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There is bias in every article, no doubt about that, but as far as what the reporter is reporting, he is not incorrect, the zonal system is the most inefficient boarding system. However, the Southwest system would obviously not work with airlines like Air Canada, and it is not just Air Canada, Delta, Lufthansa, etc. so many airlines do this program because they have a business class and a premium economy class at minimum that need to be treated better, obviously for the price, than economy. Counting the reward programs too, it just does not work. So is this article correct, yes, is it presenting both sides of the story, obviously not, but in the end you cannot really rely on reporters to bring both sides of the stories these days, you must do it yourself.
Right, but rather than simply state the truth -- "we're aware that it's inefficient, but we do it for economic and marketing reasons" -- they apparently decided to go with a smokescreen answer. I'm with the CBC on this. Their answer was at best nonsense.

The thing I find hilarious about the seating classes is that we're still all getting there at the same time, no matter which order we board. At egress time, sure, it might make marketing sense to provide some sort of reward to higher-paying fares. But how are you giving anyone an advantage by letting them board "early" just so they can sit there and wait until the last person in cattle-class can get on board? Is setting inside a plane at the gate really that exciting?
cyberjet 5
More time to give them their complimentary shot of booze to settle their nerves of having to share an aluminum tube with the huddled masses.
How about we scan all tickets at the door. If you are not in your seat with the belt on after 2 minutes, your belt does not unlock at the flight's end until everyone else is off. Seems fair to me.
btweston 2
Well, dad, that would be incredibly silly.
indy2001 1
It's been found again and again that people prefer the zonal system instead of more efficient systems because they see it as the fairest system. Even 'Mythbusters' examined it and came to the same conclusion. Most passengers even understand boarding premium passengers and frequent flyers first, although that can get ridiculous at times. Boarding any other way would break up couples and families, which is seen as unacceptable. What I've seen recently is earlier boarding, sometimes starting as much as 45 minutes before scheduled departure. Unless they're trying an extremely quick turnaround (a la Southwest), there's usually plenty of time to board everyone. I've even been on flights that left 10 minutes early because everyone was aboard and seated.
Hmmm...let me think...there is more than one access point to the plane right? How about we board and exit at both ends of the plane simultaneously or is that too simple? Wait...that would mean the airports would have to retrofit the ramps and that costs money.

I just flew AC to Prince Edward Island...had a ticket provided for me because of the seat was arranged for me at the gate both coming and going with NO guarantee I would be able to board. AC has a nasty habit of overbooking their flights.

An announcement was made at the gate for the Ottawa flight asking people to "volunteer" to be bumped for a gratuity - AC gift vouchers. Hmmm what impression does that make?

My luggage which had to arrive was ticketed STANDBY - both ways with NO guarantee it would arrive (fairly valuable contents in one bag) and paid $130 just to get them on board???

Talk about sucking the general public dry.
Boarding both front and rear simultaneously. This is how I boarded the last flight I took in Moscow. Very efficient--not practical in American airport systems. Adding a flight bridge to every single gate will add $$$$ to your fare. Not to mention logistics, security, and other policy changes. Mayhem and confusion in every airport. By the way, in Moscow it was necessary to climb a very narrow and steep flight of stairs into the ass of a plane--something a lot of people can do.
Also Tegel- Berlin has the same procedure.
cyberjet 1
Did you check in on line 24 hours prior to the flight?
Not for an additional $50. to get a seat assigned. Someone else arranged all of this I just showed up at the airport and checked in.

cyberjet 1
FYI, Air Canada does not charge the seat selection fee when you check in within 24 hours of departure.
Once upon a time in Australia we would show our ticket to a hostess at the departure gate and be directed to either the front or rear stairs of a B727 (up between the rear engines), across the tarmac! Same for disembarking. Remember those days? Aaah, memories. It worked too!
Vox's click bait "makes no sense" headline is a bit of hyperbole in that the way boarding is done now does make sense, and it's far from the "least efficient" method - it's just the least efficient of the few they studied, in theory. It's certainly more efficient than front to back, but that wasn't tested because it's obvious.

The outside-in method requires people sitting together to board separately, which is a nonstarter for families.

Random order is basically what Southwest does since there's no assigned seating, and of course it works because you would tend to sit where there's no congestion rather than having to wait to get to your assigned seat. That means the more desirable seats (window and aisle) fill first, and those left with middle seats have to climb over aisle seat passengers to get to them. Furthermore, most frequent fliers don't want to see the major airlines do away with seat assignments, so that's a nonstarter for everyone but Southwest.

The CBC dug up an article with limited details and asked Air Canada why they don't do it this way, and Air Canada responded that we review our procedures periodically and this is what works for us. So... yeah, it really does sound like CBC has an axe to grind here. I get a kick out of them responding "that email wasn't supposed to be shared" instead of actually addressing what it revealed...
Oh, and for the other methods (particularly the one Steffen proposed), has anyone studied how much extra time it would take queuing up the passengers in the correct order prior to boarding in order to make this method work? Doesn't look like it...


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