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Mythbusters Shows Most Airlines Board Wrong(video)  
User currently offlineabrown532 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Feb 2008, 152 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 26118 times:

Part 1 - http://youtu.be/AgaFYpuYPXg

Part 2 - http://youtu.be/HTDL_LuIMjU

Part 3 - http://youtu.be/JNYebtlaMXU

A fascinating look at how most Airlines board their aircraft in the most inefficient way possible, certainly very interested to know how this could impact turnaround times if implemented.

57 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineUnited1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 6003 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 26058 times:

Quoting abrown532 (Thread starter):
certainly very interested to know how this could impact turnaround times if implemented.

Worth noting that UA uses has used a modified version of Wilma for years....they tried the board by row method for a short while after the CO merger and found it added quite a bit of time to the process so they switched back to Wilma.



Semper Fi - PowerPoint makes us stupid.
User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3075 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 25826 times:

Quoting United1 (Reply 1):
Worth noting that UA uses has used a modified version of Wilma for years

How have customers that travel in groups reacted to this method? Do they board separately even if they travel in the same row, or does UA cater for this?

That to me seems like the biggest problem with the best results that mythbusters came up with. I'm sure customer satisfaction would fall drastically when some of the travellers were in groups or families without infants (so likely not to preboard) and they are forced to board separately. Even if they do allow families and groups to board at the same time in a modified WILMA, I would suspect there would be some confusion also making satisfaction fall.

If every flight left with passengers travelling on their own, then things would be easy, but in the real world that doesn't happen, and it changes for every flight. Mythbusters did nothing to cater for that.

Furthermore, having people board by specific seat numbers (as in pyramid) or by seat letters (WILMA) is easy in a test environment. But add in factors of people not listening closely to announcements, coming to gate midway through boarding (so didn't hear announcement), not caring about instructions, and boarding agents not following through with procedures (allowing anyone to board), causes a lot of problems. Complicate something like boarding too much and it will become a pain.

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 25777 times:

Quoting United1 (Reply 1):
Worth noting that UA uses has used a modified version of Wilma for years....they tried the board by row method for a short while after the CO merger and found it added quite a bit of time to the process so they switched back to Wilma.

So have they discontinued it? Or is it modified beyond recognition? Because my recent boardings on UA have been nothing like WILMA. Holding a window seat near the rear, I should have boarded first (non-First-Class) group, and instead boarded last. The only way I could describe the current boarding method, or at least assigning of groups, is "random", which may actually work to some extent. I used o have a strategy of preferring rear-ward window seats because I I'd have a better chance of a cargo bin space and a window seat. Now the opposite turns out.

WILMA doesn't work well for families wanting to board together. On the other hand, neither does boarding families first, because the idea is to minimize the time children have to wait in a chaotic, non-moving vehicle. In my opinion.

"Reverse pyramid" seems like a more plausible solution, of the ones they tested.

-Rampart


User currently offlineairbazar From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 8475 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 25725 times:

Quoting abrown532 (Thread starter):
A fascinating look at how most Airlines board their aircraft in the most inefficient way possible, certainly very interested to know how this could impact turnaround times if implemented.

2 things:
1) For most airlines quick turnaround times are not that relevant.
2) As crazy as this might seem, customer satisfaction is an important factor and these math algorithms don't take into consideration human behavior.


User currently offlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1887 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 25717 times:
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CHAT OPERATOR

Very interesting! I was familiar with all options but it was very informative to see it in action with some statistics. At AMS we usually need 20-25 minutes to board your average 180 seater, I can only imagine the amount of time savings if one of these other methods would be introduced.

I loved how they introduced the stupid passenger behavior to keep it real, like the in-aisle coat-folder!

Martijn



Nothing's worse then flying the same registration twice, except flying it 4 times..
User currently onlinealoges From Germany, joined Jan 2006, 8724 posts, RR: 43
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 25642 times:

Quoting United1 (Reply 1):
they switched back to Wilma

Isn't it "reversed pyramid", i.e. zones, on UA?

FWIW, that's the system I like the best... unsurprisingly, considering the Mythbusters test result. Zones also make it easy to allow FFs to board sooner than their seat assignments would usually allow.

[Edited 2013-02-03 05:56:54]


Walk together, talk together all ye peoples of the earth. Then, and only then, shall ye have peace.
User currently offlineabrown532 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Feb 2008, 152 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 25062 times:

Customer satisfaction is an issue to bear in mind, however, when discussing splitting people up for boarding, groups of people will have spend maybe 2-3 hours in the airport together as well as sitting together on the aircraft. This makes me think that groups would not be too bothered about splitting for 10/20 minutes or so to board the aircraft.

User currently offlineDahlgardo From Denmark, joined Sep 2004, 131 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 24846 times:

If only some pax would start using common sense when boarding, boarding time would drop considerably.
Many people make an effort to stand as long time as possible in the aisle, and there by blocking the path of others.
I see that every time I fly, and it always amazes me.



Nothing to say
User currently offlinegoldenargosy From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 124 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 24789 times:

From what I can tell, they left out priority boarding based on FF status. This is a real-life control element that would effect timing and satisfaction.

User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27106 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 24516 times:

Quoting goldenargosy (Reply 9):
From what I can tell, they left out priority boarding based on FF status. This is a real-life control element that would effect timing and satisfaction.

