Boarding efficiency.

Clearly I travel a lot. Planes all the time and a wife who needs a camera for Christmas so she can remember what I look like. What gets me (today) is the way airlines in 50 years of aviation history have not figured out how to board planes. Let me help you with my years of experience: people are stupid. (I can hear my daughter’s voice saying, “Don’t say stupid!”). The idea of numbers on a boarding pass is great. 1,2,3…68… They are big. Easy to see. Easy to see on my pass as well as on the guy’s in front of you. The elderly don’t even have to put on their glasses to see them. So, you have a 1 you board first right? I mean, what could possibly come before 1? 0? i? Well, First Class could that’s what. Followed by million miler, 100k, 10k, 1k, Business then exec, premier exec, premier, premmies, and people traveling with walking flu machines. All of these people come before 1 and don’t even get a number. Why? Are we trying to save ink? Surely it costs more to scroll out Premier Executive versus 2. Here is why: the airlines enjoy watching the free for all in the boarding line as passengers toting their double-hot venti lattes elbow to the front only to get rejected and have to stand against the wall and fight the impulse not to trip those behind.

Here is my tip: Number everybody. If you are in first class, guess what? You are number 1! Then Business is 2 , Economy plus 3, Economy minus 4 and so on. Is that so hard? You are mixing the experienced travellers with the sheep. Count them all off and everyone can line up and be counted. Let’s assume you actually got the numbers right. Are we in the air yet? Not by a long shot. You still have to make it to your seat. Here is where I compare boarding to putting on your skinny jeans. It looks like they will all fit. The length is right, they fit before, but in the end you have to suck it in and squeeze. The suck factor definitely still exists (after how many years?) with the seating. Everyone is trying to step over the other. Grandma is oblivious to the bag of bricks she is carrying that keep bouncing off my head on her way by. Someone insists they can shove their Samsonite in the overhead while the flight attendant argues they need to gate check it for an additional $532.33. People don’t know their alphabet and can’t fathom why the letter “i” is not used. The attendants are more overweight then the fat cats in first and their attempt to travel back up the line like salmon returning to spawn only adds to the congestion. An announcement is made to hold your coats in your lap, which promptly causes the entire plane to cram their coat in the overhead like they are arranging newspaper under a log ready for kindling. All in all it is chaos. Here is my tip: no suitcases. None. Zip. Nada. People are sheep (did I say that already?) we cannot handle it. We all failed spacial relations in college and now we pay for it every time we fly. Don’t allow suitcases at all. If a bag is not on your shoulder it must go under the plane. This might encourage us to do a few things like pack less and, dare I say, shop less. Do you really need to run off the plane with your roll-a-board? If you have that many clothes you are obviously at your destination for more than a day so what is the hurry? Without the suitcases we actually could put our coats up. The airlines would not have to waste time designing marketing schemes for 2″ more of legroom. I am not saying that it would be an easy fix, but you have to change the mentality. Try this: close the door and then give a $50 coupon to everyone who did NOT bring a suitcase on. Point out the $&-/()&@ who is making our flight late and reward those that own only a purse and a blackberry. Over time the behavior could change and you might actually build brand stickiness with the coupon. For those of you that are reading this trying to think of how you could scheme my new system, I know you are the same ones who never measured your bag in the stainless steel frame for dimensions. To you I say, “Sit down!”

Posted via email from beuk’s posterous

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