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Boarding is the entry of passengers onto a vehicle, usually in public transportation. Boarding starts with entering the vehicle and ends with the seating of each passenger and closing the doors. The term is used in road, rail, water and air transport (for example, passenger board a coach).
At commercial airports, a boarding call on the public announcement system asks travelers to proceed to the departure gate and board the aircraft. This can begin any time from an hour to thirty minutes before departure (depending on the size of the plane and number of passengers). For boarding an aircraft, airstairs or jetways are used. Small aircraft may carry their own stairs.
Airlines control the access to the aircraft by checking passengers' boarding passes and matching them with the list of passengers and their identification cards. Many airlines use the IATA standard Bar Coded Boarding Passes (BCBP) to automate this process. A 2D bar code is scanned and the data are sent to the airline's system to look up the list of passengers. If the passenger is entitled to board, a positive message is sent back to the airline agent.
Boarding in air travel is supervised by ground personnel. The pilot is responsible for the boarding as soon as the doors are closed because by law the aircraft is then "in flight".
After boarding, the taxiing and takeoff will follow in most cases.
Most North American airlines have assigned seating, but Southwest Airlines does not. Southwest boards passengers in A, B, and C groups depending on their ticket purchase date. Across North American airlines, it is standard to allow early boarding for passengers with mobility impairments, those with small children, and first class passengers.All airlines allow passengers in premium cabins or with elite status to board earlier, with some offering it to coach customers for a fee.
Several boarding patterns by seating location are possible:
Efficiency considerations to minimize overall boarding time include:
Competing considerations include:
Computer simulations indicate that the outside-in and reverse-pyramid patterns should be fastest, followed by block and random, followed by back-to-front and rotating zone.American Airlines found in a two-year study that randomized boarding was faster than outside-in. Despite this, most North American airlines use the back-to-front pattern.
Another proposed method to speed boarding is to have passengers sort themselves by row and seat while still standing in the waiting area.
Television series MythBusters examined various boarding techniques in their 2014 episode "Plane Boarding" and found the standard back-to-front system to be the slowest among the tested.
As the process of controlling and verifying boarding passes and identity documents takes non-negligible amounts of time and as some airlines aim to reduce turnaround times, the process of "pre boarding" is increasingly employed. In this process, passengers enter a separate area after having their boarding pass inspected before the plane is ready to be boarded and once actual boarding commences passengers simply enter the plane.
In water transport a boarding onto a watercraft can be done while it is located in harbour or at sea.
Passengers board buses in the United Kingdom by either indicating to the bus driver they want to board (by queueing at the bus stop or by holding out an arm) or by boarding when a bus has stopped at a bus station.
Once on board passengers can either purchase a ticket for their journey or they can show a travel pass (such as an Oyster card when passengers travel on London buses).
On long distance buses in Europe tickets are usually checked upon boarding whereas in Latin America fares or tickets are collected on the moving bus by an assistant to the driver.
An airliner is a type of aircraft for transporting passengers and air cargo. Such aircraft are most often operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an airplane intended for carrying multiple passengers or cargo in commercial service. The largest of them are wide-body jets which are also called twin-aisle because they generally have two separate aisles running from the front to the back of the passenger cabin. These are usually used for long-haul flights between airline hubs and major cities. A smaller, more common class of airliners is the narrow-body or single-aisle. These are generally used for short to medium-distance flights with fewer passengers than their wide-body counterparts.
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that is operated with an especially high emphasis on minimizing operating costs and without some of the traditional services and amenities provided in the fare, resulting in lower fares and fewer comforts. To make up for revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline may charge extra fees – such as for carry-on baggage. As of April 2020, the world's largest low-cost carrier is Southwest Airlines, which operates primarily in the United States, as well as in some surrounding areas.
A jet bridge is an enclosed, movable connector which most commonly extends from an airport terminal gate to an airplane, and in some instances from a port to a boat or ship, allowing passengers to board and disembark without going outside and being exposed to harsh weather. Depending on building design, sill heights, fueling positions, and operational requirements, a jet bridge may be fixed or movable, swinging radially, and/or extending in length. The jetway was invented by Frank Der Yuen.
British Airtours Flight 28M was an international passenger flight which caught fire before takeoff at Manchester Airport, England on 22 August 1985 with the loss of 55 lives. It was en route to Corfu International Airport in Greece.
