Building a better boarding mousetrap

June 14, 2006

It sounds like the airlines are looking to shorten the amount of time we stand, tapping our feet and cursing, as the woman in 31D fusses with her bag and takes forever to tuck her coat into the overhead bin. They’re developing new ways to board that would speed up the process. I love the names—”rotating zone system” and the “reverse pyramid”—sounds like something cheerleaders do, doesn’t it? From Airlines Try Smarter Boarding in Wired:

    “An airplane that spends an hour on the ground between flights might fly five trips a day,” he explains. “Cut the turnaround time to 40 minutes, and maybe that same plane can complete six or seven flights a day.” More flights mean more paying passengers, and ultimately, more revenue.

    Many factors contribute to turnaround time, including baggage handling, refueling and aircraft cleaning. But a 1998 Boeing study shows that passenger boarding plays a significant role.

And if they could come up with a faster way to de-plane, I’d be one happy camper. That seems to take even longer than boarding for some reason.

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