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17 July, 2024
 
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New boarding method to save time and money

Strategies to speed up boarding

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Airlines have long grappled with the challenges of efficient boarding, a process that often leads to travelers standing in lengthy queues both outside and inside the aircraft.

United Airlines, boasting the largest fleet among US carriers, is now taking a step towards addressing this issue by testing a novel boarding method, aiming to streamline the passenger boarding experience and shave off precious minutes from the process.

Commencing on October 26, United will divide travelers into six distinct groups for boarding. The company believes that this approach will contribute to a faster and more efficient boarding process, potentially saving up to two minutes per flight.

The new boarding strategy begins by prioritizing certain groups of passengers. First, those with priority status are welcomed on board, followed by passengers who have reserved window seats in the economy class. Subsequently, individuals assigned to middle seats will board, and lastly, those with aisle seats will join the flight.

United Airlines asserts that this method has undergone testing and has demonstrated its effectiveness in expediting the boarding process. Furthermore, it notes that passengers who book window seats may enjoy an advantage when it comes to securing overhead luggage storage.

The importance of faster boarding cannot be overstated. "Saving even a minute in boarding time can result in several hundred million dollars every year for a large aircraft," highlights John Milne, an expert in aircraft boarding from Clarkson University, in conversation with CNN.

Particularly significant savings for airlines materialize when reducing boarding time allows for an additional flight per day, Milne emphasizes. This financial incentive has motivated several airlines to invest in strategies to accelerate the boarding process.

For instance, in 2017, American Airlines introduced a nine-group boarding system and has since made adjustments to enhance its efficiency. Southwest Airlines also joined this endeavor, introducing changes to its boarding system this year with a three-group approach, thereby reducing the number of passengers able to check in early.

Milne suggests that the "inverted pyramid" method is the most efficient. It divides passengers into four groups. First, passengers with window seats at the back of the aircraft board, followed by those with middle seats at the rear and window seats at the front.

The third group includes passengers with middle seats at the front and aisle seats at the back, and lastly, passengers with aisle seats at the front of the plane board. This approach aims to minimize congestion and optimize the boarding process for an overall smoother experience.

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Cyprus  |  airlines  |  flights  |  economy

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