travel

Airlines' endless quest for better boarding

35 Comments
By DAVID KOENIG

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35 Comments
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Create a merit system for registered flyers and have in-plane isle monitoring cameras. If a given passenger is found to be doing something unreasonable that holds up boarding, give them a demerit. If they continue doing the same thing and accumulate enough demerits, begin to fine them. If the fines don't dissuade them, penalize them on future flights. If the penalties on future flights don't dissuade them, blacklist them and distribute their name among other carriers so that they can't fly anymore.

If someone wants to spent 5 minutes trying to stuff an obviously-oversized bag into the overhead, not getting out of the way for other passengers to board and possible preventing the plane from taking off, they shouldn't be allowed to fly since they're causing an inconvenience for everyone else by trying to force a convenience for themselves.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Those passengers that totally ignore the signs stating maximum size and weight of carry-on baggage should be turned away at the boarding gate. No compromise - you are not boarding with that bag. Second time offenders should be shot on the spot. People will soon get the message.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I take it that said astrophysicist didn't watch the episode of Myth Busters that was devoted to finding the best pattern for boarding back in Sept. 2012. Boarding back to front was proven to be the slowest method. http://mythbustersresults.com/airplane-boarding

Calculations aren't always as good as real in situ experiments - the kinds Myth Busters do.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Be strict on size of carry on and be strict on order of boarding. Problem is many passengers just refuse to be told and basically think only of themselves.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Nothing will work until the passengers LISTEN.

How many times have you heard the announcement, "Please remain seated until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seatbelt Sign." By the time that announcemnt is over, the isles are already full of passengers that obviously don't comprehend english.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I say just open the doors as soon as possible and let the passengers board.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There will always be selfish idiots, so this will forever continue to be a problem.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Just because everybody (passengers and airlines) wishes there were an easy solution doesn't mean there is one.

No matter how much instruction, rules, etc, people will take their time boarding. Any airline that becomes too draconian with its boarding policy will lose customers. Any airline that is too lax with it's boarding policy will lose money.

Same difference.

People hate waiting behind people, but when it's their turn, they take their sweet time.

I suppose you could subdivide all the overhead bins according to seats. If you don't have anything to store, you'd get a ticket and could sell your space.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

One thing that would make boarding smoother would be to allow more time for boarding. I recently went to Australia and for both flights (to and return) and as well as domestic flights in Australia, they didn't start boarding until 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time. That is just not enough time to get everyone settled in their seats. Why not open boarding from one hour before and let passengers board at their leisure?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Getting people on and off an airplane quickly is so complicated that even an astrophysicist couldn’t figure it out."

No, it isn't. Restrict everyone to one hand-carried bag that can easily fit either in the overhead bin or under the seat, and a waist pouch, except for those with small children who can have two such bags and a waist pouch. Problem solved!

“If you’re on the aisle and somebody sitting next to you in the middle seat shows up, you need to unbuckle and maybe get up”

You wouldn't need to get up if there was a decent amount of legroom, lol.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If you're on the aisle and somebody sitting next to you in the middle seat shows up, you need to unbuckle and maybe get up.

If you buckle up before someone in the middle or window seat has taken his or her place you are an idiot.

You simply need to be a bit more Zen about boarding and flying. You are taking commercial transit. It will take time to fill the plane, and it's all part of travelling. Only you can choose whether to hate it or accept it. It's easier to cultivate acceptance as you won't get where we are going any faster by fussing and fuming.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A recent JAL flight from Vietnam was utter pandemonium. The ground staff posted seating order, the Vietnamese passengers ignored it and tried to board en-mass. The JAL ground staff were too polite to turn them away so let them all through. Imagine a 200-person bottleneck. The flight was full. Never again. Next time I'll board last.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Calculations aren't always as good as real in situ experiments - the kinds Myth Busters do.

The problem is that Mythbusters doesn't randomize the trials, so the boarders accumulate experience in boarding with each successive method. This biases the results in favor of the later methods.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So they are saying that boarding a plane IS rocket science? No wonder people struggle to do it in orderly and sensible fashion.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It takes several hours for just three people to board an actual rocket (or seven people in the days of the space shuttle). No point asking Rocket Scientists, then.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The problem is noobies that stand in the way when loading overhead bins and block the flow of people and people will 1 million carry ons that take up everyone elses space.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

People should just stand in formation at the gate, then give a sign via transceiver to simply beam them up right into their seats.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The problem is generally stragglers. Once a suitcase is checked in, the plane cannot leave unless the passenger who owns it is on board. It takes forever to go through loaded checked luggage to locate a single suitcase belonging to someone who was late getting to the gate, so the airlines can do little about this. They just have to wait for the late arrivals, which in turn delays departures and screws up departure slots. Loading from the back is quickest, if all passengers are present and board when asked, but this never happens.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why not open boarding from one hour before and let passengers board at their leisure?

