A Better Way To Board AirlinersPosted: March 26, 2015
Whenever I travel, I can’t help but notice the different ways that airlines load passengers on their planes.
That first sentence isn’t really true. Whenever I travel by plane, I can’t help but notice the different ways that airlines load passengers on their planes.When I drive to my destination, I’m indifferent to anything the airlines do.
But the ways airlines have us board flights are nearly universally consistent in two respects – they’re inefficient and dull.
It seems to me that lining people up in the order in which they’ll be sitting, from the back of the plane to the front, and then sending that line on to the aircraft would get passengers aboard in the fastest way possible. Any flyer who boards a flight out-of-order, thus gumming up the process for those behind them, would be subject to verbal abuse by flight attendants and fellow travelers.
Unfortunately, I don’t foresee my line idea being picked up by one of the major carriers. Companies are a little nervous about their employees berating customers. That’s too bad. People who screw up air travel for the rest of us by being bad at getting on airplanes deserve that and worse.
The Next Innovation In Air Travel
Since we’re not going to get my superior way of loading planes implemented, the least the airlines can do for us is to make boarding interesting. I’ve got a proposal that’ll make that happen.
Right now, airlines board their first class passengers first. They follow them with their frequent fliers – in descending levels of importance. And then they have the rest of us board, grouped in clusters that only the airlines understand the significance of. I’m proposing that we end separate boarding of all those groups after first class – the frequent fliers, the boarding “zones” that have nothing to do with where someone will sit.
There will need to be a way to prevent a stampede. What I suggest is that the gate agents board passengers according to individual traits. These qualities would change for every flight, so each passenger would not know when they were boarding each flight. Let me give you an example of how this might be done:
We’ll now begin boarding Flight 1341 for Phoenix with our first class passengers.
(pause as the rich folks board)
OK, we’ll continue with…vegetarians. All vegetarians may board flight 1341.
(pause while the herbivores board the plane)
Next to board 1341… non-swimmers. If you’re afraid of water, step aboard.
(pause to allow the aquaphobes time to be seated)
Flight 1341 is now open to people who wear glasses. Contact lens folks, sorry this isn’t your day.
(pause as the astigmatics find their way down the ramp)
Thank you for your patience. Flight 1341 is now open to any of you who are mammals. Last call for Phoenix!
(at this point everyone who paid attention in elementary school science knows they can board)
The potential categories are endless – people wearing red, musicians, those who’ve received a traffic ticket in the last year, Germans, Brazilians or anyone with a Brazilian, anyone who likes Necco Wafers. Constantly changing the groups will keep passengers attentive and make the process smoother.
So, Airlines, Which Of You Is Going To Start?
This system will be both enjoyable for the passengers and efficient for the airlines. It will require passengers to be honest about their qualities and to speak up when they know someone is lying to board sooner. I’m willing to do both of those things to see this system implemented. I will speak up if I see you eating a ham and cheese and then boarding with the vegetarians.
Switching up the categories will keep the boarding process fresh; it is hard to imagine a process less fresh than boarding groups like “President’s Preferred”, “Chairman’s Diamond”, and “Zone 3”. It is time for a change, airlines. This is the change that will make flying fun.
Ok, that last sentence isn’t true. This isn’t the change that will make flying fun. More knee and elbow room will make flying fun, but we all know that isn’t happening. This is the next best thing. Let’s make it happen.
I can’t wait to board with the retired hostage negotiator group.