We’ve all been there. We queue up to board our plane at the gate, wait for a few people to be turned back because their row number hasn’t been called and queue again getting onto the plane itself, waiting for passengers to have their ticket checked and then wrestle with their bags getting them into the overhead lockers.
It’s probably the most tedious aspect of air travel.
But there’s a chance our prayers will all be answered and the boarding process could soon become a whole lot easier, and we can owe it all to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The reasoning? As Escape says, the current social-distancing measures being put in place by Governments require us to stand at least 1.5-metres away from other people. As we all know, we’re lucky if we’re afforded space the size of a newt’s genitals when waiting to get to our aeroplane seat.
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But social-distancing means something has to be done about the boarding process, as currently people are boarded by class or if they’ve paid extra for priority boarding. These people most commonly sit at the front of the plane and watch the
peasants remainder of the passengers come by in search of their seats. Not exactly distant.
Delta Airlines has been one of the first to adopt a new boarding method, where passengers in the back rows are seated before anyone else. However, Fox News adds those who need to board first such as people with disabilities can enter the plane before others, and Club members and anyone with First Class tickets can still get to their seats before others if they choose to.
But astrophysicist Dr Jason Steffen believes there’s an even quicker way for passengers to board a plane and one that can keep people distant from each other in the process (until they reach their seat, of course).
Way back in 2008, he found that seating passengers by individual seat number was the quickest: for example, seating even-numbered seats 20A, 18A, 16A on one side of a plane first, and then doing the same on the opposite side, before seating odd-numbered seats.
In practice, it should be much quicker than the current block-method (which has been found to be the slowest of any method) but Stefflen’s method was carried out under controlled conditions, and getting the co-operation of tired passengers will be more difficult in reality.
In response to airlines not choosing to go with his method, Stefflen told the ABC in 2008, “My advice to airlines would be: aeroplane’s open, everyone jump aboard,”