News // 31 October 2019

New trial cuts boarding time by 10% at Gatwick

Easyjet has been working alongside Gatwick to try out new ways to board passengers at the London airport.

They include boarding people in window seats first, starting at the back, followed by middle then aisle seats.

Gatwick said different boarding methods could reduce the journey from airport gate to seat by about 10%.

The airport operator says that the window-to-aisle seat pattern of boarding is best suited for individuals and business passengers.

Groups of people who want to sit together such as families will be seated by row, again starting at the back of the plane.

Gatwick said it was experimenting with flexible boarding patterns, “depending on the passenger make up on any individual flight – number of families, individual travellers etc”.

The two-month trial has already begun and Gatwick said an airline managed to board 158 passengers on one plane in 14 minutes. “This is typically 2-3 minutes better than the usual time,” said a spokesman.

Other companies are experimenting with plane seating – most notably Japan Airlines which has introduced a new booking system which helps passengers avoid sitting next to young children, thereby potentially avoiding a noisy flight.

Gatwick is also experimenting with better ways of telling passengers when they need to queue up at the boarding gate.

Instead of the often inaudible tannoy announcement informing which rows of passengers to line up, flyers will now learn which seat numbers are ready to board via a digital screen.