Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Blog

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Can We Be Smarter?

May 9th, 2011 · 7 Comments

Sometimes, we don’t use our brains. Two examples from the flying experiences that I’ve had and which I am sure we will all relate to.

1. Every so often in a flight, they need to count the number of passengers on board. So, you see one of the airhostesses or stewards counting…41..42…43..82…83…and so on. Can this be done better? Answer below.

2. In the few instances that we can board by aerobridges in India, there is no sequence to the boarding. Why can’t be board by zones – starting with the back of the aircraft? This is what is done abroad, and a few seconds of thinking is all it takes to confirm that it will make boarding the aircraft faster. So, why don’t we do it here?

Answer to 1: Just count the number of empty seats rather than the filled ones.  Much easier and faster since most flights have a handful of empty seats. I tried telling that to the Counter once. Poor chap forgot where he was and had to re-start the counting of passengers again!

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 StatSpotting // May 9, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Rajesh, I disagree with your counting mechanism. There is a reason why they count one by one. They need the count to be accurate. There are multiple scenarios in which your system could miss someone.

    Agree with you on the Aerobridge though.

  • 2 gaurav khandelwal // May 9, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    @statspotting, where do you find the method unworkable

  • 3 StatSpotting // May 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

    @gaurav

    its very simple, the count is a very critical thing. if i were the one counting and i know i will be held to my word on the number of people on board, even if i count the empty seats and calculate the count, i will ALWAYS look to confirm that number. that is why the preferred way is to count 1,2,3… and not to count the empty seats. this can be used as a confirmation, but not as the basic counting method.

    having said that, here is the real issue: In the method suggested by Rajesh, how many numbers shd the counter ‘keep’ in his head? (depending on how his shifts are planned) – which flight, what class, total seats in this class in this flight etc etc. and then correctly subtract the number of empty seats. with minutes to take off and some 10-15 other things to worry about, the counter is better off counting 1,2,3…

  • 4 Kumaran // May 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I thought of the same thing regarding counting of seats. The issue is for them to save time, they start counting once they think all passengers are on board, not when all the passengers are SITTING. Hence there could be some passengers arranging stuff in the overhead luggage space or still another in the Rest Room! Hence, the model may not work. However, they could have a system in place to know the exact number of people on board with just a small IR sensor at the door….

  • 5 Ninad Mehta // May 12, 2011 at 5:53 am

    Air India Public Notice:
    Based on a brilliant idea from Rajesh Jain, Air India will now employ 3 stewards to count the ACTUAL number of passengers on board:
    1) The first steward will count the number of actual passenger usable SEATS on the aircraft. This number is a variable since there may be some broken seats on an aircraft that can not be used during a given flight.
    2) The second steward will count the number of passengers actually SITTING down as per the orders of the headmistress (aka airhostess).
    3) The third steward will count the number of passengers that either standing in the isle or hitting on the airhostesses or in the bathroom.
    These 3 stewards will then take their numbers to the captain who will do some complicated number crunching (1-(2+3)) and decide how many actual usable seats are vacant on the flight.

    To expedite this process, the yatris are requested to not change their positions once they see the 3 stewards starting the counting process. IOW, those sitting down shouldn’t get up (no matter how strong the urge) and those standing up should not return to their seats. Any delays caused by non-complying yatris will not be considered Air India’s responsibility.

    As always, Air India is wishing all yatris a sukhmayee “suffer” …

  • 6 Akshar // May 13, 2011 at 7:02 am

    What is the need to count the number of people in first place ?
    The person near the staircase has your boarding pass counterfoils, that can be used to count how many people have entered the plane. But what if someone has sneaked in without handing over the counterfoil or worse without having a boarding pass ?

  • 7 Xyro // May 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Best way to do this thing is when a boarding pass is handed over to the passenger add a barcode to it . When passenger enters the airplane door ask him to swipe it . A monitor will show it how many plp have entered 🙂 There are many other ways but I feel this can be very generic and can be easily implemented

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