Astrophysicist Streamlines Plane Boarding

GeekMom Travel

You know that herd-of-cattle feeling that accompanies boarding a plane? It took an astrophysicist to figure out how to streamline the process (without the use of a cattle prod). Pondering the problem of crammed aisles and slow boarding, Jason Steffen undertook a study to figure out a better way. I don’t begin to understand the science behind his studies, but the result? That, I get. By boarding passengers in alternate seats or rows, the aisle space is utilized more efficiently, making for faster airplane boarding. The video above shows Steffen’s plan in action.

His findings were published in the Journal of Air Transport Management, and Wired covered the story in 2008. Nearly four years later and we’re still boarding in less efficient blocks, proving that change is, indeed, hard.

Via cnet

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5 thoughts on “Astrophysicist Streamlines Plane Boarding

  1. I remember this from a few years ago. The problem I see with it is that it requires parties to board separately. Do you really want to board a plane first, and leave your 8yr old child out in the lobby to come in by herself a few minutes later? Or do you send her in first, alone, and expect her to find her seat?

    1. “As with all boarding procedures, passengers with children boarded first.” That’s right at the start of the video. So parents will never be expected to board the plane separate from their kids.

      This method does briefly separate parties that are sitting next to each other on the plane. But if it can get the plane loaded in half the time, it seems worth that small sacrifice.

  2. I loved this post. I’ve recently flown from Denver to Dulles, then on to Albany, and every single time I had to board it was a mess.

    Half the problem continues to be the people who want to carry on luggage the size of their sofa and then can’t get it to fit in the overhead bin. But once those rules are more strictly enforced, I’m all for this more efficient boarding plan! I’d happily be separated from my traveling partner for 20 minutes, if it meant getting in the air faster.

    Great post! I loved it so much I re-posted to facebook.

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