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Boarding by seat row

Old 20th Nov 2022, 12:12
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Boarding by seat row

I recently flew out of Bristol on SleazyJet. It was raining heavily and blowing a gale. For some reason there was only one set of steps at the front. They boarded "Speedy Boarding" passengers first and they generally sit up front. Then started boarding all the rest of us, resulting in most of us getting soaked through standing on the apron or stairs while the first people on board stood around getting their bags in the overhead lockers etc.
I get why Speedy Boarding were boarded first - they paid for it, but why not board the rest by seat row to minimise the time in the rain?
When I was a despatcher (1980s) we used to board by seat row (30-27, 26-24 etc ) so the people with seats down the back didn't block everyone else. This was both to speed up the boarding and get the thing out on time and, if the weather was bad, to stop all the SLF getting wetter than they needed to be.
Question: Have despatchers/passenger handling forgotten this trick?
Question 2: Why in Britain do we have open stairs when it rains so often? I get that the low-cost airlines won't pay for jetways (and Bristol doesn't have any to my knowledge), but I have seen aircraft steps with covers.
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Old 20th Nov 2022, 17:02
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this has been discussed many times and there is no good solution - research suggest it best to board by distance from the aisle but when you use actual passengers they screw it all up every time
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Old 21st Nov 2022, 06:07
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I live in Asia - boarding is by 'Who gets up and goes to the front first' - no matter what airlines say or do or what their staff try to put in some system and discipline it always reverts to that. THis has been the case since I moved out here in 1995 and I have given up any hope of it ever changing
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Old 21st Nov 2022, 07:49
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Chaos boarding is said to be the fastest variant. I know this from an unnamed airline that tested several ways for fastest boarding. Window seats first, back of the cabin first, rows by numbers, frequent travellers first or last or when they want, front cabins first or last and all sorts of variants.
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Old 21st Nov 2022, 21:57
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Problem can be resolved at a personal level, by simply not joining the boarding queue until it is no longer a queue. Just wait in the gate lounge. You're just as uncomfortable on a departure lounge chair as you would be in the modern horror that an airline chair has become.
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Old 21st Nov 2022, 22:37
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Because if the people, who didn’t pay to be allowed on first, we’re allowed on first, they’d be stowing their bags at the front of the overhead lockers and having a right old chuckle while they did so. That’s why.
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Old 22nd Nov 2022, 00:33
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The problem with 'organised' boarding is that it makes perfect sense to sensible people but once pax have entered an airport and passed through that curtain of hot air that blows down over the entrance doors their brains remain outside on the pavement where they were blown and they behave thenceforth like a herd of cats.
Pax cannot be organised. They simnply don't co-operate and thereby screw up the system.

I've seen 450 US troops with personal kit board a 747 in six or seven minutes - because they are disciplined and do as they are told.
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Old 22nd Nov 2022, 08:44
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I had a colleague who timed the loading of an all economy 747 - 8 minutes,

As for waiting until everyone else has boarded, some 40 years ago I met someone who had recently been to Saudi Arabia. He checked in for a domestic, went to the gate, watched the scrum when the flight was called and when he actually boarded no seat. Same again next day. Day 3 he had wised up, joined the scrum and got a seat.
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Old 22nd Nov 2022, 08:59
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A colleague remembers boarding a UTA flight in Mali - they changed the aircraft from a DC-10 to a 707 at the last moment - boarding was a fight and when all the seats wear filled the ground crew simply drove the steps (still full of people) away
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 00:27
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Not counted

In the late 80's I flew Garuda from Ambon to Surabaya - a jet of some description 100+ seats

We all boarded and doors closed. Then became apparent there were more passengers than seats - solution to squeeze 3 smaller passengers onto 2 seats etc. There were a significant excess.

And I remember that we seemed to use the whole length of the runway before lumbering into the air. Upon which there was an announcement that all the baggage had been left behind.

Not strictly relevent to the thread, I'm afraid......
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 00:51
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My father, who worked in Africa for many years, had a story. Upon finding that the flight was massively over-booked, the crew organised a race for the passengers. Once round the aircraft, and those who got to the steps first, got to board.
Implausible? My Dad never knowingly said anything untrue; besides, there was no need to make stuff up as there was no end of crazy-but-true stories from 60s / 70s Africa.
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 01:07
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Rear seats first sometimes points the teeter-totter nose up at the gate. No hilarity ensues. Baggage loading has also done the same stupid trick.

A photo I would like to see again was a large T-tail in Alaska - overnight the snow accumulation on the tail was so much it went nose up. Can't risk just shoveling it off - so they first built a huge snow pile to support the nose gear to lower it back down.
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 01:27
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Perhaps a ticket discount for passengers with no hand luggage other than a specified handbag/manbag .
I could never understand why airlines allowed so much hand luggage and wondered what on earth people were taking with them!
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 05:23
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Flights with main airlines into and out of Japan seem not to have this particular problem. Passengers generally accept and comply silently with the latest clever method of boarding. Have not noticed much difference in time taken to board. Must be a cultural thing.(?)
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 07:20
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InTheHighlands All good stories are welcome - so welcome to the Cabin of PPRuNe.
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 08:05
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Re 'speedy boarding' on Squezy Jet.
I 'commuted' Bristol/Glasgow for a couple of years.
Because of work times etc myself and fellow regular travellers were often at the front of the 'luxury' stand up lounge/gate at Brizzle.
I often boarded a millisecond behind the speedy boarders ,I had to choose my seat carefully (balanced against cost of course ) as I had to be almost first off the a/c to then run for the first bus to then catch onward train home in scotland.
I was not so bothered at the BRS end as I parked my old 306 diesel in t'carpark .
We quite often had a good laugh about squezy jet antics - sometimes the gate was 'closed' and the inbound jet was nowhere to be seen,at least with FR24 etc we could see if any jets were actually heading our way.The gate closing could cause some arguments for the gate staff as if people arrived at the gate a few minutes later - you could hear them pleading with the gate staff ''but the jet hasn't arrived yet'' - ''sorry sir the gate has closed'' - ''but'' ''but'' - no chance.
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Old 23rd Nov 2022, 08:27
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My parents still love to tell a story when they had to stand during some overbooked flight in Bulgaria (Tu-134) while the flight attendant sat on some passenger's lap.
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Old 24th Nov 2022, 02:52
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Whenever I've flown Southwest in the US, boarding has been pretty smooth. Their policy of unassigned seating, and boarding pax strictly in the order that they have checked in online, sounds crazy, but it works.

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Old 24th Nov 2022, 08:09
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I have seen numerous loading schemes that work under controlled conditions - such as the military loading of a 747 as described by meleagertoo. But they all fail in the face of regular humans. Around 1980 I was working in a posh hotel in London's West End. The Head Porter, who had been there a long time, explained, "When they walk in the front door - their arms drop off and they can hardly carry a newspaper."

The other kind of behaviour that is unresolved is the Emergency Evacuation. I have watched those videos as they test the speed of emptying various aircraft. I am glad not to have witnessed it in real life (yet...) as I have little confidence that the 90 seconds can be met.
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Old 24th Nov 2022, 08:43
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Bring back Palmair I say at BOH
Peter Bath (boss/owner) would come to the airport for each flight and over the PA would announce central seats only first (can’t remember the numbers) and anyone trying to jump the queue would be sent back with a good ticking off, over the PA as well. then rear seat number by the rear steps and the front rows via the front steps.

I remember one year there were very bad traffic jams around the airport so he came in by helicopter just to see off the next flight.


Last edited by sealo0; 24th Nov 2022 at 08:48. Reason: BOH added
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