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Will Getting Rid of Boarding Groups Work?

Will Getting Rid of Boarding Groups Work?
Jackie Reddy

London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) is trialing a new way of boarding passengers. For the next two months, passengers at Gate 101 will be prompted to board via seat numbers displayed on a digital screen. The airport says it is attempting to see if various sequences will hasten boarding.

In a bid to decrease congestion and smooth the traveler experience, London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) has announced that it will be temporarily experimenting with the methods it uses to board passengers. In a statement, the outlet confirmed that the two-month trial will be undertaken at the airport’s Gate 101, where digital screens and airport staff will show passengers their boarding order.

Boarding order itself will be determined by a traveler’s assigned seat number.

The airport has explained that a range of different boarding sequences will be tested in order to find the most efficient boarding patterns.

“Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front with window seats first, middle seats next and aisle seats last. Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are traveling with young families – will still board first during the trial,” it adds.

The airport further states that the sequences tested by the trial could lessen the time it takes to board by up to ten percent.

Speaking out about the trial, Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation at London Gatwick Airport, said, “We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.”

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time. By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passengers rushing forward at any stage,” Chacko added.

View Comments (10)


  1. Occupationalhazard

    October 31, 2019 at 6:52 am

    Doesn’t this assume that the same people who don’t follow the boarding rules now will suddenly start following the boarding rules? People in aisle seats aren’t going to want to get left without overhead space either. So it would seem that the real answer is to increase the amount of overhead space as, IIRC, AA has just announced plans to do.

  2. TonyBurr

    October 31, 2019 at 10:46 am

    And those on the aisle will never have overhead bin space. This was tried in the US and booted out by the high Frequent Flyer’s.

  3. Dr.Ells

    October 31, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    It was United actually, thank God!!!

  4. simpleflyer

    November 5, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Pedantic comment: the verb is ‘test’ not ‘trial’. Gatwick Airport TESTS getting rid of… (it was, on the other hand, a trial for me to read your headline…)

  5. dvs7310

    November 6, 2019 at 2:05 am

    It’s amazing all the methods they use to speed up boarding. Japanese domestic flights are high capacity 777s frequently and manage to board in 15 mins. They still have a fair number of carry ons but people don’t dilly dally around in the aisle. Most people attempt to put their stuff in the bin and sit down as quickly as possible. Amazing how well changing the mentality of the passengers helps so much more than changing the boarding order.

  6. drphun

    November 8, 2019 at 5:43 am

    If people could follow directions there wouldn’t be problem, so a solution that requires people to follow directions isn’t likely to be successful.

  7. Danwriter

    November 8, 2019 at 7:05 am

    simpleflyer: “Trial” is most certainly also a verb, and it’s used as such quite often in UK tabloids.

  8. Redheadpeter

    November 8, 2019 at 8:43 am

    Frankly I’ve no idea how you increase overhead bin space. The only answer is a dramatic reduction in the maximum size of carry-on baggage and/or a huge increase in the cost of carry on and the elimination of charges for checked luggage.The number of times I have sat watching in amazement as people try to get bags into the overhead locker that are clearly too big, or re-arrange everyone else’s bag in a vain attempt to make more space for their bag. And all the while hundreds of people sit as time ticks by and we get later and later. There is no god-given right to be able to carry your steamer trunk and your life-size elephant toy into the cabin.

  9. azmojo

    November 8, 2019 at 8:51 am

    This has already been studied pretty extensively.

  10. nycityny

    November 8, 2019 at 9:15 am

    It doesn’t sound like a relaxing experience if you have to watch a monitor and look for your seat number among a long list of seats. And then react quickly when you see your seat listed.

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