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Gatwick Airport tests a (hopefully) faster way of boarding planes

Gatwick Airport tests a (hopef...
New boarding procedures will be tested for two months at Gatwick Airport
New boarding procedures will be tested for two months at Gatwick Airport
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New boarding procedures will be tested for two months at Gatwick Airport
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New boarding procedures will be tested for two months at Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport is starting a two-month test of new methods to speed up aircraft boarding while reducing queues. By combining digital displays with new boarding sequences based on seat number, the goal is to make getting on a plane more efficient and less stressful.

Boarding an airliner is one of the things in life that rates right up there with a tax audit and root canal work. It generally involves sitting or standing about in the waiting area, which is like something out of a coach station, followed by lots of queuing and trying to struggle past crowds in the aircraft aisle as they try to cram very large bags into very small bins.

In hopes of speeding things up without the need to queue, London Gatwick has modeled how people board and is looking at alternatives. At Gate 101, large digital screens have been installed and staff briefed on how to explain the new procedures.

According to Gatwick, a number of sequences will be tested. These include boarding from back to front by seat number with window seats first, middle seats next, and aisle seats last. However, young families and those who need assistance will still be given priority.

The models claim that the new procedures can cut boarding time by 10 percent, though the airport says it will rely on passenger feedback before adopting them generally.

"We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft," says Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport. "Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time. By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger (sic) rushing forward at any stage."

Source: Gatwick Airport

9 comments
MD
Get passengers to sit in allocated seats in the departure lounge according to boarding sequence to ensure they present their boarding cards in the correct order.... Back-to-front, window to aisle etc... Will that avoid bottle-necks, or just upset the travelling public due to the fascist nature of telling people what to do and how to live their lives?? Control carry-on baggage, to avoid "that person" taking up 3 persons space in the storage bins all the while stopping those further down the plane from boarding in a timely manner.
Donna Wallman
It would be very much faster now if you could force the first people with seats in the back to take their carry ons with them to the back of the plane to stow. Stopping at the front to stow baggage is what backs up boarding.
guzmanchinky
I still prefer the Southwest method. But I'm surprised more gates don't use two entry ramps, one from the front and one from the rear. It seems the loading speed would double.
Koolski2
I've long thought back to front made the most sense but we wouldn't want to delay the drinks in 1st class would we!?!
Fairly Reasoner
Basically, doing it the way in which pretty much everyone who's ever flown has been wondering why they don't.
joeblake
In 2014 the "Mythbusters" had a go at exactly this problem. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/mythbusters-airlines-are-boarding-their-planes-all-wrong-2014-9?r=US&IR=T Interesting result. In the end, the team found the methods using the so-called “WILMA” method — in which window passengers are boarded first, followed by middle-seat flyers and finally travellers sitting in aisle seats — to be the most effective.
christopher
ditto what Fairly said - boggles my mind that the idiot staff boarding the plans haven't already been doing this for years - even the dimmest person alive should eventually figure out that you need to stop seating people in front of those who can't get past them to sort out that mess... but it takes the airport itself to tell them instead? Sheesh - where are all the people with brains in this world? I'd love to meet the irate traveler who managed to get the airport to care; they must have been *seriously* annoyed!!!
Worzel
One of the things that they could do to make boarding aircraft less stressful, is dispense with all the farcical ''security'' checks, like looking for liquid ''bomb'' material. I asked one lot of ''security'' checkers if they actually knew what liquids were required to make a liquid bomb. They didnt......''have that specialist information!'' So they are looking for something but they dont know what they are looking for. Clever, HUH? The materials actually include hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and hydrochloric acid, all of which stink like hell! In addition, it is an exothermic reaction, so they'd need a cool-box full of ice as well. A few months ago, a woman decided to clean her fingernails, with nail polish remover, (acetone,) and repaint them. Within minutes the whole aircraft stank of acetone. She was told to stop, so she went into the lavatory, locked herself in, and then started again, and stank the aircraft even more. She was arrested on arrival. Therefore, it would be impossible for anyone to make a liquid bomb on an aircraft, so all the ''checks'' are just rubbish. Meanwhile, someone with solid explosives could easily take them on board, because no one is looking for them. However, the cult of, ''intimidate and control the traveller'' would then not function as intended. During my time in the RAF, military passenger planes were loaded with military precision and order, maybe civilian companies could take some lessons from them.
ljaques
I just watched a vid on YT about this from CGP Grey last week. The Better Boarding Methods Airlines Won't Use. Timely, innit? https://youtu.be/oAHbLRjF0vo