Business class is a travel class available on many commercial airlines and rail lines, known by brand names which vary, by airline or rail company. In the airline industry, it was originally intended as an intermediate level of service between economy class and first class, but many airlines now offer business class as the highest level of service, having eliminated first-class seating. Business class is distinguished from other travel classes by the quality of seating, food, drinks, ground service and other amenities. In commercial aviation, full business class is usually denoted 'J' or 'C' with schedule flexibility, but can be many other letters depending on circumstances.
A boarding pass or boarding card is a document provided by an airline during check-in, giving a passenger permission to enter the restricted area of an airport and to board the airplane for a particular flight. At a minimum, it identifies the passenger, the flight number, and the date and scheduled time for departure. A boarding pass may also indicate details of the perks a passenger is entitled to and is thus presented at the entrance of such facilities to show eligibility.
Economy class, also called third class, coach class, steerage, or to distinguish it from the slightly more expensive premium economy class, standard economy class or budget economy class, is the lowest travel class of seating in air travel, rail travel, and sometimes ferry or maritime travel. Historically, this travel class has been called tourist class or third class on ocean liners.
Rigoberto Alpizar was a Costa Rican-born United States citizen who was fatally shot at Miami International Airport by two United States Federal Air Marshals.
In-flight entertainment (IFE) refers to the entertainment available to aircraft passengers during a flight. In 1936, the airship Hindenburg offered passengers a piano, lounge, dining room, smoking room, and bar during the 2+1⁄2-day flight between Europe and America. After World War II, IFE was delivered in the form of food and drink services, along with an occasional projector movie during lengthy flights. In 1985 the first personal audio player was offered to passengers, along with noise cancelling headphones in 1989. During the 1990s, the demand for better IFE was a major factor in the design of aircraft cabins. Before then, the most a passenger could expect was a movie projected on a screen at the front of a cabin, which could be heard via a headphone socket at his or her seat. Now, in most aircraft, private IFE TV screens are offered.
A gate is the portion of an airport that connects an aircraft with its payload. Commercial airport gates have airside components to facilitate passenger boarding and aircraft ground handling.
Ground support equipment (GSE) is the support equipment found at an airport, usually on the apron, the servicing area by the terminal. This equipment is used to service the aircraft between flights. As the name suggests, ground support equipment is there to support the operations of aircraft whilst on the ground. The role of this equipment generally involves ground power operations, aircraft mobility, and cargo/passenger loading operations.
On most modern airlines, flying standby is when a passenger without a seat assignment waits at the gate to see if there is an extra seat after all scheduled passengers have boarded. There are several common circumstances in which passengers fly standby:
An airline seat is a seat on an airliner in which passengers are accommodated for the duration of the journey. Such seats are usually arranged in rows running across the airplane's fuselage. A diagram of such seats in an aircraft is called an aircraft seat map.
An aircraft cabin is the section of an aircraft in which passengers travel. Most modern commercial aircraft are pressurized, as cruising altitudes are high enough such that the surrounding atmosphere is too thin for passengers and crew to breathe.
Airport check-in is the process whereby passengers are accepted by an airline at the airport prior to travel. The airlines typically use service counters found at airports. The check-in is normally handled by an airline itself or a handling agent working on behalf of an airline. Passengers usually hand over any baggage that they do not wish or are not allowed to carry in to the aircraft's cabin and receive a boarding pass before they can proceed to board their aircraft.
An airline ticket is a document or electronic record, issued by an airline or a travel agency, that confirms that an individual is entitled to a seat on a flight on an aircraft. The airline ticket may be one of two types: a paper ticket, which comprises coupons or vouchers; and an electronic ticket.
An exit row is a row of seats on board a commercial airliner that is next to an emergency exit. Exit rows may be next to overwing exits or full-sized exit doors.
A herringbone seating arrangement describes the positioning of seats partially and equally askew in one direction. As the name suggests, the arrangement of the seats looks very similar to the skeleton of a fish, and has been called "fish-bone seats" in a few languages. The term is derived from the arrangement of interlocking brickwork, and has been applied for seating found in aircraft, buses and theatres. Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to use herringbone seats on their aircraft.
First class is a travel class on some passenger airliners intended to be more luxurious than business class, premium economy, and economy class. Originally all planes offered only one class of service, with a second class appearing first in 1955, when TWA introduced two different types of service on its Super Constellations.
The Steffen Boarding Method, also known as the Steffen Perfect or simply the Steffen Method is a proposed "perfect aeroplane boarding method" that would enable optimally fast and convenient way of sequencing passengers. The method was first introduced by astrophysicist Jason Steffen in 2008.
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