Faster airline boarding? It could be in the bag

The Wright Brothers took a huge step toward solving the problem of man’s pesky earthbound nature in 1903. But since then, no one has come up with a fail-safe solution to another persnickety problem related to flight: getting people to board the plane and take their seats quickly and efficiently.

Research carried out at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., aims to change that.

Professor John Milne and engineering student Alexander Kelly want to speed up the boarding process.

(Credit: Clarkson University)

Engineering undergraduate Alexander Kelly and School of Business Professor John Milne ran thousands of simulated airline boardings through a computer model to work out the best way to speed the boarding process. They eventually arrived at a method for planes with three seats on either side of the aisle: each row would be filled by one passenger carrying no bags, one with only one bag, and one carrying two bags, thus distributing luggage more evenly throughout the aircraft.

The thought is that if passengers could store their carry-ons in an orderly fashion (rather than with the chaotic Darwinian froth they currently employ while holding up those waiting to board behind them), the entire boarding process would go faster — up to 3 percent faster.

That might not seem like much, but … [Read more]

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