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Gatwick Airport Will Test Boarding Passengers by Individual Seat Number

News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Oct 30, 2019

The process of boarding a plane is constantly undergoing new innovations to make it quicker and more efficient — and yet it always seems to drag on interminably. Whether it’s the introduction of boarding zones or Southwest’s “no assigned seats” policy, airlines are always trying out new ways of boarding faster. Now, London’s Gatwick Airport is testing out a new system where passengers would board based on individual seat numbers. According to the airport, this system would speed up boarding by 10 percent.

The two-month test will experiment with using a touch screen to call out boarding by individual seat number. It would start by boarding passengers in the back, with window seats, middle seats, and then aisle seats. Priority and special needs passengers would still be able to board first.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation at Gatwick, said in a press release, “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 passengers rushing forward at any stage.”

You’d have to show up at the gate on time, however, because if you miss your seat number being called you’ll have to wait until the end of boarding. For now, the trial is running with EasyJet flights from a single gate and will use passenger feedback to determine whether it becomes permanent.

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