The Scrubba Blog

How to board a plane

by Maylynn Bloom |

Boarding a plane should be simple, shouldn't it? Passenger buys ticket, passenger checks in, passenger waits in lounge until gates open, passenger files onboard to assigned seat, places bag in overhead bin, sits down, buckles up, kicks back and lifts off to destination. Dreamy, but unfortunately not so.

For years, inefficient boarding systems have caused flight delays that costs the airline industry millions of dollars, which, of course, is passed on to customers. Raising costs are seen in everything from ticket pricing to the cost of baggage, which has created a movement towards fewer check-ins and more carry-on luggage, in turn causing even more delays during boarding and more costs.

Astrophysicists have applied mathematical formulas to determine the most efficient system for boarding a plane, the famed MythBusters team have performed timed experiments to figure out the quickest way and airlines themselves have trialed everything from structured systematic boarding to random embarkment and even unassigned seats 'free-for-all' boarding, but to date everyone is still struggling to determine the best way to board a plane.

The back-to-front boarding method has been proven time and time again to be the slowest and least efficent way, yet it remains the industry standard. Other systems used by airlines include the outside-in method, the block format, boarding by check-in order, random and unassigned seating methods.   

Delta Airilnes in the U.S. recently trialed a whole new system of 'early valet' where travelers hand their personal luggage over to airline crew before embarking the aircraft, the crew place it in the overhead bins and then passengers board. The intention is to reduce congestion in the aisles during boarding, having everything stowed away ahead of time so people can just waltz their way to their seats. [See article on 'early valet' service]

Personally, I wouldn't want to part with my handbag for a minute when traveling, but apparently this system does save time at the gate. In our opinion at the Scrubba wash bag, the best way to travel is to pack light, follow carry-on rules and make boarding easier and cheaper for everyone.

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