eJMT Abstract

Title QuickBoard: the Airplane Boarding Problem
Author James INMAN, Kevin JONES and Kevin THOMPSON
Volume 1
Number 2

Central to turn around time for a plane (the time required to successfully land and then to take off) is passenger boarding time. Due to ever increasing plane sizes, effective procedures must be developed to minimize the time required for all passengers to board. Current boarding procedures include back-to-front, reverse pyramid, block style, outside-to-inside, and random. Among these, the most distinct seem to be back-to-front, outside-to-inside, and random procedures. The purpose of this report is to examine whether there is a significant difference on the mean boarding times of three different size planes using these three specific procedures.

Our approach is to:

  • Develop a computer program, henceforth to be referred to as QuickBoard, to effectively simulate the boarding of small, mid-size, and large passenger planes.
  • Produce 50 data values for each boarding procedure for each size plane using QuickBoard to be used to perform a statistical analysis (Analysis of Variance) to compare the mean boarding times for each boarding procedure per plane.
Our analysis supports the hypothesis that for small planes and midsize planes, the random procedure works the most efficiently; whereas, for the large size plane, the outside-in procedure works the most efficiently. This provides evidence that there is a need for a more structured boarding procedure as the plane sizes increase. Keep in mind, however, there is a delicate balance between passenger satisfaction and airline profit; over strenuous procedures can turn customers away from an airline.

Based upon the conclusions of this study, we highly recommend fading out the use of the standard back-to-front boarding procedure and suggest the implementation of a less structured boarding procedure.