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Scientist Studies Airplane Boarding Process

Scientist Studies Airplane Boarding Process

Old Mar 13, 08, 3:06 pm
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Scientist Studies Airplane Boarding Process

Astrophysicist Jason Steffen has published a study of airliner boarding, and what would speed up the process.

There's a story about the study on National Public Radio's All Things Considered news program.

An excerpt from NPR's website:

He found that lining up passengers whose seat assignments are two rows apart and boarding them from the back of the plane to the front — then repeating for the other rows — is the most efficient way of getting passengers onto a plane.

At the root of his theory, Steffen says, is his finding that boarding passengers spread apart by two rows allows them enough space to put their luggage away at the same time — and then to sit down at the same time.
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Old Mar 13, 08, 3:48 pm
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For a discussion of this topic, see A New Twist on Boarding Order Algorithms.
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Old Mar 13, 08, 9:01 pm
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They Should Have "Asked the Pilot"

Alternate boarding schemes were also discussed in Salon's ASK THE PILOT column a week ago, including the same idea discussed today on NPR. (The article was linked in this forum)

Flying isn't so bad, it's getting on and off the plane that sucks. Some ways to make it better:
http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/...skthepilot267/
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Old Mar 14, 08, 8:57 am
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From the NPR story, one other conclusion was that allowing pax to board randomly (meaning everybody at once) was more efficient than boarding 5 rows at a time starting from the back of the plane.
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Old Mar 14, 08, 9:05 am
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It would be much more efficient if people would just listen to the FA announcements and get out of the aisle when they reach their seat. There's no need to stand in the way of everybody else when you're looking for your book, taking off your jacket, or checking for the fifth time whether you're in the right row.

Done now, sorry. And don't get me started on unboarding, or whatever it should be called. Just yesterday had somebody step into the aisle and THEN start fiddling with various things to get ready to leave, while virtually the entire plane stood behind him waiting. American politeness (can't believe I'm saying that) worked against us, as nobody said a thing. I wished for the sharp elbows of Asia, where there would be people shoving by him as soon as they realized he wasn't moving.

Anybody know how SWA's experiment with assigned seating worked out? Perhaps not too impressed since they introduced the more granular boarding groups subsequent to it.
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Old Mar 14, 08, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by TRRed View Post
From the NPR story, one other conclusion was that allowing pax to board randomly (meaning everybody at once) was more efficient than boarding 5 rows at a time starting from the back of the plane.
Isn't this essentially what happens when the majority of the plane is the FF elites (say on UA SFO-DEN) and they all board together?
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Old Mar 15, 08, 11:46 am
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Originally Posted by Boghopper View Post
It would be much more efficient if people would just listen to the FA announcements and get out of the aisle when they reach their seat. There's no need to stand in the way of everybody else when you're looking for your book, taking off your jacket, or checking for the fifth time whether you're in the right row.
This is pretty much the entire story, right there.

Boarding processes could help. For example the plane has like 6-8-10 doors, depending on the size. So why baord 200-500 people through one door. Makes no sense. Board people through the door closest to their seat. This is not rocket science.

But what is also missing is pure common sense and common courtesy, just as you described. That would also help a great deal.
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