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Published on Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Gatwick launches trial of 'bingo boarding'


Gatwick has begun a two-month trial to try to speed up the boarding process.

The trial includes boarding people in window seats first, starting at the back, followed by middle then aisle seats.

Gatwick said different boarding methods could reduce the journey from airport gate to seat by about 10% and might reduce delays.

Passengers who require special assistance, those who have booked priority boarding and young families will still board first.

Other groups who want to sit together will be boarded by row, starting at the back of the plane.

Gatwick said it was experimenting with flexible boarding patterns, 'depending on the passenger make up on any individual flight - number of families, individual travellers etc'.

Instead of the usual tannoy announcement informing which rows are boarding, seat numbers will be displayed on a digital screen.

The BBC quoted a spokesman from Gatwick saying: "Passengers can be seated until their seat number comes up on the large screen and then board the aircraft without queuing.

"Some even appear to enjoy it and are calling it 'bingo boarding'."

Gatwick said the trial was being run only from gate 101 at present.

Abhi Chacko, head of enabling technologies and digital innovation, Gatwick Airport said: "We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

"Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time. By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage."

What the Mole says:

Anything that reduces the hassle of boarding and cuts down on the pushing and shoving on aircraft as we all try to squeeze past each other in the narrow aisles is to be welcomed, but aisle seat passengers at the front of the plane might worry that the overhead bins will be full by the time they board last, leaving them no space for their own hand luggage.

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