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INauseous() Shawn Cicoria - Solution Architect, Craftsman and Artisan - INauseous() - Main Blog Here: www.Cicoria.com

On Marc Adler's blog, I noticed a link to a paper on improving the airline boarding process.

http://www.math.duke.edu/news/awards/MCM2007lmw.pdf

It never ceases to amaze me the herd mentality when it's boarding time, or in actuality, about 30 minutes before boarding time.  People start congregating to the opening of the jet way far in advance of what would be their expected board time.  People who sit in the front part of the cheap seats, generally board last (unless you're on United); however, they're up their right in front waiting for some miracle change in the boarding processes as if their name will be spoken first, calling them to the front of the line.

In reality, today it's about getting that overhead storage. Most people have these enormous oversize bags that in no way pass those "size baggage check" things that sit at the counter.  Yet, they bring these things onboard, shoving them in the overhead compartments; too many times I've seen bags that are probably carrying small children in a attempt to trick the airlines so they can save a few bucks on an extra seat or to prevent detection by social services that they just may have overdosed their kid with too much cough syrup.

Well, in the conclusions of the paper, it seems fairly common sense. Board those with Window seats first, then middle rows, then aisle. Not much is said in that idealistic pattern about the families that take up parts or complete rows, or require “priority” boarding with the screaming kids. There is discussion of Hybrid boarding patterns as well that gives consideration to the groups.

To me, it’s about organizational change. The gate attendants need to keep the area clear and moving. Those attendants on board the aircraft need to be just slightly less than a drill sergeant – keeping things moving and ensuring a backup check on the bag size limits. Those who show up with bags passed the size limits – back of the line for them – attendants are there for helping those that need the help instead of playing with the coffee pots.

Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 10:11 AM | Back to top


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