TRIALING A NEW BOARDING PROCESS
Worked with a team of service, industrial, and communication designers to design and live-test a new boarding process for a major airline on 12 international and domestic flights serving 2500+ passengers in 2 airports. The new process resulted in 5%-12% faster boarding times and significantly reduced jet bridge congestion.
For this high-stakes test, we built a system to ingested passenger manifests from the airline and apply an algorithm that put passengers into new boarding groups for our new process. It had a live-updating seating chart with 10 variables we could use to tune and visualize the new groups, ensuring passengers were in the right groups to be able to board more efficiently.
To distribute these new boarding groups to passengers, we set up thermal printers at check-in stations that the team used to print out slips for each passenger as they arrived at the gate; passengers would give their name, then the team would look them up on a live-updating passenger table that synced check-ins on our computer and print out their card.
To control the flow of the actual boarding process, we built a server that synced micro-PCs displaying the current boarding group and flight information attached to screens all around the gate, as well as played sound to connected smart speakers. This state was controlled with a web app accessed via an iPad for portability.
The testing concluded in the first week of March 2020, which unfortunately meant the client had to put on hold further development and rollout of the process due to the pandemic. However, the airline was still able to immediately apply lessons learned during the live testing process to their boarding procedures to reduce interactions and increase passenger safety.