KLM Introduces New Aircraft Boarding Process and Individual Boarding Numbers

By Paul Riegler on 4 November 2013
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A KLM aircraft in Zürich

A KLM aircraft in Zürich

KLM unveiled a new procedure for boarding and said it is deploying the process at its hub in Schiphol in Amsterdam on Monday.  The new process is designed to speed up boarding as well as increase passenger comfort during boarding.

Currently, airlines use a variety of boarding procedures including back-to-front by row, outside-in (window seat, middle, then aisle), block boarding (outside-in within a zone starting from back to front), reverse pyramid (back-to-front combined with outside-in), as well as several other methods including random.

Typical considerations in minimizing boarding time include whether passengers have to wait a considerable amount of time in the jet bridge or to pass other passengers in the aisle, whether passengers have to cross those who are already seated in middle and aisle seats, and the time it takes to store luggage in the overhead bins and take a seat.

KLM’s new procedure entails giving passengers a unique boarding number at the gate instead of a group or zone number.  The boarding number is based on the passenger’s seat in the aircraft.  Once boarding starts, the numbers are displayed in a sequence at the gate.

The new procedure has passengers with a window seat boarding first, starting at the rear of the aircraft.  This is followed by passengers seated in the midsection of the aircraft, and then passengers with aisle seats.

KLM says it will first board passengers with very small children or those requiring extra assistance, followed by business-class and higher-level elite passengers who are entitled to Sky Priority boarding.

KLM will be using this procedure on three flights a day, namely to Berlin, Budapest, and Helsinki, and plans to expand its test of the new process to other European and long-haul flights in 2014.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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