You are flying to Asia. You drive, perhaps by driverless car, to Auckland Airport, parking at the new multi-storey car park connected to the terminal. You check your bags in at the car park.
You read that right. Car park check-in. It's all part of a 30-year, multi-million-dollar vision - including a new runway, a railway terminal and hotels which will see more planes, more travellers, more retail shops, restaurants and bars, giving the airport the presence of a sophisticated precinct.
There will be heavy emphasis on comfort, convenience and what business jargon labels "a seamless experience" for travellers, with the airport of the future uniquely Kiwi in design, architecture, food and drink and shopping.
Checking in at the car park, likely to be achieved by 2022, is just part of that seamlessness as the airport prepares to meet the next wave of growth in tourism to New Zealand and of Kiwis flying overseas for business or pleasure (up by 5 per cent this year, according to official statistics).
Tourism, already overtaking dairy as our biggest industry with more than 3 million visitors and a spend now surpassing $10 billion, is poised to get even bigger, as Graham Matthews, general manager Airport Development & Delivery, illustrates: "We are currently handling just over 17 million trips a year, counting all arrivals and departures. By 2040, that will have grown to well over 40
million. About 75 per cent of all trips into New Zealand come through Auckland.
"We might hit 25 million trips by 2025 - potentially sooner, given we are currently looking at around 8 per cent growth for this year. Furthermore, research shows that by 2030 almost 80 per cent of the world's middle classes - including the growing middle classes in China, India and South America - will be one plane trip away from New Zealand."
"That's a huge opportunity for New Zealand tourism. That's why Auckland airport has been working in with Tourism New Zealand and airlines on a travel, trade and tourism partnership which has encouraged a lot more airlines to fly here."
Matthews says future possibilities can be seen by looking at Ireland: "the same sort of land mass as us, an island like us, the same sort of population but four times the number of visitors, managed well and sustainably so the product doesn't get ruined."
The first phase of Auckland Airport's expansion is already under way: "It's the first of the building blocks over the next 18 months; it'll see our international emigration expanded, further streamlining customers' passage through security, with more retail shops and new seating areas.
"Then we will be adding more gates so we can park the increasing number of planes flying here. That will be completed by the end of 2018; the next big project will be a new domestic terminal joined to the international terminal - scheduled for 2022."
Further on, by 2044 and beyond, other plans for the airport include:
• better road and public transport links
• a rapid transit network, including space for a railway station
•a second runway and proposed extension
So when that traveller electronically checks in baggage at the multi-storey car park, he is beginning a process designed not just to smooth his way but to provide a sense of comfort and entertainment - making the airport far more a part of a holiday, for example, than it has been in the past.
"Streamlining is hugely important, of course, to cater for expected growth and enhance the travelling experience," says Richard Barker, the airport's general manager retail & commercial. "It's also a question of developing amenities like retail shops, restaurants and bars, so we capture the best of New Zealand and the best of the world in a Kiwi airport environment - unlike some airports round the world, where you could be anywhere."
New Zealand is not the only country gearing up for tourism growth. Global tourism is expected to increase by almost 4 per cent this year while retail shopping at airports is also a growing phenomenon.
Research by UK retail consultancy Verdict suggests the global airport retail market will near US$60 billion by 2019 - nearly 73 per cent higher than actual receipts in 2013. They say the increase will be stimulated by growing numbers of passengers and increasing prosperity in emerging markets pushing up traveller spend.
European airports like Vienna, Frankfurt, London's Stansted and many others are boosting food & beverage and shopping areas; Stansted has completed a $175m upgrade to increase space in the departure lounge and provide more shops to feed demand.
Barker says the airport is working hard, even as Phase 1 building is under way, to boost satisfaction levels and has already enhanced the retail presence airside: "We are already the biggest shopping mall in New Zealand on a sales per metre basis - more than Sylvia Park, although they beat us on actual volume.
"We are introducing building up a selection that outstrips what is available in 'high street' Auckland - like our Victoria's Secret outlet, New Zealand handbag label Saben, fashion label Ruby plus outlets like Benefit, Keihls, Urban Decay, Jo Malone and more."