Thursday, September 01, 2011

How to get the Muppets to sit down quickly.

When you are loading your coach, sometimes there is a delay and passengers can't quickly get to a seat because other passengers are queued up in the aisle. This happens when there is very little luggage for the driver to stow away. You think to yourself, what is the problem and why can't the Muppets sit down? This happens quite often on a 48 seater coach.

This problem of getting the Muppets to sit down is far greater on aircraft. The knock on effect of these Muppets fiddling about is increased operating costs that must be paid for by all the passengers, regardless of how efficiently they board the aircraft. But there is a mathematical answer to the slow Muppet problem. Dr Jason Steffen, a scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, applied mathematical modelling to the problem of boarding a Boeing efficiently. His solution requires passengers to board from the back of the plane, by alternate rows, filling window seats on one side of the cabin first. The pattern is repeated for the other side of the cabin, then applied to middle, and then aisle, seats. In a test for an American TV science programme, the Steffen Method halved the time spent boarding using conventional systems.

On airlines that use assigned seating, the standard means of boarding is to call passengers by block: row 21-30 in a narrow-bodied jet, followed by rows 11-20 and 1-10. But tests conducted in a mock-up of a section of a Boeing 757 showed this method took 414 seconds – almost seven minutes – and was the least efficient of those tested.

The Steffen method enabled all passengers to be boarded and seated in just 216 seconds, a rate of three seconds per person. Applied to a typical 180-seat no-frills aircraft, this radical approach could slice nine minutes off the time each aircraft spends on the ground. Over a year, this could save two weeks – worth £1m – per plane.

Have a look at how this works in the diagrams below...

Yes, it makes sense and once you see the answer, having watched many a Muppet fiddle about, it is a wonder nobody thought of this solution before!
Off to Africa tomorrow for the majority of September Steve, first step of the journey involves coach travel to Heathrow.

Looking forward to "Muppeting" about

Where you invited by Muammar? I heard him on the radio saying "We won't surrender again; we are not women. We will keep fighting,"
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