Leading US carrier American Airlines has changed its boarding procedures. The airline has put a new boarding process in place; doing away with the practice of boarding passengers from the back to the front of the plane.
Calling the new procedure as ‘random’ seating method, the airline said that the new boarding process will significantly save time. According to an official of American Airlines, the ‘random’ seating procedure is aimed at minimizing the gridlock occurring among passengers in the same row vying with each other to get their seats simultaneously.
According to the new boarding procedure, the First Class and Business Class passengers and other travelers having priority seating facilities first board the flight. After this, the coach passengers are made to board the flight in the order they had checked in, irrespective of where they have to be seated.
Scott Santoro, American Airlines reservations Director of Airport Consulting, rued the fact that it isn’t possible at all for all the 24 people to be seated in four rows boarding the flight at the same time. He cited studies saying that the random seating procedure significantly reduces boarding times five to 10 percent.
On the other hand, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants have expressed their happiness and shown disagreement over the new boarding procedure. Their contention being that the attendants are now forced to spend more time to prepare the plane for takeoff because the process has created a ‘complete chaos’ among the passengers. Besides, they also said that they are not paid for putting in their extra time required for the plane to be loaded.
The issue of the fastest way to load a plane is already raging for about a decade. The Journal of Transport Management published a study in 2008 citing that the airlines spending less time in boarding passengers have high chances of generating more revenue by squeezing in more flights into a day. The study indicated that US$30 per flight can be saved with every minute cut on boarding passengers.