Clarkson Researchers Offer Solution To Airline Boarding Delays

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Clarkson University researchers suggest airlines can save money and time seating passengers based on the number of carry-on bags that are allowed to be stuffed into the plane's overhead compartment and how they are seated.
                                                                                  
Clarkson Business School Professor R. John Milne and senior Alexander Kelly have spent months working on an academic study of airline seating plans and how to make it more efficient to seat passengers.

"If we could assign people to seats so the luggage gets spread throughout the plane, then there wouldn't be as much of this problem of people trying to find a spot for their luggage," said Milne.

Faster boarding and seating times mean airlines can save money - some studies suggest as much as $30 for every minute saved.

"Once you can speed up one plane, that plane's going somewhere else so it kind of helps the next plane as well," said Milne.

Kelly, a Clarkson computer science and mechanical engineering major, put together a program simulating various seating plans.

The result was that passengers could be seated in a way that staggers carry-on bags throughout the plane.

"It was a great experience to see the connection of the academic research and solving a real-world problem," said Kelly.

The Clarkson researchers say major airlines could save upwards of $10 million a year by cutting the time wasted stowing carry-on baggage.

While changes in boarding methods could cut seating time by three percent, or a few seconds, Milne says he now plans to look at how long it takes individual passengers to board an airline and why.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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