Loading Planes. With Science. You Monster.

I’m sure GLaDOS would be proud with the science that has been done by Jason Steffan and his new loading methodology which allegedly cuts loading time of a 757 with 72 passengers from 6 minutes 54 seconds to 3 minutes and 36 seconds.

He proposes a method of loading where  boarding in alternate rows, window seats first, progressing from the rear forward: seats 12A, for example, followed by 10A, 8A and so on, then returning for 9A, 7A, 5A and so on, and then filling the middle and aisle seats in the same way, arguing the approach avoids a situation in which passengers are struggling to use the same physical space at the same time

Jason’s paper is at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969699708000239 with the BBC providing a non scientific version.

Now whilst this is all well and good in the lab and with a semi controlled group, there are three little things.

One: People aren’t lab rats and will ignore most instructions that are given. Have a look at any gate area in the world to see if people pay attention to boarding instructions. Chances are, they’ll ignore every announcement unless you have a gate controller who is managing each person.

Two: Whilst 3 minutes and 36 seconds with 72 people sounds good, a random free for all load took… 4 minutes and 44 seconds. Not so bad.

Three: Who’s heard of a normal airline loading only 72 passengers on a plane? Add a 100 to that (172) and we’re nearer a normal load factor.

Oh well. Look at me still talking when there’s science to do. Maybe we should be thinking with Portalsfor loading planes. But would there be cake? Or is the cake a lie?