Every Airline Should Board Passengers Like This

Every Airline Should Board Passengers Like This

Every airline has a different method to their boarding madness, some board their passengers from back to front (business class not included), some do it haphazardly, and others do it in zones.

Qantas recently announced it was changing the way it was boarding passengers, from just asking people to jump on the plane they are now adopting group boarding. The Red Kangaroo airline said it is the first Aussie airline to adopt this process.

This adoption follows a successful trial in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Qantas said it found the process helped contribute towards flights departing on time, an issue Qantas has been struggling with of late.

Group Boarding allows customers to board within smaller groups, rather than queuing up with all passengers waiting to board at the same time. Signage and announcements at the gate will let customers know when it is their group’s turn to board.

While this new method may help planes, there is one method that seems to trump them all, and that is the Steffen Method.

Amazingly, it was invented by Dr Jason Steffen, an astrophysicist in his day job but a man more adept at running aeroplanes than the airlines themselves. In his method, window seats on alternate rows on one side of the plane boards first. Then alternating window seats on the other side. Then alternating middle seats on the original side, then alternating middle seats on the other side. And then on and on and on until the plane is filled. Watch the video, you’ll see a perfectly choreographed dance that maximises aisle space and overhead compartments.

Steffen figured out this method using the Monte Carlo optimisation method and promises that it can cut boarding time in half. It won’t cure the ineptitude of airlines in other areas but it can make air travel less of a pain in the arse.

Anyway, Group Boarding will apply to all domestic flights operated by Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft departing from Brisbane (from June 3), Perth (from June 10), Melbourne (from June 17) and Sydney (from June 25).

Regardless of this new method, I’m assuming people will still stand in line 40 minutes prior to boarding. Happy Flighting!

Image: iStock/Qantas Australia

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