Now that NASA has cut the space shuttle program, the greatest minds in the space program now have some free time to solve important problems here on earth . . . like boarding an airplane.

Dr. Jason Steffen is an astrophysicist at Fermilab, and he’s found a better way for airlines to board passengers. 

Most flights board from the back of the plane to the front, in groups of rows.  And Dr. Steffen says that’s pretty much the worst way to do it.  Sending in all the passengers from one area of the plane at once guarantees that there’ll be a bottleneck, since they all fight for space in the overhead bins.

Dr. Steffen ran a computer model that showed how letting people board whenever they want would actually be a faster way to fill the plane.  But he found an even faster method.

People with window seats should board first, so that people in aisle seats don’t have to keep getting up and clogging the aisle to let people in.

Odd rows on one side of the plane would board first, followed by the window seats on the other side.  Then middle seats go, and finally aisle seats.  Then they do it all over again for the even rows.

Everyone has plenty of room, and they’re spread out all over the plane.  And Dr. Steffen’s computer says that airlines could cut boarding time in HALF by using his method.


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