MythBusters: Airlines Are Boarding Their Planes All Wrong!

MythBusters AeroplaneYoutube/MythBustersYou’re doing it wrong.

Ever feel like boarding the plane is taking much longer than it should?

If so, you aren’t alone. The guys at MythBusters have thought about it so much that they devoted a whole segment of their popular Discovery Channel show to the topic.

In an empty hangar, MythBusters built an aeroplane interior with 173 seats and staffed the mock aircraft with actual cabin crew to facilitate boarding. The show then tried a variety of boarding methods to determine which procedure is the quickest. Each method of boarding was also evaluated by passengers, with points given or taken away based on their impression of the boarding technique.

The show found that the familiar back-to-front boarding method is, by far, the slowest method, with a time of 24.29 minutes. On the other hand, boarding with no assigned seats and no assigned order proved to be the quickest way to go, at 14.07 minutes.

However, according to the passengers, this free-for-all style was the least pleasant boarding method.

MythBusters Aeroplane BoardingYoutube/MythBustersDifferent boarding methods were times and scored.

In the end, the team found the methods using the so-called “WILMA” method — in which window passengers are boarded first, followed by middle-seat flyers and finally travellers sitting in aisle seats — to be the most effective.

The best combination of speed and consumer enjoyment came from the “reverse pyramid” method, which notched a time of 15.10 minutes and a satisfaction score of 113. This approach boards the aircraft from the back to the front and from the window seats in.

MythBusters Aeroplane Reverse PyramidYoutube/MythBustersThe ‘reverse pyramid’ boarding method.

Here’s the complete “MythBusters” episode — which also features a segment on bullets made from teeth:

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