Thursday, September 1, 2011

Airlines: You are doing it wrong

One great thing about living in the Middle East is how much traveling we have gotten to do. One awful thing about all that traveling is the constant boarding of aircraft in airports of all sizes and qualities.

There just doesn't seem to be a good way to do it. We have gotten pretty close to mastering the art of the carry-on, so being denied bin space almost never happens. But wow, it always takes forever to stuff everyone onboard.

It's the kind of thing science can help with, apparently.

A very smart guy who studied the process arrived at some interesting conclusions. Boarding rear-to-front is horribly inefficient. Boarding randomly, Southwest-style, is actually much better because passenger discretion can resolve space conflicts.

And it turns out the most efficient means of boarding the plane is, well, kind of complicated. Window seats get preference, using alternating rows, and THEN boarding progresses...

...from the rear forward: seats 12A, for example, followed by 10A, 8A and so on, then returning for 9A, 7A, 5A and so on, and then filling the middle and aisle seats in the same way.

Here's what it looks like:

Will airlines adopt this? Who knows. Maybe the next time I'm waiting for my boarding group to be called, I can hammer out a few persuasive letters.

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