Airline passengers could see their boarding times cut by up to 10% if a new trial at a major UK airport is successful.
Waiting for someone in row three to cram their bags into overhead storage, squeezing past someone in the aisle seat to reach your window seat — these are just some of the awkward realities of modern aircraft travel.
But a new trial at Gatwick, the UK’s second-largest airport, could change this.
As part of a two-month experiment that started last week, the airport said Wednesday that it is working with budget airline easyJet to test different boarding sequences.
The hope is to make the boarding process quicker and less stressful for passengers, with a statement from Gatwick suggesting that the new techniques could cut boarding times by as much as 10%.
The trial includes boarding people from the back row to the front, with window seat passengers boarding first, followed by middle and then aisle seats.
Digital screens placed at the airport’s gate 101, where the trial is taking place, also show passengers how to board.
A Gatwick spokesperson told CNN that in the first week of the trial a flight of 158 passengers boarded in 14 minutes — two to three minutes faster than normal.
The spokesperson said passengers enjoyed the new boarding system, calling it “bingo boarding.”
Passengers with priority bookings, those who require special assistance and those traveling with young families would still be allowed to take their seats first under the new system.
Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation at Gatwick, said in a statement: “Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time.
“By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”
An easyJet spokesperson told CNN that a “small number” of easyJet flights will be taking part in the trial, adding: “This isn’t something we are looking to implement across our network but will work with Gatwick to study the results of their trial when it closes.”