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Is there a fast way to load an airplane?

Inevitably, after I bump my way back to 27F, the prime window seat I secured by booking my flight about six years in advance, I hit the same roadblock: those dolts in 27D and E. They are settled in, strapped in and just a bit miffed that they have to unsettle, unstrap and push out into the crowded aisle to let me in. ( More...

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alistairm 0
lol, well, Air Canada does a great job by herding people in like cattle!! If you don't sit down within a few second of arriving at your seat, you are told to sit down! This was my experience recently. Perhaps a few pointers: let people in gradually. Don't let people bring on so much carry on! Have the flight crew direct people to their seats. Or, have people enter from both sides of the aircraft. But, i think this one is not doable.
mobilken 0
Yes there is a way. We board by zone's and these zone's go from back to front. The best way to board is still by zone's. Let's look at a 737 or a 3 by 3. The zone's would be W = Window; M = middle, and I = aisle. Yes we will still have some issues though I do not think as many as we do today. Board the window seats, then middle, the aisle. Im sure the traveling public can stand being separated for five minutes from each other. The thought is, think out of the box what can we do differently to help the boarding process. The "if its not broke dont fix it" is broke in the airline biz - FIX it!!
pnschi 0
I read something a couple years ago - some guy did a simulation and found that random would be better than what airlines actually do. Random isn't the best possible option, but better than the standard practices.

But then, I love getting on American and hearing 30 announcements over 20 minutes that the only thing holding up the departure are the idiot passengers not putting their bags away and sitting down. Then the last passenger sits down, and we wait another 30 minutes before leaving the gate. Never fails.
Ronnie Mc 0
Us Airways Does a pretty good job, they also load people by zones, 1,2,3,4 etc. Front being 1 and back being whatever.
Watch Dog 0
Why not load by A/F, B/E, C/D, on single isle aircraft.

Two aisle aircraft, such as B767, load A/G/D, then B/C and E/F simultaneously.

B777: A/E/J, B/D/H, C/F/G.

B747: A/E/K, J/F/B, C/G, D/H

Run it like that... might go faster
Jimmy Reagan 0
If there is one thing that bugs me above all else is when you are stuck in that narrow aisle waiting to get to your seat and are wondering what could be holding things up. Soon enough you see the problem, you pray to God their boarding pass does not say 37 B/C but it's inevitable, it's that sun burnt family with 2 kids who INSIST that they do not need to check their luggage. Instead they hold up the aisle for 10 minutes trying to fit in a bag that you think will never fit (But of course in the end by some miracle it does, leaving you NO overhead space for your small back pack) This leaves you two options, put it behind that pointless little foot rest thing that is more of way to keep you mind occupied than the "G" rated in flight movie, or try to put it in the overhead bin which behind you, which as we all know is the most awkward thing on the planet. I mean I have never gotten so many "ughhs" or angry looks, and suddenly you are the bad guy that even the sun burnt family is looking down on. All in all I'd rather fly myself to Florida than, like Alistair said "Herded like cattle" onto an overstuffed bus with wings.
MimosaDrive 0
I'm not a rocket scientist, but it seems that if you let the people who have seats in the rear of the airplane first, then they will not in the way of people who have seats in front of them.

Loading the front seats first makes everybody who has seats further back wait while the people in the front rows load their carryons and get settled.
Ronald Gilmore 0
I recall the early days of jetways, at LAX! Two (2) jetways per aircraft! Worked great! Perhaps we should revisit that possibility! Also makes it a lot quicker to emergency evac. if needed
Chris Lum 0
Let's try this, checked baggage free, under seat storage free,
overhead carry on $20.00 each!
John Cotton 0
I agree with Chris! Limiting the overhead stuff will definitely speed things up.
I also agree with Chris. Of BA basically did that several years back. They had something like a 8 kg limit coach baggage. I even had to check my laptop (computer, case, charger, spare battery put it just over 8 kg). At least I didn't get smashed on the head by people loading their 25 kg bags into a 40 pound limit overhead.
ToddBaldwin3 0
Then there is the Ryan Air approach. Complete mayhem, with a race to get to a seat first.
mark tufts 0
i can understand why southwest airlones ranks number one. i flew round trip from denver to lax and they let the physical handicapped board first and let them choose the seats they want then they do the C section which is in the back,B section which is middle then A section and they do that 20 people at a time and once after the doors are closed and people have sat down and buckled in they leave the gate usually 5 minutes early to five minutes late depending on the people
Ben Deneweth 0
Watchdog, The, Window, Middle, Aisle is what United Airlines ALREADY DOES!

