How one boards a plane is different from how one would like to board the aircraft! Personally, I find the whole process dull and annoying, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that I can do to control the situation except remind everyone that the whole plane is going the same place and not to put those darn puffy coats in the overheads! I do have a plan though….
I have watched the chaos happen for over a decade now and ask all airlines to please end the madness. Let’s discuss the different ways and see what you think!
Although the boarding procedure on some airlines is supposed to be back to front, I have a hard time believing that it’s truly done that way. I pay attention , and no matter what aircraft I am flying on there is always a traffic jam. Someone in 17B is waiting for 10B to get up so that 10A can stow their bag before moving into the window seat. What’s most amusing is when the aisle seat passenger has fastened their seatbelt and mid paragraph in their book, acts almost perturbed that they have to get up and allow the other person to sit down.
What if the procedure known as the Wilma method were used by more airlines? Already in use by airlines such as, Ted and United, the Wilma method boards the window seats first, then the middle and finally the aisle seats. That takes care of the “but, I’m already settled aisle passenger’s” inconvenience, however, what if it’s a couple traveling together? Do they still have to board separately? And, I am still not convinced that the problems will be ended since the window at 20 could be waiting for the window seat passenger at 10 to get out of the aisle!
What is your position on random seating? It may feel like a cattle call, however, isn’t it like that no matter how you direct a lot of people into one place?
Imagine if you could board first if you wouldn’t mind sitting in the back. Most people find it almost like a punishment to sit in the back but I kind of like it. Sure, it’s annoying if you have a tight connection but think of the good things. You get on first, which means that you are pretty much guaranteed space for your bag! Plus, a lot of the time, the flight attendants hang out back there between before and after the service so if you need anything, you are close to the source. Plus, the bathroom is usually back there so you get first dibs. It’s all how you think about it.
Let’s try it. The gate agent says that they will begin boarding with those passengers that would like to sit in the back first. Passengers get in line and board. Then another group and then another. Of course, what happens if a passenger said sure, I’ll sit in the back and then tries to sit in the front when they get onboard. That’s where the flight attendants would need to assist in the passengers honesty system!
I really think that desire to make more money for checking luggage inhibits the possibility of quicker boarding. Business Insider dot com claims that it costs the airlines $30 per minute for every minute that they stay at the gate and that it takes 2 minutes longer to board back to front versus the random boarding method due to the amount of bags brought on the aircraft. If you take into consideration that they can make at least $25 per person, an aircraft that holds only 76 passengers at one bag per passenger equals $1900! Who cares about a lousy $60, right?
What are ways that you can personally get into your seat faster?
First, be ready to board as soon as boarding begins. Have all of your things together and compacted as much as possible. I will be the first to admit that I don’t like to check bags at all. Just more to carry, more to worry about losing and more time waiting for it to arrive to baggage claim if it ever comes at all. Therefor, I carry a medium size bag that will fit nicely under the seat in front of me if necessary but also in the overhead bins. See the packing tab for more on what to bring on a trip. I make sure to have a magazine or book, my computer and headset and any medicine that I may need during the flight easily accessible or preferably in my arm.
When I get on board, I place my in-flight items on my seat and put my larger bag into the overhead bin. As you are walking to your seat, pay attention to see if the bins farther back to your seat are closed. If they are closed, they are full. Don’t waste time opening them. Place your bag into the bin closest to your seat that is still open and NOT in one that is in the front if there are people behind you. What this does, aside from being incredible rude, is make the person seated in front of you have to fight to get back to their bag before getting of the aircraft when they have to go back farther to find bin space. It also slows down the boarding procedure because then they have to move back forward to their seat. What if they have a tight connection upon arrival? Remember, Karma never forgets wether you believe in Karma or not. You can call it what you will but it will bite you later and you may be in that situation next time!
After you have placed one bag in the overhead, the other one goes under the seat in front of you. If everyone did this, then more people wouldn’t be stuck gate checking their bags and these days, if you are not in the back of the place, there’s a greater chance that will be you. If you wanted to check your bag in the first place but didn’t want to pay the fee, this is a great way around that. Gate checking a bag is free!
If you have a coat or smaller bag that won’t fit under the seat, wait for a flight attendant to come by and ask if there’s any room in the overheads. There is usually room for the small stuff.
I have one last idea on this subject. Imagine that you are standing in front of your seat 14A. No one is at that row yet and there is still overhead space right there. If you step into the row so that someone can squeeze past you, it will help speed up the process. No one expects, or should expect, you to move completely out of the way, but enough room to slip by would be appreciated. I thank you!