Featured, Video — August 24, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Is There A Faster Way To Board An Airplane?


Multiple_Brad_PhotoFor nearly 75 years the #1 question asked by airplane passengers is this: Is there a faster way to board the airplane? Well, that and “Is that crap in the Sky Mall catalogue for real? Seriously, who needs a Backyard Garden Yeti?”

Anyway, the answer to the important question is: Yes. And, anyone who values fine art, expert craftsmanship and hates their wife.

The answer to the first question is: Yes, as well. It is possible to board passengers onto a plane more quickly than the airlines do now. HOWEVER — there are several issues that stand between expedient boarding and the mind-numbing cluster fuck all of us now experience.

  1. Click here to see all 6 one-hour episodes  of This vs That.
    Click here to see all 6 one-hour episodes of This vs That.

    First class passengers. Oh, and Elite passengers, Gold Club members, Silver Club members, Captain’s Club members, Star Alliance Partners, One-World Partners, family’s with small children, children traveling alone, pretty people, tall people, girl’s with partially exposed side-boob, professional athletes. You get the idea. As long as the airlines are going to board their “premiere” passengers first, passengers who sit in the rear of the cabin will be stuck waiting on the jetway and in the aisle to pass those who boarded ahead of them.

  2. The Law of Unintended Consequences. When the airlines decided to charge additional fees for checked luggage, passengers decided to stuff as much of their crap into their carry on luggage. These bags have now become heavier, clumsier and larger. It takes more time to maneuver them down the aisle and more time to cram them into the overhead bin. Assuming they even fit.

Airlines have experimented with several boarding strategies, including:

  • Front to back
  • Back to front
  • Zone Boarding
  • Window – middle — aisle
  • Catapult. (Tried by Jet Blue… but only once. OK, four times. We think.)


However, none of these boarding strategies actually address the central problem at the core of slow airplane boarding, which is this: maximizing the simultaneous use of interior space. What does that even mean? Brad Sherwood, co-host of This vs That (and co-star of Whose Line Is It Anyway?), explains in this clip from Episode #1 of This vs That (you can see the entire experiment at our website):

*****If you have an idea about how to board airplanes faster… or how to make the experience of boarding a plane less… soul-sucking awful, share them in the comments section below.****

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