoints.
As a way of introducing "The Orlando Experience", interactive graphic arts installations pop up in three locations, a great way for all ages to spend time between connections. The amazing Experiential Media Environment design by Gentilhomme Studio with Sardi Design includes 114-feet wide displays of custom LED panels. Scenes of "swimming with manatees to observing NASA launches," showcase Central Florida's dynamic identity.
Sustainability was also a factor in the design with the use of solar panels, reduced water consumption and irrigation systems and temperature control systems, among others. Even the palm "Forever Trees" were created using preserved materials from live palms and cypress. The goal is to be awarded the first LEED V4-certified airport structures.
Terminal C officially opens to the public on September 20, 2022, hosting JetBlue, Emirates, Icelandair, Lufthansa and British Airways, among others. Adjacent to the terminal, an Intermodal Terminal Facility will bring access to Brightline intercity rail, along with future commuter and light rail space.
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