Airports are not designed for adaptive human pace.
As a result, the cognitive effort it takes to get from point A to point B within an airport can vary - a lot. Things change if you are with a family rather than alone, or with a single carry-on rather than with many bags or shopping. The journey and the space aren't very forgiving to your context or liabilities. When liabilities increase, the shopping user journey starts to get in the way of the navigational journey. As a user's most important resource - in my case above, time - diminishes, they less they can adapt to changing conditions such as a gate change. The system instead should adapt.
Travelers can't rely on the usual social signifiers.
Humans rely all the time on 'social signifiers' - other peoples behaviour - to operate in the world. The social signifiers we follow in public could be literal or iconic. For example, we see a path stamped out through the park grass and we assume it's a shortcut to somewhere. We see people running for a train and assume it is leaving soon. We also can tell when a bunch of people are probably headed for a rock concert by the way they are dressed and interacting.
But places like airports skew our ability to read social signifiers significantly. Airports are full of the similar looking people doing similar stuff everywhere. So in this mish-mash of human bodies, we rely on deeper cues, things like people's ethnicity or other cultural markers, to navigate through the shopping mall journey. But this only works a small lucky percentage of the time.
'Digizens' don't comprehend, or forgive, systemic screwups.
Digital experiences are by their nature designed for increasing seamlessness. In the sense that, non-technical (read, above 99%) users increasingly don't comprehend that different stacks of services owned by different service providers work in tandem to support their seamless experience. Users simply can't keep track of all the underlying layers of technology-enabled services, and they shouldn't! So they don't - and shouldn't - care that the airline has supported their digital experience until a very specific point, and then the airport has taken over the experience, and therefore the last minute gate change. Who is to blame? The simple user conclusion is - everyone! When even a single digital service in the stack screws up, the entire system loses face and brand value.