Airline economics are driven by many factors, one of which is their ability to efficiently get their planes in and out of the gates quickly (turn-around time). Airport gate scheduling, connecting flights, and all of the services surrounding getting a plane cleaned, stocked, and prepped for the next flight are based on achieving the most efficient turn-around possible--a plane sitting at the gate still consumes resources and costs money.

Passengers can't board until the plane is prepped, but having a prepped plane sitting at the gate for an hour doesn't make sense economically (at least, not to the airline).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Argo60Aug. 01, 2013 - 08:41AM JST I take it that said astrophysicist didn't watch the episode of Myth Busters that was devoted to finding the best pattern for boarding back in Sept. 2012. Boarding back to front was proven to be the slowest method.

Learn to read. The astrophysicist doesn't suggest back to front. He suggests:

he deduced that the best system would be a combination of filling window seats first, then middle and aisle ones, while also spacing the boarding passengers two rows apart.

And the solution is simple. Display passenger's names in a list. You walk forward and the cabin crew check your ticket. If you're not on the list you're asked to stand aside. If you don't comply your ticket is ripped up on the spot. Make a fuss and you're blacklisted from that airline. Try something stupid like assaulting the cabin crew and you're arrested.

Selfish passengers will learn manners in a rush.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

One big contributing factor is: people are getting fatter, fatter people are less agile, slower, block the narrow aisles, etc etc etc. contributing to slower boarding times.

I wonder why they don't load passenger through more than one door,It would be nice if a door at the back was also available for boarding. Whether altering the boarding bridges or walking out on the tarmac and walking up the stair-truck thing. Imagine loading a rush hour train through one door, indeed.

No one thinks outside the box anymore.

Airports and all airlines should be ruthless on cabin luggage size and weight. Too damn lax. Crucify all the selfish self important people with ridiculously oversized bags. People rag on Ryanair, but I like their spartan ruthlessness and great prices.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Confused here all the international flights I have been on separated people from 1st/business class and economy (which boarded from the rear of the plane).

Holding a plane Ionger at the gates has zero effect, IMHO.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder why they don't load passenger through more than one door,It would be nice if a door at the back was also available for boarding.

I've traveled on jumbos where this was done.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What is this 'elite' passengers? And 'coach'? How about economy and first class! No need to give them that tag (elite)

Not quite sure if there is a better way to board, every time I fly the queue moves slowly. I also see a lot of people carrying half their gear in what looks like oversized cabin luggage.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Restrict everyone to one hand-carried bag that can easily fit either in the overhead bin or under the seat, and a waist pouch, except for those with small children who can have two such bags and a waist pouch. Problem solved!

Many senior passengers have to carry a CPAP and/or other critical medical devices. Airlines are good at losing luggage, so they have no choice.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Perhaps the guy should watch an episode of Mythbusters from Discovery Channel. In one of the episodes, they experiment and time different ways of boarding a plane.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Air travel is a massive contributor to environmental degradation-raise prices and stop people killing the earth!!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

just booked a flight to US and found that ANA/United now charge 9000 yen for a 2nd checked luggage. This is just going to make boarding even slower as more people will bring their big carry-on bags.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Let the gate agents taser the cattle...they, eerrr, we, will learn fast to behave properly and not stampede.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Actually boarding time reduction would make no difference- they still need to do essential tasks while passengers are boarding such as pilots need to complete their checklist, cabin crew to complete their checks of property removed and added and internal structure. Just organise all passengers ( and crew if need be) to present to board at the same time- late boarders are serious time wasters. Taxiing along runways wastes seriously more time- at least half hour per trip.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

yeh, the late-boarders that think takeoff time is the time they should board are really annoying. they should just leave them at the airport.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Probably would go faster if people with children go last and those that need assistance too. They could also board from the front and back like they used to do years ago. The problem came with deregulation so now to keep tickets chip they need to fill up the plane. It was nice when they only needed to fill 1/3 of the plane. The meals used to be good too with real plates and silverware. The planes were smaller but since the 3 seat row was empty, you could lie down. Interesting that the price has change since then. In today's costs, a trip to Japan from NY would cost $7400. Today, coach costs about $1100, Business $4200, First $5600. So I guess if you want to know what I used to be like to fly, go first class and it's still almost $2000 cheaper than coach.... now economy. And there used to be only First and Coach.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The concept (in the U.S.) is the same, but the execution is much better over there.

that's pure BS. it's the worst over there! everytime i take a trip for business, even with just one small overnight briefcase we still have problems getting in smoothly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Frungy

Learn to read. The astrophysicist doesn't suggest back to front.

Perhaps you could take your own advice. I never said he said that. But I can understand how you could take it to mean that I was referring to him since my comment jumped toward what the Mythbusters had found.

Next time I'll make more of an effort to appease. The article did say:

Most airlines allow first-class and other elite customers to board first. After that, some fill the rear rows first and work toward the front.

... to which, I was referring to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think asking people to board in sections, starting with the seats at the back is a good idea... KLM do that sometimes. I don't fly on bucket airlines, but I've heard they basically have a free-for-all since you can't book your seat beforehand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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