Tuesday, March 20, 2007

While I'm telling companies how to run their businesses ...

I have a simple suggestion for airline companies, designed to cut five minutes or so off every trip. Instead of boarding rows 20-40, line up passengers in order of row number. To simplify matters, have the numbers painted on the wall or the floor. Before boarding we all go to the squares with our row numbers on them. Then we file on board in order, everyone gets to his row, and everyone starts putting luggage up, sliding into seats, etc.

There are probably still more efficient versions of this, but the one I have just described seems entirely workable and would result in a significant reduction in the time to load a plane.

13 Comments:

At 1:17 AM, March 20, 2007, Anonymous K said...

A more efficient way is to have no assigned seats at all. Just fill the plane row by row, starting from the back. This is how some low cost carriers do it.

 
At 8:30 AM, March 20, 2007, Blogger LetMeSpellItOutForYou said...

Absolutely. I was once on the last plane out from an airport that was about to get socked by a huge storm, and that's exactly how they boarded. I'd be surprised if the whole process took five minutes.

 
At 10:55 AM, March 20, 2007, Blogger ibergus said...

Airlines Try Smarter Boarding

 
At 12:25 PM, March 20, 2007, Blogger doinkicarus said...

it never made sense to me - the practice of filling the planes from front to back. Sure, the idea is to let the first class customers board first, but to they really want to be assaulted by my ass and laptop as I stand in the inevitable traffic jam that results from boarding the front first - all those people fumbling with the overhead bins, and I'm in row 27...

 
At 3:16 PM, March 20, 2007, Anonymous Bruce said...

Most planes have doors at the rear of the plane as well as the front. If an airport provided two boarding things (whatever they're called) for each plan, one for the front and one for the rear, boarding (and unboarding) would take much less time.

 
At 7:26 PM, March 20, 2007, Blogger Gil said...

I think that whatever system is implemented will be violated by enough people to screw things up for most of the others.

Most of the problem is that some people are slow to load their stuff in the overhead bins and they make lots of others wait.

I always thought they should have 2 or 3 employees (baggage handlers?) standing at the rear of the plane who would do all of the placing of items in the overhead bins. They would know how to do it quickly. People should board rear to front, but those who reach their rows before the employees work their way up to them, should just take their seats with their items in their laps and wait for the employees to show up to load their stuff.

 
At 7:18 PM, March 21, 2007, Blogger Taylor said...

Nice try Mr. Friedman. Unfortunately the airlines have made numerous attempts at efficiency gains when loading the aircraft and they've all failed miserably to the traditional "dog pile" method.

There are a few flaws with your proposed system:

1. Space. Where in the airport terminal is there room to add these boxes/lines?
2. Money. You must train your gate attendants in this system which costs money. It may be more cost effective to lose 5 minutes in the boarding process than it is to train people anymore than they have to.
3. The people. People show up to gates late. They might stand in the wrong order anyway. They might simply ignore your instructions and load on how they want. This is partially what shot down the attempts at zone-loading.
4. Space again. This time on the airplane. The aisles of airplanes are very narrow. There isn't room for everyone to line up inside the plane so youd still have only about 6 or 7 rows worth of people able to stand in line inside the plane at a time.

 
At 9:05 PM, March 21, 2007, Anonymous c-rob said...

NIce post taylor. Here are a few of my suggestions:

- Minimize carry-ons. Many people are still bringing on carry-ons that are larger than allowed; yet, they are not confronted. Bulky carry-ons take longer to load in the overhead bins, causing patrons to jam up the aisles. Furthermore, numerous carry-ons also cause this same problem.

- Allow for boarding from the rear, and discontinue assigned seating. First class can still take the early board, but get them on asap. Also, folks will be more inclined to show up earlier to a flight if they know that they may get stuck with an emergency exit seat (doesn't recline!), a toilet seat (smells), or a middle seat

 
At 12:31 AM, March 24, 2007, Anonymous vahe said...

Another comment on airlines:

It would be interesting to know why airlines don't sell prepaid flight packages? They could sell packages of say 4, 5, or 10, or however many roundtrip flights all at once. Naturally, requent flyers would be the most frequent byers of these packages. If I'm a frequent flyer, bying one of those, valid for say 1 or 2 years, would help me save lots of time on shopping for tickets, and would guarantee repeated customers for the airline. As for seasonal changes of prices, I think airlines could be flexible on combinations of pricing and conditions (i.e. expiration date, or seasonal restrictions) to make sure these packages turn profit on average.
I wouldn't be surprised if a certain part of those who bought these things did not use all of the trips before expiration.
Could it work?

 
At 10:35 PM, March 26, 2007, Anonymous Mark said...

To Vahe: No, it would not work.

Airlines need to know in advance how many people will be on each flight. So if they sold books of multiple tickets, travelers would still need to book each flight individually, the same way they do now. Why would anyone buy extra tickets in advance if it didn't save them any time?

 
At 2:02 PM, March 27, 2007, Blogger Arthur B. said...

mark:

Yet, Air Canada does it for commuters between the US and Canadian East Coast :)

It comes with an option to upgrade to 1st class if you book your prepaid ticket sufficiently in advance.

 
At 6:24 PM, March 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've often wondered about this also. Reduced boarding time benefits passengers.

But does it benefit the airline? What if the airline is relying on slow/long passenger board times to permit time for servicing & refueling the plane & to load baggage?

--dcf

 
At 8:57 AM, March 31, 2007, Anonymous evden eve nakliyat said...

very very nice informations... thanks informations.. mr silici

 

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