Math Nerds Figure Out a Way to Make Air Travel a Bit More Pleasant!
Today I came across this paper comparing airplane board methods by a physicist at Fermilabs:
Here is the abstract:
"We report the results of an experimental comparison of different airplane boarding methods. This test was conducted in a mock 757 fuselage, located on a Southern California soundstage, with 12 rows of six seats and a single aisle. Five methods were tested using 72 passengers of various ages. We found a signiﬁcant reduction in the boarding times of optimized methods over traditional methods. These improved methods, if properly implemented, could result in a signiﬁcant savings to airline companies."
The authors find that the “Steffens Methods” is the most efficient way to board an airplane:
"The Steffens method, on the other hand, orders the passengers in such a way that adjacent passengers in line are sitting in corresponding seats two rows apart from each other (e.g., 12A, 10A, 8A, 6A, etc.). This method trades a small number of aisle interferences at the front of the cabin, for the beneﬁt of having multiple passengers stowing their luggage simultaneously"
Back-to-front boarding and block boarding, the boarding methods implemented most often, were found to be the worst methods for boarding an airplane.
Very cool stuff (and yes this is definitely a flagrant abuse of the general meaning of the word “cool”).