OTG Management is a company primarily known for running those expensive shops and restaurants in airports, but they’re about to do something new and very cool — installing iPads that are available for use by anyone waiting for a flight.
The first airports to see these new devices are New York’s LaGuardia, Toronto Pearson International, and Minneapolis-St.Paul International. You won’t be able to just pick up a free iPad and wander around the terminal with it, however. The iPads are locked to a table and running apps for doing those important things — browsing, looking at Facebook updates, playing some games, or shopping online.
There’s a method to OTG’s madness of providing free iPad use. The iPads are used to point customers to their other properties as kind of a concierge for airline passengers. Enter your flight number and you can see if it’s been delayed or if the gate has changed. If you have a while to wait, the iPad suggests that you go find a restaurant to relax in.
The virtual concierge also recommends items for purchase in OTG Management stores — you can browse and buy items, and then have them delivered to your gate for pickup. The iPad stations can also be used to plug in your phone or laptop for charging.
OTG Management’s CEO Rick Blatstein told GigaOM’s Erica Ogg that the company is “bullish on the iPad” — they’re expecting to purchase anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 devices as they expand the reach of the program throughout the U.S.