Exacty . On most of the examples above this would no doubt add onto the time it took to board. Having Windows/Middles/Aisles is my favourite but what if 20-30 FF were already boarded with random middles ,windows etc... it would defeat the purpose. It may still be quicker than the current systems though. I guess it would take a few airlines to test it in real life operations for 6 months. The big issue is I personally would not want to leave my travelling companion if I had a window and they had an aisle. I guess with FF priority boarding applying to both card holder and companion this would not be an issue for me as I have status with all major alliances but I can see it bothering me and others if I/they did not.


User currently offlineBD338 From United States of America, joined Jul 2010, 717 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 24362 times:

when some airlines have so many zones for; pre-board, first class, FF, credit card holders etc. etc. an inefficient boarding process is a near guarantee. Half the aircraft or more can be seated and with the CC holders in particular not getting preferred seating then they can be anywhere on the aircraft (and carryons in overheads often nowhere near them). Result? later boarders are asking people to get up and let them get to their seat etc.

NW (and IIRC correctly KL might still do this) had a great system in their latter days, FC, FF and then general boarding. Three groups (was there any more?), real simple and it seemed to work very well.


User currently offlineYYZYYT From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 969 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 24362 times:

Quoting abrown532 (Reply 7):
Customer satisfaction is an issue to bear in mind, however, when discussing splitting people up for boarding, groups of people will have spend maybe 2-3 hours in the airport together as well as sitting together on the aircraft. This makes me think that groups would not be too bothered about splitting for 10/20 minutes or so to board the aircraft.

Won't work with kids that don't pre-board... can't tell an eight year old "go with that group of grown ups and find your seat, mummy and daddy will find you on board in 19 minutes".

Can someone in the industry tell me, is slow passenger loading a real problem at all? Given all that needs to be one to turn a flight... I can think of the number of reasons I hear announced for delays as flights are being boarded,"waiting for connecting passengers" or "loading baggage". I'm sure passengers who show up late are also a problem...


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13138 posts, RR: 15
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 24188 times:

The real problem with how to get people on an aircraft is all the stuff they are bringing on. Many with large carry ons or of large size, want priority to get 1st dibs for the overhead compartment space. That has become especially worse with bag fees being imposed.

User currently offlinejetMarc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 558 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 24029 times:

There are still a few things they hadn't considered... most of the time, 150 passengers aren't waiting at the gate, ready and eager to board. Also, nobody was complaining or trying to switch seat assignments, what about car seats and gate checks, on-time departures, runners, was the crew actively helping in the aisle, wheelchairs, etc...

While WILMA seemed to work, there is the issue of preboarding elite groups and splitting those traveling together...

I like Frontier's idea of preboarding passengers that will not be using the overhead bin space, so they can just board, sit down, and remain out of the way. This study apparently claims the #1 issue of boarding slow down is aisle seat passengers having to let other passengers into their row. The real issue is massive carry-on bags. These days, it seems every person owns a roll-aboard, packed to the gills, along with many other bags, a coat, a phone, lunch, and coffee in hand - nobody has enough hands to board quickly and efficiently.

I personally think TSA needs to be more proactive in the carry-on baggage issue which would significantly assist in boarding. If they can limit the amount and size of liquids, they can also monitor the amount and size of baggage introduced into the sterile area. They need to conform the size of the x-ray scanner to the FAA size requirements for baggage. ie - TPA has a hinged flap with a hole to control the size of the carry-ons that can fit through it, but can be lifted up for a stroller to be scanned)... This way, if the bag doesnt meet FAA size requirements, it can't be x-ray, if it can't be x-rayed, then it doesn't make it to the gate or onboard.



"Sucka, I'm gonna send you out on Knuckle Airlines. Fist Class!!" ~ Mr. T
User currently offlineDL WIDGET HEAD From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 2100 posts, RR: 5
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 23961 times:

Quoting BD338 (Reply 11):
NW (and IIRC correctly KL might still do this) had a great system in their latter days, FC, FF and then general boarding. Three groups (was there any more?), real simple and it seemed to work very well.

After seeing this method in action several times, I rather liked it. Of course, the general boarding call was a bit chaotic for the first few minutes but soon became manageable. Every time I witnessed this method being used, the A/C (no matter what size) seemed to be completely boarded about 15 minutes early not including last minute stragglers. Maybe the airlines are over thinking the boarding process. I think maybe airlines should go back to this simple, effective method: FC, FF, then general boarding.


User currently offlinethreepoint From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 2162 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 23609 times:

Quoting DL WIDGET HEAD (Reply 15):
I think maybe airlines should go back to this simple, effective method: FC, FF, then general boarding.

