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Boarding Processes: Europe/Asia vs. US
You often talk about how Asian and European carriers manage to board their planes much quicker than their North American counterparts, but never elaborate on the major differences in the boarding processes. Would you mind expanding on this? Perhaps a post outlining the differences, and what you think can be improved would be of interest to other readers, as I know it would be to me.
I’ve experienced this as well. I My guess, and it’s a guess, is that it isn’t the boarding process per say. Delays in departure seem to be when the ground agents are trying to determine if anymore standby customers can get seated or sometimes upgrades to premium cabins. So I think its an ground organization problem as opposed to how fast people get on a plane. Seems like every foreign carrier once the door shuts it pushes back. Not so here. Interesting question.
I wonder if it is also a carry on issue. Most of Ben’s reported international flights are long distance where most passengers are allowed a free checked bag so they’re not trying to bring their life’s belongings as carry on with the attendant issues of searching for space, gate checking etc.
I think it’s also cultural, in a way.
Americans travel less on average than Europeans, for example, and we use less “collective” transportation. If you’re accustomed to quickly boarding a subway car or bus, you’re probably more prepared to board an airplane and get situated.
I don’t think it’s a passenger thing at least in the European countries I frequent. The widebodies, even though they have more passengers seem to board quicker (although I never flown on an A380). At the larger, busier US airports during busy hours, I’ve sat at the gate for an hour with door closed before pushback. And I agree with MarkS, at most of the European airports I fly from, once the cabin door closes, its pushback time.
And the US Carriers seem to board very early perhaps to avoid a late pushback or maybe just to relieve gate congestion inside the terminal. And there’s no escaping the fact that US flights fly full these days.