Gatwick Airport Is Trialling A New System To Reduce Queuing Time
Gatwick Airport has teamed up with Easyjet to trial a new boarding system it hopes will reduce queueing time for air bound passengers at the gate.
If the trial is successful, you will soon forget that really irritating wait when someone is taking an age to put their bag in the aeroplane's overhead locker, blocking the path to your seat.
The new system has been dubbed by some passengers "bingo boarding" and will work by flashing numbers on a screen, confirming who is next to board. Of course these numbers aren't randomly pulled like Bingo, the boarding plan is done by asking those in back row window seats to board first, followed by those with middle seats and then the aisle seats, before calling forward the next rows.
Gatwick hopes the method will reduce boarding time down by 10% and prevent delayed departures and it means you don't have to leave your seat to join the queue until the board says to. In fact, you will be expected to remain seated until the digital display tells you otherwise.
We wonder whether those annoying keenos you alway get at departures will be able to handle the not queueing?
Naturally, the first flaw we thought of is what happens if you have children? Well, Gatwick has thought of that too.
When families are coming aboard, they can opt to be seated as a row, rather than individually. Naturally this will slow things down a bit, so this new system will likely benefit those flights made up of solo travellers (predominantly business flights) most in terms of speed.
And of course, those who booked speedy boarding or require assistance will continue to be boarded first. Likewise, if you miss your boarding slot, you will board last.
But it's not all about time saved, the system hopes to make the overall experience more relaxing.
The two month trial is already underway with Easyjet at just one gate at Gatwick, 101, which has large digital screens in place and staff who are showing people how to use the new system.
Early experiments show on a 158 passenger plane, the boarding process takes three minutes less than usual, but a range of methods will be considered, including flexible plans to adapt to the different make-up of passengers on each flight.
The airport said in a statement: "A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage."
Once the trial period is over, the airport will decide whether to take it forwards.
Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport said: "We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.
"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."
A spokesman for Gatwick Airport told the BBC: "One challenge in any controlled boarding process is our ability to communicate the pattern to passengers and the willingness of passengers to comply.
"It is almost impossible to do that effectively through audio announcements. Some even appear to enjoy it and are calling it 'bingo boarding'."
We like the sound of that. And seeing as people queuing for no reason makes us irrationally irritated, we're on board with this one.
Featured Image Credit: Mike McBey/Flickr