That's essentially how AC does it (with a few additions):

1. Require everybody to be at gate 30 mins prior to departure.
2. 5 mins prior to departure, gate agent lifts microphone to mouth. Instant Pavlovian response of passengers sliding towards gate, even before she utters her first "At this time...".
3. Welcome statement in two languages, first passengers begin to jostle, about 50 Elite and Super Elite travelers appear as if by magic.
4. "Anybody traveling with kids or requires assistance": Cue image of mother with a stroller and infant in arms being cut off by family with a pair of 10-yr old kids in headphones that are more agile than almost everybody else on board. First display of gate agent ignoring the intent of the boarding courtesies. Technically, yes these are children, but...
5. "We invite our Executive Class, Elite, Super Elite, Star Gold passengers..." If in YYZ, YVR, YYC or YUL, this is 3/4 of the people in the lounge, or so it seems. But this still doesn't prevent the legions of gate lice crowding the front of the gate so as to make it difficult for the priority boarders to access the lane. Several non-status passengers get through, as the gate agents enforce this sporadically.
6. "This is a general boarding announcement": an irrelevant, unheard statement as everybody by now has either jostled, cheated or snuck their way onto the jetway, or are still trying in vain to merge four or five snaking lines into two lanes at the gate itself. Any common courtesy that might be displayed on the street is absent here, as roll-aboards clip ankles, passengers step in front of the queue and people wrestle with finding their boarding pass among their jacket, purse, laptop case, suitcase and general cloth bag filled with Godknowswhat.
7. "This is the final call for flight blah blah blah..." An announcement that will be followed by at least two more final calls.



The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
User currently offlineabrown532 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Feb 2008, 152 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 23253 times:

From my interpretation the current United style of using WILMA is good enough, but also depends on the business model, whether it is full service or low cost...

User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21544 posts, RR: 59
Reply 18, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 22816 times:

Quoting airbazar (Reply 4):
2 things:
1) For most airlines quick turnaround times are not that relevant.
2) As crazy as this might seem, customer satisfaction is an important factor and these math algorithms don't take into consideration human behavior.

1. For international flights, no. For US domestic flights, yes. Also for delayed flights, where they want to get you on fast to limit the delay.
2. Very true. It's one thing to study humans ready to take a test, it's another to try to impose a system on a dynamic group of 150 people who don't listen, don't all arrive at once, don't understand english well, don't all get around very well, etc.

Quoting abrown532 (Reply 7):
Customer satisfaction is an issue to bear in mind, however, when discussing splitting people up for boarding, groups of people will have spend maybe 2-3 hours in the airport together as well as sitting together on the aircraft. This makes me think that groups would not be too bothered about splitting for 10/20 minutes or so to board the aircraft.

Groups don't slow things down though. It would take longer for a group to board split up. Groups often switch seats once on board, share space in carry-ons, etc. When a group boards together, you often have one person who gets in first while other lifts things into the overhead and passes items to people, etc. Split this dynamic up, and it could take longer.

Quoting jetMarc (Reply 14):
This study apparently claims the #1 issue of boarding slow down is aisle seat passengers having to let other passengers into their row. The real issue is massive carry-on bags. These days, it seems every person owns a roll-aboard, packed to the gills, along with many other bags, a coat, a phone, lunch, and coffee in hand - nobody has enough hands to board quickly and efficiently.

Why do pax take the full carry-on? Because airlines started charging for luggage. Why did customers start bringing their own food aboard? Because airlines stopped offering food for free and often not even for sale depending on the flight length. And are customers supposed to check their coats, too? Way back in the day F/As would help ALL customers stow hats and coats, but those days are long gone.

Basically, what you are griping about has been caused by the airlines cutting their service to the bone. If they are getting slow turn times because of it, they need to decide which is more valuable.
1. ancillary revenue
2. shorter block times
3. better OTP

My guess is that they have already determined #1 is most important to them.

Quoting jetMarc (Reply 14):
I personally think TSA needs to be more proactive in the carry-on baggage issue which would significantly assist in boarding. If they can limit the amount and size of liquids, they can also monitor the amount and size of baggage introduced into the sterile area.

You really want to give the TSA more control? More discretion on what can and can't be done, with the result of an argument arrest? Back in the days of private security, some airports tried the plastic "hole in the wall" method on the baggage scanners. Problem was they often didn't allow bags that should fit to fit, and it caused customers to MISS FLIGHTS because they had to go back to the counter to check bags. By doing a gate check for oversized bags, nobody misses the flight...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21544 posts, RR: 59
Reply 19, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 22515 times:

BTW, what airlines still board back to front?

Most are doing some kind of zoning, which is a way to also allow for FFs to board at will, and keep groups together. It's pretty clear that this method has a high satisfaction rating, a relatively fast speed, is not confusing to people, etc.

And I think it might be why WN switched to calling groups. Sure, they don't assign seats because they know that unnassigned is fastest, but they also know people complain about the cattle call. So they gave a false sense of "order" by creating groups, and made a challenge for customers to assure a decent seat not by getting to the airport 2 hours early (which creates overcrowding of their terminals), but by checking in as early as possible, which helps with revenue management. Seems like a win win win for WN...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineexFWAOONW From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 20978 times:

Quoting BD338 (Reply 11):
NW (and IIRC correctly KL might still do this) had a great system in their latter days, FC, FF and then general boarding. Three groups (was there any more?), real simple and it seemed to work very well.

We also had "those in need of assistance" i.e. with infants, wheelchairs, etc board after first class. When you were the only person working the gate, it allowed the F/A time to serve the first class pax while you assisted the specials. General boarding was by rows, if needed. Most of the time it isn't. If time was tight, and you did a good job of explaining it, it seemed to go faster.



Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
User currently offlineqqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2294 posts, RR: 13
Reply 21, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 20811 times:

American in the last few years implemented a boarding system that randomly assigns group numbers to passengers at check-in. This gives the efficiency the random boarding process in the Mythbusters video claims, but improves on the poor satisfaction rating because it isn't a free-for-all. Passengers get a sense of order because of the group numbers, even those group numbers were randomly assigned.


The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
User currently offlinecosyr From United States of America, joined Jul 2012, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 20474 times:

On my last dozen or so United flights, there have been so many Elite groups, credit card members and military/small children, that maybe less than half the plane was left for any kind of boarding technique. Then factor in people who board with companions, not in the perfect pyramid, and some people who don't board at their first opportunity, and the variables grow so much that I do not believe their is a perfect method. Every flight is going to have different variables.

The biggest concern I see is structure and discipline. By that I mean, is it better for gate agents to lay down the law, and keep repeating that you cannot board before called, or keep things pleasant and flowing, by discreetly ignoring the jerks who can't listen?


User currently offlinejayunited From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 980 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 18935 times:

United is going back to the version of WILMA we use to use before CO management changed it to the current boarding process. One of the changes customers will notice once it is fully redeployed is families traveling together will be able to board at the same time together with the person who has the lowest group number. So if a family of 3 is traveling together they would all be able to board with group 3 which would be the window group.

But the real reason why it now takes so long to board any aircraft here in the US is because most airlines charge people to check their bag which forces a lot of people to stuff everything they need into 1 or 2 carry-on's which in most cases then get stuck when the person tries to stuffed it into the overhead bins. Before the airlines started charging people to check their bags the boarding process went smoothly and was fast. But I think we all know check bag fees are not going away.


User currently offlinethreepoint From Canada, joined Oct 2005, 2162 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18519 times:

Quoting cosyr (Reply 22):
is it better for gate agents to lay down the law, and keep repeating that you cannot board before called, or keep things pleasant and flowing, by discreetly ignoring the jerks who can't listen?

I honestly think the flow would be improved if the order were executed as designed. In my observation, it's a very small number of disorganized travelers that create the longest backlogs in an airplane aisle, much like traffic on the highways.
Frequent travelers tend to get settled in their seats much quicker than those fro whom flying is an infrequent experience.

Plus, there's the principle of enabling jerks who can't listen...



The nice thing about a mistake is the pleasure it gives others.
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27106 posts, RR: 60
Reply 25, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18495 times:

Quoting threepoint (Reply 24):
Frequent travelers tend to get settled in their seats much quicker than those fro whom flying is an infrequent experience.

Hmm on the flip side they can also be the most annoying. Some tend to think because they fly all the time they own the aircraft. Taking ages in the aisle to take their jacket off and messing around taking iPads/pens out of their bags. These people really need to have their ipads/pens etc.. out before they board the aircraft so that they just put their bag overhead and quickly get their jacket in too. With these people I don't wait anymore I politely brush past if they are taking too long. Then you have the ones who will jump the front of the priority queue at the gate also but I have learnt how to deal with these too.  


User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4299 posts, RR: 1
Reply 26, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 18357 times:

As a FF, I am not going to be disappointed if I don't get on board first, I prefer to be one of the last people to board. If I am travelling in F or Business, I would prefer that people would board in the order that they are supposed to and not just jump the line. That is what was wrong with the Myth Busters experiment, you did not have people boarding in the wrong order or sitting in the wrong seat and start an argument with when you ask him/her to move. Although, they did try to emulate the most realistic experience that they could. They did not figure in the stupidity of real passengers. The people where all recruited and they knew what the experiment was.


Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlineBraybuddy From Ireland, joined Aug 2004, 5758 posts, RR: 32
Reply 27, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 18341 times:

Ryanair have got it right all along so! They've been claiming for years that unassigned seating gives them the fastest turnaround times.

User currently offlineabrown532 From UK - Northern Ireland, joined Feb 2008, 152 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 17838 times:

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 27):
Ryanair have got it right all along so! They've been claiming for years that unassigned seating gives them the fastest turnaround times.

It does seem that Ryanair have got it right, mainly because it would more suit their low cost business model of fast turnarounds...May not be so relevant for legacy carriers


User currently offlinecschleic From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 17817 times:

Quoting jetMarc (Reply 14):
I personally think TSA needs to be more proactive in the carry-on baggage issue which would significantly assist in boarding. If they can limit the amount and size of liquids, they can also monitor the amount and size of baggage introduced into the sterile area. They need to conform the size of the x-ray scanner to the FAA size requirements for baggage.

No way! They shouldn't have any say in it. Imagine what would happen.

Pre-TSA, security screening often was outsourced by particular airlines in a particular terminal. So there were variations from airport to airport. Baggage sizers often were set by the airline responsible for the security company contract, and....shock of shock...sometimes were set to cause problems for passengers on competing carriers. Since different carriers could have different size rules, and a particular size could vary by type of plane, the airlines should control the size, not TSA. Of course, the airlines should enforce their own rules, too, but that's another matter.


User currently offlineexFWAOONW From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 406 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 16892 times:

Quoting cschleic (Reply 29):
the airlines should enforce their own rules, too, but that's another matter.

It's kinda hard to do that when the gate agent is the only employee to lay eyes on the pax in this brave new world of non-contact pax svc.



Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
User currently offlineUnited1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 6003 posts, RR: 9
Reply 31, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 15717 times:

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 2):
How have customers that travel in groups reacted to this method? Do they board separately even if they travel in the same row, or does UA cater for this?

The boarding process looks something like this:

Elites/Early Boarding
First Zone: Window seats and everyone on their reservation
Second Zone: Middle seats and everyone on their reservation
Third Zone: Aisle and everyone else

That way everyone in your party boards together...if there are different zone numbers on your groups boarding passes you can board with the lowest number.


Quoting rampart (Reply 3):
So have they discontinued it? Or is it modified beyond recognition?

Nope still in place as far as I know.

Quoting cosyr (Reply 22):
On my last dozen or so United flights, there have been so many Elite groups, credit card members and military/small children, that maybe less than half the plane was left for any kind of boarding technique.

On one JFK-SFO PS flight I was on there were about 10 people left in the gate after all the elites boarded... 



Semper Fi - PowerPoint makes us stupid.
User currently onlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13250 posts, RR: 100
Reply 32, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 15558 times:
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I'm amused this 'test' didn't do the 'stagged cattle call.' In my opinion that would work best.

However, F9 doing by those without bags seems wise. Get people just into their seat and not the isle.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 13):
The real problem with how to get people on an aircraft is all the stuff they are bringing on. Many with large carry ons or of large size, want priority to get 1st dibs for the overhead compartment space. That has become especially worse with bag fees being imposed.

The airlines created the economic incentive. People will work hard to avoid paying for a necessity. That is just how we act.

I often fly airlines that allow a bag free and that definitively makes the process much smoother. Not perfect, but not as crazy as on the airlines that charge for every bag.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineHorizonGirl From Canada, joined Mar 2005, 807 posts, RR: 15
Reply 33, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 15142 times:

Quoting threepoint (Reply 16):

This is one of the best posts I've ever read. Gave me a laugh because it's so bang on.

I have seen this video, and I don't believe it reflects real life, as many above have stated. By the time all the real world hassles are dealt with, and several unorganized passengers are introduced into the mix, is it actually fast enough to be worth it?

Would be interesting if they re-did the experiment in a more realistic manner. Maybe add some people to harass the gate agents and some unruly children? And at the end of the day, we'll all still be waiting for the mandatory passenger running through the terminal to arrive 30 seconds before door closure.  


Devon



Flying high on the Wings of the Great Northwest!
User currently offlineJoeCanuck From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 5476 posts, RR: 30
Reply 34, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14593 times:

What they could never duplicate is the real 'everybody out for themselves' mentality of boarding passengers. From the complete inability of some to understand their seating assignments, to the feral need to be the first one in your seat to the territorial guarding the precious overhead space...as long as everybody knows it's not real, no simulation can hope to match the cave man mentality of people boarding a plane.


What the...?
User currently offlinecschleic From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 35, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14394 times:

Quoting lightsaber (Reply 32):
I'm amused this 'test' didn't do the 'stagged cattle call.' In my opinion that would work best.

Exactly. When Southwest tested various methods, IIRC more than once, they concluded the cattle call was the fastest, didn't they? Sure seems to be when I'm on one of their flights. But they also don't charge for checked bags, so probably fewer carry on, too.


User currently offlinebtfarrwm From United States of America, joined May 2011, 58 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 13998 times:

All of this assumes that passenger boarding is the only variable that limits how quickly a plane can leave the gate. What good does it do to have all passengers seated in 15 minutes if they are still waiting for bags/fuel/food to be loaded. Maybe some level of inefficiency in the boarding process is built in to allow time for the other vital functions that have to happen to get planes off the ground...

User currently offlinejetMarc From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 558 posts, RR: 2
Reply 37, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13819 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 18):
Basically, what you are griping about has been caused by the airlines cutting their service to the bone. If they are getting slow turn times because of it, they need to decide which is more valuable.

I actually wasn't griping about anything, sir. I was simply providing my own observation. I work for an airline that doesn't charge for bags, yet passengers still bring tons of baggage. I was more talking about passengers who board but aren't prepared or efficient, and I never said anything about checking coats, so no need to jump down my throat.

What I am saying is that boarding an aircraft is more involved than a simple boarding system. People should be more aware and prepared - I see EVERYDAY tons of people that carry so much stuff that they can barely manage to walk a straight line and down the aisle - THAT is what takes a long time. They have their hands full with a ticket, coffee, iphone, purse, and a huge roll-aboard. They have to dump their cargo and then struggle to cram their over stuffed bag into an overhead bin. Furthermore, I help many passengers with bags, every flight, with the intent of conserving OHB space and ensuring an on-time departure - actually, not help, but physically take the bag and stow it for them, even for grown men. I have been flying for a long time, long before checked baggage fees, and passengers have ALWAYS brought on huge bags, this has nothing to do with the introduction of such fees.



"Sucka, I'm gonna send you out on Knuckle Airlines. Fist Class!!" ~ Mr. T
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21544 posts, RR: 59
Reply 38, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13452 times:

Quoting jetMarc (Reply 37):
I actually wasn't griping about anything, sir. I was simply providing my own observation. I work for an airline that doesn't charge for bags, yet passengers still bring tons of baggage. I was more talking about passengers who board but aren't prepared or efficient, and I never said anything about checking coats, so no need to jump down my throat.

