OTG Management’s redesign of airport hold rooms at John F. Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA) has transformed standard seating arrangements and allowed the company to offer a restaurant-quality experience at the gate. Rick Blatstein, CEO of OTG, says customer response to the three initial locations, which opened in late November in two hold rooms in JFK’s Terminal 2 and one in Terminal 3, has been overwhelmingly positive.

“They’re just doing wonderfully,” Blatstein says. “Our business sales have exceeded our expectations, and the customers are really enjoying themselves.”

OTG created the dining experience in partnership with Delta Airlines. The redesigned gate area offers single, double and multiple party seating, with most seats equipped with power outlets. Additionally, OTG has installed Apple iPads throughout the gate areas, with a custom application that allows guests to order meals that will be delivered to their seat by an OTG server; travelers can also order directly from a server. Other iPad applications allow guests to check flights, read articles, play games and more.

Blatstein declined to give details about OTG’s deal with Delta but said the airline’s main goal is to provide an “experience generator, really differentiating their brand from everybody else.” He adds that hold rooms traditionally are “one of the places where the wonderful, unique experience was really lacking.”

“The territory inside a hold room is forbidden territory for anybody other than an airline, and it was really exciting to be able to work with Delta … to create an experience that is really unlike any other around the world,” Blatstein adds.

JFK Terminal 2 Gates 21 and 22 features food by Chef Andrew Carmellini, who developed the menu for the new restaurant Croque Madame. Additionally, JFK Terminal 3 Gate 15 is home to Bar Brace by Chef Jason Denton. At LGA, Terminal D Gates 1 and 2 feature Crust, a restaurant boasting thin-crusted, Neapolitan-style pizzas with artisanal toppings and bottled beer by Chef Jim Lahey. Each gate also offers a specialty gourmet market complete with pre-packaged items for purchase, and WorldBean, a coffee and tea concept. The OTG proprietary concepts all feature street pricing.

OTG is eager to expand its hold room innovations to other airports.

“We certainly have plans for a significant push on these,” Blatstein says, adding that “whatever we create for a specific airline will be unique to them.”

He thinks it is the beginning a transformation of hold rooms to a much more inviting environment.

“We just put together everything we would like to see ourselves,” Blatstein says. “I want a place to plug in. I want to sit down and wait for my plane. I’d like to have a glass of wine, maybe a small plate, and maybe I’ll grab a sandwich for the plane. I want to enjoy my environment prior to taking my flight.”

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