When I was a kid, I loved going to the airport and I’m sure it’s a surprise to no-one that I still do. One thing that has changed are the flight information display screens or FIDS. In the past, these were split-flap displays, also known as Solari boards.

While today’s screens do the job very well, the airport aural environment is completely different. Screens make no noise, while the old boards certainly grabbed your attention.

Split-Flap Boards

The old Solari boards are a disappearing breed, and some people have probably never seen one. Back in the day these large boards would regularly start flapping away noisily as the flight information changed.

With their distinct sound, you knew when something was happening. This meant you didn’t need to station yourself near a screen or keep going back and forth to check if your flight was boarding.

In a lovely throwback to that era, Qantas installed these boards in their excellent first class lounges in Sydney and Melbourne. The video above shows the board in action.

Of course, codeshares weren’t much of a thing back in the day, so it was usually one line per flight. As you see in the video, it’s two by two as the alternative flight number also needs to be displayed.

Overall Thoughts

There’s an excellent article all about the Solari boards on the BBC web site. It goes through the history of the things and why they’re no longer around like they once were. It also has video of a board at Singapore Airport.

Do you remember the old split-flap display boards? Do you think it’s better without them or are they something you miss? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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