Quote:
"These days, it seems every person owns a roll-aboard, packed to the gills, along with many other bags, a coat, a phone, lunch, and coffee in hand - nobody has enough hands to board quickly and efficiently."
Sure sounds like griping to me. And you mention coats, so what is one to think? You didn't mean that they shouldn't have coats?

Nobody has "enough hands" because:
they have to bring their own food, because airlines stopped offering it, or charge a lot for something bad
nobody is helping them with their bags (F/As used to)
nobody is helping them with their coats (F/As used to), or from another perspective, pax are forced to wear their coats on flights because nobody is offering them blankets (Airlines used to)
nobody is providing anything to drink until sometimes long into the flight, or if there is a delay, nobody is offering beverages (F/As used to)
You forgot to mention the pillows people have to bring now, because airlines often don't offer them and when they do, they are the thinnest, least supportive things you can find.

I'm sorry if we aren't swift enough for you airline employees and get in the way of your efficiency, we aren't simple robot drones and have needs like clothing, warmth, food, drink.

I know that because I got a free checked bag with my credit card on my recent flights my wife and I didn't stuff everything into a carryon, and had we been assured of a decent meal or any meal at all even to purchase, we wouldn't have had to bring our own food. Had the airline still offered blankets and pillows, we wouldn't have had to bring our own pillows and could have put our coats into our carryons instead of using them as blankets. But alas, this is the airline business now.

It's been created by the airlines, and just because your airline might still offer some of these things, it doesn't mean that all your pax are aware that you do so they prepare for the worst. Airlines have created this situation. They now make us prepare for ALL eventualities, expect the worst, and see travel as a chore, not an adventure.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineOC2DC From United States of America, joined Feb 2013, 393 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 13289 times:

I'm sorry, but I would much rather take longer to get to my assigned seat than be shoved onto a Southwest flight. You can keep your cattle car....

Also, I wonder if their results would have changed had they boarded all the tiers of frequent fliers like they do in real life.



I'm not complaining, I'm critiquing...
User currently offlinelhcabincrew From Germany, joined Nov 2011, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 40, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11332 times:

hey @ all!


this discussion turned out to be very interesting for me. i work for a legacy carrier on long haul flights. boarding an aircraft takes some time, yes. but as mentioned before every passenger is an individual. ff's, families, groups, business flyers, leisure flyers, etc... it is hard to randomize them all to the typical passenger. boarding from rear to front works well on long haul aircraft. the worst that can happen on a wide-body is passengers not listening to the cabin crew that will guide them into the correct aisle. i also spotted the problem of too many carry-ons. that however is another problem that the ground agents have to deal with. once aboard, the only thing we can do, is to re-check the luggage in the cargo compartment which takes a longer time than stuffing them into the overhead bins. a good example of efficient boarding is HKG, where people are standing in lines before boarding. there is no crowd right in front of the gate agent and passengers are being checked if they stand right. if not, they re being asked to leave the line and go to the assigned place. with outsourcing a lot of former airline employees the foreign employees sometimes do not obey the airline rules itself. if i could chose a boarding system i would more or less chose the HKG method at every airport.

thank you, for your attention and we wish you a very pleasant flight...


User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1579 posts, RR: 4
Reply 41, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11308 times:

Quoting btfarrwm (Reply 36):
All of this assumes that passenger boarding is the only variable that limits how quickly a plane can leave the gate. What good does it do to have all passengers seated in 15 minutes if they are still waiting for bags/fuel/food to be loaded.

With the exception of an irregular situation (such as the fueler arriving late to the gate or a bag arriving late from screening or off another flight), none of those functions should take anywhere near as long as it takes to get the people off the inbound flight, then the outbound passengers boarded if the flight is anywhere near full. Bags don't argue, so it's easy to load them in quickly. Catering is done with carts: take the old ones off, put new ones in, done. Fueling, well, hook pump to fuel source and plane, fill, go.

On the other hand, passengers dawdle, quibble over whether or not their bag will fit in the overhead, stop to get things out of their bag, have to climb around each other because they don't listen to the order they've been called to board in, etc etc etc.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlineCXfirst From Norway, joined Jan 2007, 3075 posts, RR: 1
Reply 42, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 8734 times:

Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 27):
Ryanair have got it right all along so! They've been claiming for years that unassigned seating gives them the fastest turnaround times.

Here is an idea. What if Ryanair purposely overbooks flights be a couple passengers, and lets the passengers know it. Now, they let them board, and because people will know that there is a risk they might be the ones left behind, they will be at the gate early, eager to board and grab the first seat they find, even if it is a middle, don't take a risk looking for that window seat! Imagine the chaos!  

Anyway, the result in the video for unassigned seats is a bit off in my opinion. Passengers seemed to go and simply find a seat, while in reality there would be passengers hoping to get window, or sit directly in aisle and have others need to cross them to get to other seats, plus there would be families and groups looking for seats together. The problem in the test is that those passengers didn't face the prospect of sitting in that same seat for many hours.

-CXfirst



From Norway, live in Australia
User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 43, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 7853 times:

Quoting United1 (Reply 31):
Nope still in place as far as I know.

Well, it's not working, or it's ignored, or...

