Truce called in the battle of the boarding gate: Gatwick to trial letting passengers in window seats onto planes first and aisle seats last in bid to end pre-flight scrum
- Gatwick airport will trial the system to eliminate the rush for the boarding gate
- They plan to fill the planes’ window seats, then middle and then the aisle
- The airport announced that 42.6 per cent of departures were late last month
Gatwick airport will trial a new system to eliminate the rush for the boarding gate and the scramble to store luggage by inviting passengers to board according to their position on the plane.
The system will see those holding tickets for window seats board the aircraft first, followed by those holding middle and aisle tickets.
The trial at gate 101 will go on for two months and is targeted to stop lengthy queues and allow passengers less time standing in queues at the boarding gate.
The airport also hopes to cut boarding time and to limit the amount of delayed flights.
British passengers queue up in front of a gate as they wait for boarding at Dalaman Airport. Gatwick airport is trialling a new system to eliminate the rush for the boarding gate and the scramble to store luggage by inviting passengers to board according to their position on the plane
The new method indicated that Gatwick could board a flight of 158 passengers three minutes faster than usual.
Those who have paid for ‘fast-tracked’ boarding can get on their flight first under the current system as well as those with toddlers, babies or with mobility issues.
The move comes as Gatwick, the most delayed airport in Europe, attempts to address its soaring record of delays.
Last month, the airport in West Sussex recorded 42.6 per cent of departing flights late by 15 minutes or more.
Abhi Chacko, head of digital innovation at the airport, told the Times newspaper: ‘We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.
Interior of airplane with passengers on seats and stewardess walking the aisle. In addition to the window, middle, aisle method of boarding, flights from gate 101 will also trial the efficiency of filling the back row first and working forward
‘By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent passengers rushing forward at any stage.’
In addition to the window, middle, aisle method, the flights from gate 101 will also trial the efficiency of filling the back row first and working forward.
A digital display will be used to call passengers to the plane and they will be expected to remain seated while they wait.
Those who miss their call will likely be pushed to the back of the line.