Math Nerds Figure Out a Way to Make Air Travel a Bit More Pleasant!

by robekulick

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”).