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Lincoln Airport

Passengers arrive at the Lincoln Airport after a flight from Denver in January 2017.

Lincoln Airport officials want to find ways to improve the "customer experience" of people flying into and out of the Capital City.

The Airport Authority on Thursday approved a $24,000 contract with Parsons PR of Lincoln to spearhead the effort, which will involve customer engagement surveys, face-to-face meetings and other methods to find out what improvements fliers might want to see.

Airport Executive Director David Haring said he wants everything to be on the table and all ideas, no matter how big or small, will be considered as the airport looks to come up with a "road map" of how it can "enhance and re-imagine" the customer experience at the airport.

Haring said he expects the process to take about a year, with the first step being to identify a steering committee of about six to eight people. He said he wants people on that committee who are not directly involved with operations at the airport.

Haring said he expects direct customer engagement activities to begin in about three months. The goal is produce a report with steps the airport can take to improve the environment for fliers.

There are a lot of things out of the airport's control, such as fares, flight schedules, weather and even how the Transportation Security Administration chooses to staff the airport.

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But there are numerous factors the airport can control, and Haring said he wants to be sure officials and staff are doing all they can to control the environment for the traveling public.

"We want to make sure that we're providing as high a level of service as we can," he said.

The airport has made some improvements over the past few years, such as offering free wireless internet and free coffee at the waiting areas near the gates after people have gone through security. It also has made upgrades to parking.

Most of the Airport Authority board members said they thought the effort was a good idea and it was worth it to spend the money.

However, board member John Hoppe Jr. voted against awarding the contract, saying he thought the airport could get the same results for free by having its volunteer Red Coat customer service personnel query fliers.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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