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An OMFG new service at Heathrow gives us a new framework for problem solving


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An OMFG new service at Heathrow gives us a new framework for problem solving

Heathrow bosses are betting that less time waiting will mean more time shopping (Heathrow)


Heathrow Airport is now letting people pre-book security slots.

Yep, instead of taking your chances and hoping that your check-in time coincides with a lull in departure traffic, you can now book the 15-minute window you would like to go through security.


This may sound like a minor convenience. It’s not that minor, as anyone who has ever stood in a 30, 45-minute, or even hour-long line to move through security will know.


Why does this Heathrow thing feel so satisfying? Here’s my take.

First, the solution’s simple. Stupid simple. Elegant ideas like this just trigger something in the human mind, especially when they address a near universal discomfort.

Second, it gives a bit of control to us, in what is typically a one sided situation. Think about it. Part of what makes flying so stressful for many of us is the lack of control we passengers have. Flight delays. Security lines. Misbehavior from fellow passengers. We travelers are totally at the mercy of a myriad of external factors. Heathrow giving us the ability to pre-book a time to walk through security actually grants you and me some level of control over our journeys —which is satisfying.

Third, it helps everyone. Flying is full of status divisions. Being able to choose your security slot means that, in theory, everyone, regardless of cabin class, has access to a more convenient departure process.

Any of these by themselves are good. Together, they’re great.


Then it hit me.

Heathrow Airport is a private, for-profit enterprise. One that carries a boatload of expensive debt, and also just signed up a new CEO.

The real problem Heathrow’s solving here is not bored travelers. It’s flat terminal spending (or what they call “non aeronautical revenue” in the airports business).

Yep, I think this timed security slot thing is actually a novel way to increase our airport spending.

That made me like it even more.

Then I realized that my fascination with this security booking thing doesn’t end at Heathrow’s gates.

This booking system actually gives us all an easy to remember methodology that every decision making executive or entrepreneur can put to use if they want to maximize customer revenue, while simultaneously increasing customer convenience.

Stay with me.


The OMFG Framework is my new four step method to help businesses reshape the ways in which they approach challenges, spot opportunities, and concept solutions when it comes to revenue.

O. Observe hindrances: Look around. Revenue blockages are literally everywhere. Things like restaurant diners waiting forever for the check, prevents the restaurant from turning the table over sooner. Drivers forgetting where they parked their car in a crowded lot reduces parking turnover. Those “own goals” are reducing those restaurants and parking lots’ “potential revenue surface area.”

M. Maximize the “potential revenue surface area:” Less time in a security line, means more time browsing Duty Free. Less time waiting for the check, means more covers in an evening.

One way to get restaurant checks to tables faster, and therefore turn tables over more frequently, is to hire more staff.

But that’s expensive, and time consuming.

A simpler way could be for the restaurant to take a credit card number and email address at the time of reservation, just like hotels do— while presenting it to customers as an enhanced convenience: “In a hurry? Give your card number now and we’ll email your check as we clear your plates.” 

As soon as the plates are cleared, the bill will pop up in their inbox. That’s not for everyone, but it is for those diners who are in a rush —and it will help increase restaurants’ cover count.

F. Foster autonomy: This step is key. For your idea to truly be OMFG, it has to maximize your potential revenue surface area while simultaneously bestowing more autonomy onto your customers.

A restaurant asking for diners’ credit card numbers ahead of time gives diners the option to simply stand up and walk away after their main course, if they so choose. However, if they decide they’re not in a rush after all, they could always stay and order the cheese course. Win win.

Whether it comes from choosing a security slot, or deciding when exactly to pay for their meal, customers tend to value autonomy. When it increases your revenue potential, you’ll value it too.

G. Go for equal access: The final flourish in the OMFG framework: ensuring that your solve is inclusive. For your solution to truly be OMFG worthy, it not only has to maximize revenue potential, and foster customer autonomy, it’s also got to be available to the many, not just an elite few.


If you a run a business, observe hindrances. Then maximize the potential revenue surface area. Don’t forget to foster autonomy. And go for equal access.

Your solve might just blow people’s minds.


Skip security queues at Heathrow with a prebooked slot »»

Heathrow Timeslot official site »»

New boss pledges ‘even better’ Heathrow »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Like the OMFG framework? Forward it to an entrepreneur or decision maker you know. Thanks for reading.

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