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Robots and Therapy Dogs: the latest airport amenities


With more people spending more waiting and connection time in airports, it's not surprising that people can get stressed out, and sometimes an overhead TV or a Magic Fingers lounge chair isn't enough. But there's help!

In more than a few cases, that involves some new approaches, including therapy dogs roaming the terminals (with handlers) to comfort and de-stress anxious travelers. Dallas/Fort Worth just unveiled its program with a dozen experienced dogs who are the DFW K9 Crew, and expect to expand to as many as 60.

The dogs do the comforting, but their handlers are also trained to provide directions and other information about the airport and transfers.

Similar programs operate in a number of other airports, including Los Angeles' LAX, where the dogs and handlers are volunteers. 

But for some places and passengers, a furry companion is not enough, and San Jose International Airport, the home field for Silicon Valley, has gone in another direction: walking, talking, dancing robots that can give directions, take selfies with passengers, and when called on, dance.

If that's not enough to cheer a nerd up, they also have 22" touchscreens that passengers can use to ask questions and operate robot functions, including picture-taking. The pictures appear on a smaller screen where a head would be. The systems can speak (in Windows) in English, French, German and Spanish.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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