Jack Uldrich
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To Unlearn, Try Boarding an Airplane Differently

Posted in Analogy, Aviation, Business, Culture, General

We have all been there at some time—standing in line at the airport waiting to board a plane and thinking to ourselves that “there has to be a better way.” Well, apparently, there is now. According to this informative articlea researcher at Fermilab has figured out the optimal way to board an airplane.

His findings are counter-intuitive to say the least. Contrary to what one might expect, boarding from the back of the plane first isn’t the optimal method. Rather, the optimal method is to board passengers 10 at a time in every other row. Apparently, this allows passengers to store their baggage overhead at a faster rate.

As I say in my book, Jump the Curve, accelerating advances in computer processing power and algorithms often result in findings that challenge conventional wisdom. The big question now is whether executives in the airline industry will have the courage to listen to an outsider (the researcher, Jason Steffen is a physicist) and whether the industry itself can “unlearn” its current behavior of loading passengers from the the back of the plane.


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