Quoting United1 (Reply 31):
On one JFK-SFO PS flight I was on there were about 10 people left in the gate after all the elites boarded... 

THAT'S the problem. Your airline is not following WILMA because of the elites.

-Rampart


User currently offlineusa330300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2009, 73 posts, RR: 0
Reply 44, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 7605 times:

These "Mythbusters" are a couple of pot smoking remnants of the '60's. Would not take anything they say with any seriousness.

User currently offlineYYZYYT From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 969 posts, RR: 0
Reply 45, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 7026 times:

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 34):
What they could never duplicate is the real 'everybody out for themselves' mentality of boarding passengers. From the complete inability of some to understand their seating assignments, to the feral need to be the first one in your seat to the territorial guarding the precious overhead space...as long as everybody knows it's not real, no simulation can hope to match the cave man mentality of people boarding a plane

I know how to better emulate the real mentality at boarding time: tell the subjects that the first 50% seated will receive $20 each... that should create some pushing/anxiety/attmepted cue jumping.


User currently offlinecschleic From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 46, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 6772 times:

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 42):
Anyway, the result in the video for unassigned seats is a bit off in my opinion. Passengers seemed to go and simply find a seat, while in reality there would be passengers hoping to get window, or sit directly in aisle and have others need to cross them to get to other seats, plus there would be families and groups looking for seats together. The problem in the test is that those passengers didn't face the prospect of sitting in that same seat for many hours.

I don't know. On all the Southwest flights I've flown, it seems the front aisles are filled first....but these probably are A levels. Then people tend to go for aisles or windows as they work their way back. A number of people seem to go straight for the back, for whatever reason. Then people tend to take what's available. I don't recall seeing a lot of people trying to go "upstream" to get a certain kind of seat. But I've never been on a trans-con WN flight. Only two hours at most, so that might make a difference.


User currently offlineaklrno From United States of America, joined Dec 2010, 950 posts, RR: 0
Reply 47, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6500 times:

Quoting cschleic (Reply 46):
I don't know. On all the Southwest flights I've flown, it seems the front aisles are filled first....but these probably are A levels. Then people tend to go for aisles or windows as they work their way back. A number of people seem to go straight for the back, for whatever reason. Then people tend to take what's available. I don't recall seeing a lot of people trying to go "upstream" to get a certain kind of seat. But I've never been on a trans-con WN flight. Only two hours at most, so that might make a difference.

I've also noticed that a lot of people go right to the back. A mystery to me unless they need to be close to the lav. Frequently its kids who want to go to the back. I wonder if it's a habit picked up from school buses where kids like to sit as far away from the driver as possible so they can make more noise and/or trouble? Many others head for the middle to get the exit row seats. Some people just keep moving back until they find the right number of seats together, or the window or aisle they want, or some overhead space.

I am still amazed by people who denigrate the WN boarding system (cattle call, cattle car, whatever). Of all the airlines I fly on, WN boarding is by far the least stressful, most orderly, most relaxing. You can stay seated until seconds before you board if you want. I get a seat I like most of the time. There is no pushing people out of the way, no one standing in your way, and the whole process is quick. They can't do 15 minutes turns very often these days, but 20 minutes is possible.

How do people who require reserved seats ever handle a bus, subway, lecture hall, or movie theater? The average WN flight is shorter than the average movie these days.

When I am standing in line, I hold my boarding pass so the number is visible. Most others do as well. We just get into numerical order. Usually no one cares if the line is mis-ordered by one or two.


User currently onlinelightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13250 posts, RR: 100
Reply 48, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6174 times:
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I'm surprised they didn't go into people who have a seat and must go to the back to find over-head bin space and then swim against the tide.

I'd also like to compare with B6 at LGB who loads front and back. However, the loading time seems to take a while.... (I'll have to time it sometime.)

Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
How do people who require reserved seats ever handle a bus, subway, lecture hall, or movie theater? The average WN flight is shorter than the average movie these days.

   Now that is a phrase I'll remember.  
Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
I wonder if it's a habit picked up from school buses where kids like to sit as far away from the driver as possible so they can make more noise and/or trouble?

   It also has to do with frequent fliers wanting the front to *exit the flight!* If there is no rush, it is often less hectic back there as people will check and re-check every over-head bin for space on the way to the back.


Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21544 posts, RR: 59
Reply 49, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 6141 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
How do people who require reserved seats ever handle a bus, subway, lecture hall, or movie theater? The average WN flight is shorter than the average movie these days.

Both theaters that we attend in town have assigned seats. It's a better experience there, too. If you know in advance where seats are available, you can decide for yourself which is more important: the best viewing experience or seeing the movie now v. later.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently onlinePDX88 From United States of America, joined Mar 2012, 180 posts, RR: 0
Reply 50, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 5976 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
Of all the airlines I fly on, WN boarding is by far the least stressful, most orderly, most relaxing

All those descriptions, in my opinion, are exactly NOT what WN's boarding system is like. Having to check in as early as possible, board as early as possible, and get seated as early as possible are very stressful, disorderly, and unrelaxing.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
How do people who require reserved seats ever handle a bus, subway, lecture hall, or movie theater? The average WN flight is shorter than the average movie these days.

