29 June 2011

AA Changes Boarding - Interesting Take

So American Airlines is changing boarding to by the time you check in.

No big deal you say?

Actually it is. Check out the local newspaper story.

Now what is interesting is two major factors. One is to do with Carry on and the other with boarding efficiency.

With carry on there are no US flights where all the bags fit. So the airlines bag fees have resulted in different behaviour. IE people try and carry on as much as they can. For AA this has resulted in an interesting characteristic. They try and load passengers quickly but quietly offer no charge bag tagging at the gate. Clearly this practice has become widely known so the resulting potential revenue loss is not insignificant lets say $100 per flight (4 bags @$25 per bag). With AA moving more than 3400 flights per day on average this could add up.

Yup that's a cool $31 million a year.

Let's now consider the airport operations issues.

The airport boarding process is one of the least liked processes for a passenger. Right up there with TSA Screening but we are not touching that one right now.

The problem is that everyone wants to board at the same time. It is a hydraulic problem. Getting the people fluid into the vessel. However if you are a long time reader of this blog - you will find that I have examined this issue before. Random boarding beats everything but some very specifically controlled boarding. So randomly boarding people at different points on the plane was one of my suggestions based on check in number.

Seems AA is a good follower of the Professor and agrees. So this is now likely to speed traffic through the boarding gate.

How well it works - TBD.


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