Trial will explore boarding by seat number and position
Gatwick trials new aircraft boarding tech to reduce queues and improve speed
New aircraft boarding technology is being trialled by Gatwick, London’s second airport, in a bid to avoid queues and congestion at gates.
During a two-month trial, large digital screens and staff will be placed on of the airport’s Ggte  to show passengers the order to board.
The trial will see a number of seat sequences tested, like boarding window seats first, then middle seats and then isle seats.
It is hoped that sequences will be found that make the process faster, more relaxing and reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage.
Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families – will still board first during the trial.
Gatwick said modelling indicates that smart boarding techniques may be able to reduce boarding times by up to 10%, compared to conventional methods.
Abhi Chacko, head of enabling technologies and digital innovation at 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.”