What is the fastest way to deboard a plane
According to a study published
in the Journal of Air Transport Management in 2014, a algorithm developed by authors at Northwestern University suggests that a structured deboarding may actually reduce deplaning time by almost half on a full aircraft.
The simulation models passenger interaction as they move from the back of the plane towards the front and assumes that passengers have their carry-on luggage stowed under the seat in front of them or in the overhead bins close to their seat.
Based on the results of the simulation, it turns out that the fastest way to de-board the plane is to have passengers exit by columns, not by rows. In this method, first, the passengers seated e.g., in the aisle seat “C” will disembark from front to the back, followed by the next aisle column “D” and so on.
Depending on the size and occupancy of the aircraft, saving rates vary between 5 to 50%. The rate of improvement is the smallest when the aircraft is small and half full. As the number of the passengers increase, so does the rate of improvement. When modeled for Airbus 320 and Boeing 757-200 (carrying more than 150 passengers), deplaning time is reduced by almost 50% when the plane is full and about 40% on an aircraft that is 80% full (which is closer to the actual average load factor of 85.4% reported
by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics before the pandemic)