Optimal Way for Airplane Boarding

A few years ago, Fermilab astrophysicist Jason Steffen observed while flying to a conference and got to thinking: is there a more efficient way for passengers to board an airplane?

Turns out, the answer is yes. If you’ve ever boarded an airplane where the people were asked to board by “zones” or by row numbers, you know how much of a logjam that ensues. It turns out that random boarding is better (faster) than zone boarding. But is there an even better way?

Jason Steffen with the answer. He set up a model using an algorithm based on the Monte Carlo optimization method used in statistics and mathematics. Turns out, the most efficient boarding method is to board alternate rows at a time, beginning with the window seats on one side, then the other, minimizing aisle interference.

You can see a video of this boarding process below:


Now, all you have to do is petition your friendly airline to implement this method for boarding.


(via CNET)

One thought on “Optimal Way for Airplane Boarding

  1. Great idea, problem though, is that even if the airline had such a brilliant plan, people following the plan is different! As mentioned on the video – science can’t cure stupidity!

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