On exactly which planet….

Screen shot 2011 09 04 at 20 22 18

…do these people live?

An American astrophysicist, Dr Jason Steffen, has worked out a method that will cut the boarding time of an aircraft in almost half and save airlines £1m per plane per year.

There’s madness in his method….er….method in his madness…er, the first one’s right.

There are 3 traditional methods – by row number from the back (“Passengers with seats in rows 45 to 55, please board now”,  from the outside to the inside (“Will passengers in the window seats – that’s “A” and “F” – please board now”) and free seating (“Off you go and try not to trample small children to death while you fight over the best seats”)

The Steffens Method starts with the last window seat at the back right hand side, then skips a row forward to the NEXT window seat on the right hand side and works its way to the front .

Then it starts again on the same side of the cabin with the seat that they skipped the FIRST time through.

Then onto the window seats on the left (in 2 runs), then the middle seats on the right, the middle seats on the left and then the aisle seats right and left.

This will take a mere 216 seconds for a full Boeing 757, they say.

A full Boeing 757 with 72 seats, according to his paper

(The last 757 I flew on had around 190 seats, but let’s not allow practicalities get in the way of a good idea…)

But how’s it going to work in the real world, where EVERYONE gets up when the boarding agent asks passengers in the gate lounge to remain seated while he/she makes an announcement, where EVERYONE is a parent with a small child, where EVERYONE is mobility-challenged and needs more time to board, where EVERYONE is in First or Business Class or has a Gold Card and where EVERYONE is seated in rows 45 to 55?

Plus the usual suspects who are asleep/on the phone/on the loo/talking to their girlfriend/still buying duty-free/can’t find their boarding card/confuse the flight number with their seat number/want to fly to Manchester but are queuing up for the Mallorca flight?

I think I know how he did his test.

He got 72 athletic young folk with keen hearing and no cabin baggage, gave them a boarding pass with the boarding number writ BIG, lined them up in their boarding sequence and chased them with a cattle prod….

Put this in the real world and you’ll have people drifting around trying to work out if boarding number 51 is before or after 192, asking why they can’t board with their partner, littlies running around around screeching “Mummeeeee”, paedophiles saying “I’ll look after her…”, Pakistanis asking “کیا کر رہے ہیں وہ کہہ رہے ہیں?”  and the usual “sodthisforagameofsoldiersnoone’stellingMEwhentoboard” candidates.

Back to the drawing board, Jason…….

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