Also, American's isn't "random" it's back-to-front but with zone numbers on the boarding passes instead of rows so that AA can tweak where the zones are without having to communicate anything to the field, they can just do it through software. It also allows them to put people in any seat into the first boarding group through software.
Victor Engel 0
@Mark, when did Southwest start boarding that way? I've never seen boarding done that way on Southwest.
David Ehlert 0
We recently flew on Horizon Airlines and their Bombardier Q400 planes. They boarded in groups and used both the front and back doors to load. It went well and things were great except when my wife and son decided to board the plane to Boise instead of Portland..!!! I agree with Chris above as I would like to see a reduction in the size of allowed carry ons.
Victor Engel 0
The best way would be if the aircraft had a modular design with a removable fuselage capsule. Each plane would have two fuselages. One stays at the airport. The other stays with the plane. Passengers and ground crew board/load the fuselage while they're waiting for the plane to arrive. When the plane arrives, the two fuselages are simply swapped, like a revolver barrel. Using this method, refueling, crew change, and that sort of thing would then become the bottleneck.
I have to agree, limiting the type and size of carry on is one thing that would speed up the process. Two per person, not to exceed a preset template for size (Perhaps a drop-in "rabbit hole" at the ticket counter?) if it dont easily fit there, it gets checked.
Victor Engel 0
Is loading the passengers even the bottleneck? I know I've been on several flights where we had to wait for the ground crew to finish after all passengers were seated. Sometimes it's because of baggage being moved from another plane, but not always. It really only makes sense to go to extra efforts to speed up passenger seating if that's usually the bottleneck.
Sorry Ben - AA is far from back to front. It hasn't been for a long time. In may experience, AA and US Air and United use some mystery plan. For years the process was back to front - what's wrong with that? I heard the AA boarding groups (1-5) were assigned based on the actual price paid for the ticket??? With a multitude of prices paid is it any wonder that it is a mess? Whatever it is it makes no sense to have a line up into the jetway with people going to row 30 waiting for people in row 9 to get out of the aisle. Carryon templates are ignored so whats the point?? Make another rule thats ignored? More "fees"? Come on!
Alan Wilson 0
Really?!?! A centry ago it would take 3 months to make a trip that now takes less than a day and we are complaining about how inconvinient it is to wait for a plane to depart.
alistairm 0
I think the idea of loading the people who will sit at teh very back first, is a great idea. Also the idea of limiting the amount and/or size of carry on, would be another great idea. But i think it just comes down to the passenger. Seems like many people these days, think that nothing around them is more important then what they are trying to acomplish. Therefore, ignore the fact that other people may be trying to board the flight.
max lyons 0
I solve the problem by being one of the last people to board. Even if there's no overhead space all I'm carrying on is my bookbag which can easilly fit under the seat. That way the aisles clear and I can go to mu seat and sit down.
Tom Weber 0
As someone who flies roughly 4 commercial flights each week, the clear bottleneck in the boarding process is the carry-on policy. Due to the increased bag fees for checked bags, people are bringing more and larger carry-on bags. This increases the time to put bags in the bins (everyone has seen someone have to completely rearrange a bin to fit their bag in, or spend 5 minutes taking things out one-by-one to try and squeeze their oversize bag in the bin).

The easiest solution I see is to charge for carry-on bags that don't fit into the template bin at the boarding door (this could be based on the $30/min cost and average large carry-on put-away time). For those opposed to fees: remember, every minute that you hold up the boarding process, you are costing the airline money. That money must be recovered somewhere, either as fees or in the ticket price (I, for one, would rather not subsidize the cost of waiting for the family of 4 to stow their 8 carry-on bags they brought to avoid checked-bag fees). I typically have 2 small carry-on bags which I can stow in a matter of seconds (1 above, 1 under the seat), even in the smallest of regional jets.
Jim Kerr 0
I think there are two major issues here. The first one is obviously the carry-ons. Some people feel the need to bring their entire lives into what can, or sometimes cannot fit in the overhead bins. This never made sense to me.

The second issue is general stupidity. How many times have I boarded a plane to find someone in my seat? Perhaps if airlines would print the seat numbers on the head-rest "flaps," people would not have such "issues" finding their designated seat.
John Hale 0
These are all good ideas and solutions but here is what I see when I fly. It's the person who sits in a seat up front then it's pointed out by another passenger they are in the wrong seat. There seat is in the back so they then have to get all there stuff which is usally to hand fulls of stuff and take it all the way to the back to then realize all the over head storage is full because they are to stupid to be able to read what isle number is on there boarding pass. The other one is half the plane is full people are already in line on the plane you then have someone show up late that is sitting in the back to hands full of stuff, again, and when they get to the back they have no where to put it. Then one of the flight attendents has to fight there way up front to find room or send it down below. I know you cant make people take an IQ test before they by a plane ticket but it sure would be nice.
max lyons 0
I don't understand the reason familys try to bring 10 oversized luggages to try to fit them on the overhead compartment?? Just so they can get to their destination 10 minutes sooner then the people who checked their bags?? Meanwhile, those 10 minutes are wasted while the planes stuck at the gate (losing money I might add) with the family trying to get their suitcases in the overhead.

I agree what was said earlier about charging money for checked baggage as well. I'll carry on my bookbag which contains the neccessary items I'll need (cellphone charger, etc) and depending how far I'm traveling a couple newspapers or book. All together it can't weigh more then 15 pounds and can easily fit under the seat.
Ric Wernicke 0
Random boarding works the best. They need a pre-show video like the one for Star Tours or Soarin' over California at Disneyland. Get Patrick to tell them how to find a seat, put their stuff away, sit down and relax.

People who act dumb? Take them off, make them watch the video again, and it will be amazing how better behaved they will be. Some people must be treated as cattle.

Carry-on larger than allowed? Take it away at the gate, check it, and collect the money at the other end. Charge more than the normal amount for doorside service and the cabin baggage will vanish like free Hershey Kisses at a car rental counter.
MimosaDrive 0
Low cost airline, Spirit, got a lot of flack when they started charging for carry-on bags. I thought that was a good move until I found out they charge the same amount for check-in bags, which doesn't resolve the problem.

If it only took 10 minutes extra to pickup check-in bags that would be great. In my recent experience flying every 2 - 3 weeks, the wait time has been typically in the range of 25 to 55 minutes (on Spirit, Delta, Continental, AirTran, US Airways, American).


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