I hate all of those. Who enjoys standing at the bottom of a packed theater scouring for seats? I would far prefer to be guaranteed what I desire, not having to wing it last minute.


User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1579 posts, RR: 4
Reply 51, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 5849 times:

Quoting usa330300 (Reply 44):
These "Mythbusters" are a couple of pot smoking remnants of the '60's. Would not take anything they say with any seriousness.

Have you ever WATCHED Mythbusters?



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlineN766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8309 posts, RR: 23
Reply 52, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 5620 times:

Quoting usa330300 (Reply 44):
These "Mythbusters" are a couple of pot smoking remnants of the '60's. Would not take anything they say with any seriousness.

LOL what a coincidence, I can't take anything you say seriously either!

Pretty sure Jamie and Adam were like... 2... in the 60's.



This Website Censors Me
User currently offlinerampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3147 posts, RR: 6
Reply 53, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5284 times:

Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
I've also noticed that a lot of people go right to the back. A mystery to me unless they need to be close to the lav. Frequently its kids who want to go to the back. I wonder if it's a habit picked up from school buses where kids like to sit as far away from the driver as possible so they can make more noise and/or trouble? Many others head for the middle to get the exit row seats. Some people just keep moving back until they find the right number of seats together, or the window or aisle they want, or some overhead space.

For me, it's a habit for a couple reasons. Once, I read that the rear of the plane was safer in a crash. Don't confuse me with the facts, I just do it. Second, I find the window seats have a better chance of a view back there, not blocked by a wing.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 47):
I am still amazed by people who denigrate the WN boarding system (cattle call, cattle car, whatever). Of all the airlines I fly on, WN boarding is by far the least stressful, most orderly, most relaxing.

The couple times I've used WN recently, the boarding method was not that bad... if I had an "A" card. However, I blame WN for the widespread uncivilized behavior at gates for any airline. WAIT, let me explain. Before WN was commonly available across the country, more a regional airline, not many people had experience with "cattle call" boarding, so didn't try it with other airlines. For reasons I can't fathom, once it became a more widespread habit, people flying on airlines other than WN began queueing up long before needed and jostling for first place in order to get to their assigned seats. Makes no sense, but I saw it spread across the country following WN's spread. So, don't really blame WN, but blame stupid passengers who flew WN.

-Rampart


User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5271 posts, RR: 1
Reply 54, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5090 times:

Any sort of boarding algorithm goes out the window with a lot of FFs. I was once on an AA flight from ORD to DFW. You can imagine how many elites there where at all three levels. Exec. Plat. and Plat passengers were probably 25% of those boarding after first class and military people in uniform. I bet Gold passengers were about 50% of coach. That left about 30 people waiting, while the elites boarded.

User currently offlinevegas005 From Switzerland, joined Mar 2005, 322 posts, RR: 0
Reply 55, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4856 times:

As an elite status on a number of alliances I had the displeasure to use Southwest on a SFO-LAS leg last week. Cattle call would be an understatement. From the ass who checked me in to the CAS (formally TAS) security line which took 40 minutes to the pesants pushing and shoving lin line, I doubt I will try them again. Mythbusters does have the process correct in a perfect world, but with so many families needing pre-boarding, handicapped folks, military, elites etc their system is just not feasible. Long live Star Alliance and my gold or higher card!

User currently offlinenycdave From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 547 posts, RR: 1
Reply 56, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4733 times:

Should have introduced some elements to provide a better simulation...

Offer the "gate agent" $100 prize... which goes down by $5 for each minute spent boarding. That'll ensure they don't try to enforce too hard!

... Which they'd have to, when you tell the test subjects that one seat in each group is elligible to get a big cash prize -- but only the first of them to be seated will win it. That'll make sure there's plenty of people ignoring the "board by group".

And of course, give everyone a nice fat carryon!


User currently offlinebond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5428 posts, RR: 8
Reply 57, posted (1 year 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4274 times:

Quoting PDX88 (Reply 50):
All those descriptions, in my opinion, are exactly NOT what WN's boarding system is like. Having to check in as early as possible, board as early as possible, and get seated as early as possible are very stressful, disorderly, and unrelaxing.

The only one true is checking in early, if you are not A-list, or early bird ... hardly stressful!

Once you are checked in, that's it - just line up in a orderly fashion. This simply MUST be better than crowding around the gate waiting for Zone 1 to be called, and then the 75 pax in zone 1 (and most of Zones 2 and 3!) all trying to get to the front of the line.

Quoting vegas005 (Reply 55):
to the pesants pushing and shoving lin line, I doubt I will try them again.

You mean they were shoving more than the Zone 1 folks at US/UA/DL etc?

I fly around 150 times/yr on various airlines, including WN, and their boarding process is by far the most orderly, even though I am elite on many of the others and get earyl zones .... now that's a cattle call.

BTW, not quite sure why the term 'Cattle Call' is still used for WN boarding. It's the only airline where you line up in a sequence, and there is really no argument where you are in priority and sequence. To be honest, my last US flight was nothing but half the flight pushing into a single line to board ... I ended up boarding with Zone 2/3 folks even though I had a Zone 1 pass.


These studies are all well and good, but as long as you have groups that board out of sequence, and 5-10% of pax who stand in the aisle, walk upstream, and take 5 minutes to stow their bags, it matters little.


Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
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