Gatwick Airport trials could cut boarding times by 'up to 10%'

Gatwick Airport is launching trials that could see boarding times cut by up to ten per cent.

A two month test will see passengers boarding aircraft by seat number, including from back to front, to save time and avoid queues at the gate.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport

Large digital screens and staff will be placed at Gate 101 to show passengers the order to board and a series of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward.

Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front, with window seats first, middle next and aisle seats last.

Passengers who have priority boarding, or those who need special assistance or are travelling with young families, will still board first during the trial.

The airport said modelling suggested boarding times could be cut by up to ten per cent, but data and feedback from passengers would be assessed before a decision is made on whether to take the concept forward.

Boarding by seat

Boarding by seat

Abhi Chacko, head of enabling technologies and digital innovation at Gatwick Airport, said: “We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time. 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 large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”

Boarding by seat

Boarding by seat