LAX recruits 500 'fake passengers' to test new airport area

Do you love hanging out at the airport, and maybe even behaving badly? Then hopefully you signed up for the Los Angeles International Airport's latest project.

The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has recently recruited 500 volunteers for a preparedness drill to ensure a new concourse area is ready for travelers.

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This summer, the $1.6 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse will open at the air hub as an addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal via a 1,000-foot pedestrian tunnel.

The satellite terminal will feature 12 brand-new gates when it opens at a yet-undetermined date. Officials want to ensure that there will be a safe flow of foot traffic for the disabled, elderly and families before it finally opens, and that emergency responders, airport workers and airline staff can effectively navigate the space during peak hours, the Los Angeles Times reports.

To that end, LAX has enlisted 500 volunteers for a “full Operation Readiness and Transition trial” for a real-life test run.

Los Angeles International Airport has recruited 500 volunteers for a preparedness drill to ensure a new concourse area is ready for travelers.

Los Angeles International Airport has recruited 500 volunteers for a preparedness drill to ensure a new concourse area is ready for travelers. (L.A. World Airports)

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“We are going to write scenarios to check the processes that happen on a given day,” said Robert L. Gilbert, L.A. World Airports strategic adviser. “With 150 to 300 people going through the ... concourse, some will be in wheelchairs, some will be young people racing for the gate, some will be elderly.”

“We simulate that this is a peak hour, peak day, peak month,” Gilbert explained. “This is where our volunteers are very important.”

Officials want to ensure that there will be a safe flow of foot traffic for the disabled, elderly and families when it opens.

Officials want to ensure that there will be a safe flow of foot traffic for the disabled, elderly and families when it opens. (L.A. World Airports)

According to the L.A. Times, there might even be “planned obstacles” involved, possibly playing out scenarios like a broken boarding bridge, lost child or random passenger injuries.

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An illustration of the $1.6 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse will open at the air hub as an addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

An illustration of the $1.6 billion Midfield Satellite Concourse will open at the air hub as an addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. (L.A. World Airports)

Though volunteer sign-ups appeared to be closed as of early Thursday afternoon due to an “overwhelming response from the community,” those selected can look forward to a half-day shift with a free meal. The tests will be hosted about six weeks before the concourse opens, the L.A. Times reports.

Gilbert and his team are reportedly looking for a diverse demographic mix of faux passengers to “make sure we replicate our standard passenger flow,” he said.

Officials are reportedly looking for a diverse demographic mix of faux passengers to "make sure we replicate our standard passenger flow."

Officials are reportedly looking for a diverse demographic mix of faux passengers to "make sure we replicate our standard passenger flow." (iStock)

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A spokesperson for the airport was not immediately available to offer further comment.