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Mathematicians suggest new way for aircraft boarding

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Poll: What do you think is the best way to board an airplane?

What do you think is the best way to board an airplane?

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#1 Asrokhel



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Posted 14 November 2012 - 00:38

RESEARCHERS from Curtin University and Beihang University in Beijing have come up with a new ‘third way’ to improve airplane boarding.

Lead researcher Dr Tie-Qiao Tang said while modelling had previously been done on factors such as luggage congestion, routing, and takeoff runway scheduling, his study was the first to look at boarding.

He said the area could help an industry under constant pressure to increase efficiency.

“Air passenger transportation in China has increased to 200 million in 2010 from less than 10 million in 1950. However, the increase of the supply of air transportation is much slower than that of its demand. Thus, in practice, certain conflicts between supply and demand often occur, leading to airline congestions, passenger-luggage congestions and mixed traffic problems,” Dr Tang said.

He said researchers created models using pedestrian flow theory that compared three styles of boarding: random boarding; the current boarding system of assigned seating; and the new way that took into account passengers’ individual properties, such as maximum speed and luggage.

“Each passenger has their own individual properties. For example, each passenger’s luggage has a different attribution and thus has different influences on boarding behaviour; the time that the passenger’s ticket is checked at the gate is different; the time that the passenger deals with his or her carried luggage is different; seat conflicts have different effects on the passenger. Each passenger has a different optimal speed, maximum speed and safe distance.”

Results showed random boarding was the most inefficient, with queue-jumping, aisle congestions and jams before the gate as well as between the gate desk and plane.

Boarding by assigned seating was better, but still inefficient, as only passengers in the front of the queue could board at their ‘maximum speed’ and seat conflicts occurred.

However, the new third way – with seat numbers assigned based on the passenger’s optimal speed, the attributions of their carried luggage and tickets checked automatically using electronic equipment at the gate so as to avoid slowdowns in motion – was proven optimal, with no congestion, jams, overtaking, queue jumping, seat conflict or wasted time.

While Dr Tang said no airline had yet agreed to put the theory into practice, he is open to collaborations to make the ‘third way’ a travel reality.

‘An aircraft boarding model accounting for passengers’ individual properties’ by Tie-Qiao Tang, Yong-Hong Wu, Hai-Jun Huang and Lou Caccetta was published in Transport Research Part C.

So what do you think? What's the best way to get people onto commercial flights quickly?


#2 pack34


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 00:42

A combination of section by section boarding (already being done) and either reducing the size of carry-on baggage or completely eliminating the overhead compartments.

#3 Phouchg


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:08

Getting in the plane instead of on the plane. Seems to be less wind in there, too. :shiftyninja:

#4 metallithrax


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:13

Start at the back and work forwards.

Latecomers have to wait until everyone else is boarded.

#5 BoredBozirini


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:17

Free for all.

#6 zhangm


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:26

No carry-ons first.

#7 nohone


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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:35

The problem is not getting on the plane, it is getting off of it. All the people who have a connecting flight are put on the back of the plane, all the people who have carry on luggage and are unable to get that luggage out of the overhead compartment efficiently (because they are older, shorter, weaker or don't care that they are holding up the line) are all at the front and hold up the entire cabin.

Find a way to mathematically fix getting off the plane, and then I will be impressed.

#8 Glassed Silver

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:43

Meh... have two gates, problem fixed (front and back) :p

(new problem: logistics and price :D)

But yea, passengers who have to take another plane should get priority.

Also, I think I'd still like being able to sit where I want.
I love seeing the a wing and I love sitting next to the window.

You mess with my preferences and I'm unlucky :p
Also, waiting this long in the boarding area, why don't they check the tickets first and then let you into the actual boarding area ffs?

I hate the hold ups on taking flights.

Glassed Silver:mac

#9 Biohead



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Posted 14 November 2012 - 20:59

I'm in favour of back to front boarding (primary sort order) and also incorporating Window to Aisle boarding with it. I'm sure mythbusters tested something like this in past.

Although, about 75% of people boarding a plane are incapable of waiting their turn which makes any method useless. If it was left to me, I'd open the doors and say to everyone you have 15 mins before the doors close ;) Bit mean but people would certainly rush!