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Boarding a Plane

November 6th, 2005 · No Comments

WSJ discusses the quickest way to board a plane – and it is not what we’ve been made to do.

Several years ago Menkes van den Briel, an industrial engineer at Arizona State University, tackled a “nonlinear assignment problem with quadratic and cubic terms in the objective function.”

In other words, he wanted to stop people from bumping into each other when they board an airplane.

Mr. van den Briel’s research has led to an innovative boarding system at America West Airlines called “reverse pyramid.” The first economy-class passengers to get on the plane are those with window seats in the middle and rear of the plane. Then America West gradually fills out the plane, giving priority to those with window or rear seats, until it finally boards those seated along aisles in the front.

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