Herding Passengers Like Cattle

by Nancy Bestor

airportIn the past two months, I’ve flown four times, and on each flight I was assigned boarding group “four.” In every case, my seat was in the rear of the plane. Also in each case, those seated in the front rows of the plane boarded first. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that airplanes should be boarding from the rear forward, so passengers in rows 20+ can get on before passengers in rows 10-20. While there was plenty of overhead space around me, as few people in my area had yet boarded, I found myself waiting in line at the front of the plane for the 10-20 row passengers to get situated and get their bags into the overhead compartment. Not surprisingly, this caused a big backup and thus took longer for all passengers to board the plane.

Airlines are huge multi-billion dollar businesses. Surely they must have conducted studies of the quickest boarding methods. My online research however, shows that the boarding procedure used by most airlines today is the least efficient method of boarding. I ask myself “how hard is it really for a huge corporation to try a more effective method of boarding, that will get more planes out of the gate on time?” Apparently, pretty hard.