Thinking Differently About Boarding a Plane

If there’s a better way to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, then there must be a better way arrange the boarding process for airplanes.  I travel often and the only thing I consistently see in the boarding process of various airlines is inconsistency.  Some board from the back of the plane, and some start from the front.  Some board by frequent flyer numbers and premium purchases, while others board through a first-come-first-served basis.  There is no rhyme or reason to the madness, and the result is long lines, impatient passengers, and crowded aisles.

However, thanks to a little critical thinking, Dr. Jason Steffen decoded the mystery of a seamless boarding process.  This is problem solving at its finest.  With Dr. Steffen’s boarding plan, passengers with window seats board first (which makes complete sense because those passengers won’t have to wait for the passengers in the middle and aisle seats to stand up and make room for the window-seat passenger to slide past them to be seated).  These window-seat passengers are boarded by alternating rows which allows plenty of space for each passenger to stand in the aisle while placing luggage in the overhead bin.

This process then continues with the alternative rows and then the process starts over with middle and aisle seats.

It’s almost too easy, right?  This simple process adjustment could cut the boarding time for airplanes in half!

Watch the video below to see the graceful dance of passengers using Dr. Steffen’s boarding process.  Kudos to you, sir!  You get the Now You’re Thinking! award of the week!  While you’re thinking critically, can you help optimize the security screening process too?

(image source)


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