Boarding Passengers into Airplanes

This might be an interesting conversation starter for a class: what’s the best way to board an airplane?

The students will probably have lots of ideas to discuss, and best of all, every single one of them will be better than what the airlines actually do.

6 thoughts on “Boarding Passengers into Airplanes

  1. Pingback: Open ended problem: Boarding passengers onto planes | Math Thinking

    1. Riley Lark Post author

      Sorry Chris, every link on the first page of results for that search refers to the same simulations Megan points out, which show that even random boarding (“All Aboard!”) would be better than back-to-front zone boarding. Will you please point more directly to a source for us?

      Reply
      1. Chris D

        http://www.maa.org/devlin/devlin_05_06.html finds “Analysis of AIrplane Boarding Times”: http://www.cs.bgu.ac.il/~ebachmat/managesubmit.pdf

        From the 9th Swiss Transport Research Conference: http://www.strc.ch/conferences/2009/Steiner.pdf

        CNN and NYT had articles about it when Steffen’s process came out: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/01/travel/efficient-boarding-cnngo and http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/business/airlines-are-trying-to-cut-boarding-times-on-planes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        “An aircraft boarding model accounting for passengers’ individual properties”: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0968090X11001574

        “A Tale of Two Aisles”, an overview of boarding algorithms: http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~eherbst/projects/boom07/mcm07/

        Anyway, it’s a great problem for students to think about. My point is that this is an active area of research, and airlines are not just going “herp derp” and hoping for the best.

        Reply

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