In an interview on “Today,” Bastian mentioned that Delta has explored various methods of boarding customers, and the airline has found that straightforward boarding and moving passengers through the plane swiftly is the most efficient approach.
Delta CEO on United New Boarding Process
Bastian expressed that introducing additional features tends to complicate the process.
However, he acknowledged that if United successfully improves its boarding process, Delta would be open to adopting a similar strategy. Bastian specifically referred to United’s boarding plan known as WILMA, which is an acronym for window-middle-aisle.
United Airlines stated in a memo that the newly implemented seating plan, introduced last month, is expected to save up to two minutes in the boarding process for each flight.
This modification applies to all domestic flights and some international flights, allowing the airline to increase its flight frequency.
According to the carrier’s statement to FOX Business, this method, previously employed before 2017, will have a “cumulative impact” on operations, particularly during the busy holiday travel season.
Despite several major carriers projecting robust demand for the holidays and already adjusting schedules accordingly, American Airlines pilot Capt.
Dennis Tajer contended that financial considerations primarily drive the move. He argued that it aids in reducing turn times, referring to the duration between a plane’s initial arrival at the gate and its subsequent departure.
UA New Boarding Process
United Airlines (UA) is introducing an updated boarding process to enhance efficiency. Starting from October 26, passengers in economy class who have purchased window seats will have priority in boarding before passengers in middle and aisle seats.
This change is expected to reduce boarding time by approximately two minutes on each flight and will be implemented on both domestic and select international flights, Reported NYTimes.
Airlines continually refine their boarding procedures to streamline operations and increase profitability. Under United’s new seating strategy, referred to as WILMA (Window-Middle-Aisle), boarding will commence with passengers in window seats, followed by those in middle seats, and then those in aisle seats.
Families traveling together on the same flight will also board together.
Not Applicable for First and Business Class
The new boarding process will not apply to first-class and business-class passengers. Preboarding will continue to include individuals with disabilities, unaccompanied minors, active-duty military personnel, and families traveling with children aged 2 or under.
United Airlines conducted successful trials of the WILMA method at five airports, where it significantly reduced boarding times, as per the internal memo. The airline had previously used this system but discontinued it in 2017.
Efforts to improve boarding efficiency aim to minimize the time passengers spend waiting in the aisle and the time it takes for individuals to stand up from their seats to accommodate fellow passengers within their row.
According to John Milne, an associate professor specializing in engineering and management at Clarkson University, United’s change represents a positive step in this direction.
However, Milne suggests that further improvements are possible based on his research. Boarding groups could be subdivided for different seat locations on the plane’s front and back halves.
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