Imagine being in the first few rows of economy but not getting up when the boarding door opens because you are seated in a window seat. All over the world, passengers de-plane aisle, then middle, then window row-by-row, but what if everyone in the aisles de-planed first? Vox reports on a Northwestern study that says it would speed up the process for all passengers, regardless of your location.

Initially, it might feel weird to wait this way, but it has a key advantage over the conventional method. Currently, each person moves towards the exit as soon as they physically can — a decision that makes sense for them in isolation, but slows down everyone behind them because they often end up blocking the whole line as they get their bag down. The only real efficient use of the aisle and overhead bins comes right when the plane first parks, and all the aisle seat passengers are able to get their bags down at once without blocking others. This deboarding method would replicate this stage for the whole process. All middle and window seat passengers would similarly have a minute in the aisle to pull their bags down without blocking people behind them. At any given moment, use of the aisle space and overhead bins would be maximized, and the line would be blocked for a much smaller amount of time.

Why don’t we at least test this method? What are the disadvantages? Check out this Vox article and thanks to Juan over there for sharing with our readers. The de-planing process would be the exact opposite of the proposed boarding process in the video below.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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ptahcha February 12, 2015 - 11:05 am

Except when you are traveling with the person sitting next to you. What happens then?

Adam February 12, 2015 - 11:07 am

@ptahcha – Very good point, that would be awkward and inconvenient

Fred February 12, 2015 - 11:06 am

How’s that work if you travel with a family?? only one of you can leave and next…then next????
I guess they only think of only for individual travelers. NOT for more then one in a family or friends.

Miles February 12, 2015 - 11:15 am

This aisle-first method is likely to work best if everyone on board is single and able to remove their carry-ons from the overhead bin unassisted.

In the real world, many couples and families travel. Frequently, Dad has the aisle seat and he helps Mom and the kids to stow their carry-ons in the overhead bins. Upon arrival at the destination airport, he locates their roll-aboards and gets them down.

With this new scheme, when Dad gets off the plane first, Mom and the kids will have to depend upon other pax to help them find and retrieve their bags.

I don’t see how this will be faster than the present ad hoc method of de-boarding.

Mary M February 12, 2015 - 11:17 am

Or it would change the way that groups pick seats. Maybe 2 friends traveling together would sit across the aisle from each other; larger families or groups sitting behind each other. Much harder to interact on the flight, though.

DaninMCI February 12, 2015 - 11:43 am

Just like the Mythbuster’s show on boarding a plane. But none of it matters since we aren’t robots. We travel with kids, friends, business partners, old people, young people, dogs, etc. People will never do it right just like they can’t line up right at the gate to board the plane.

Everybody Hates A Tourist February 12, 2015 - 11:44 am

I get the logic behind this, but as someone who tries to pick window seats & rarely puts a bag in the overhead bin, I would find it incredibly frustrating to be stuck sitting there when I had everything ready to go.

Lynn February 12, 2015 - 12:55 pm

These studies never account for what I call the idiot factor. If people were prompt & efficient, everything would move much quicker regardless of how you board/exit a plane. You always have the jerk holding up the whole plane so he can put something in or out of his bag, the person that can’t carry their luggage & so on.

Same thing goes for security – last time I was there there was a person that was surprised that they had to take off their shoes. It’s like when is the last time you have flown? Then you have the people that don’t push their bins down & hold up the whole line behind them because nobody else can get set up to go through.

David February 12, 2015 - 3:22 pm

I wonder how much money was allocated to a study that has ZERO real world implications. Of course that’s a little bit faster. And totally unrealistic and unworkable for the various reasons mentioned above. I sure hope money for this study wasn’t taken away from something like cancer research!! LOL


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