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Southwest Airlines: A US airline that wants to speed up boarding with loud music

Electronic dance music and hip hop

The airline wants to speed up boarding with loud music

In order to shorten the precious time on the ground, the US airline relies on special measures. With the help of disco, hip-hop and EDM, passengers are supposed to get on the plane faster.


Southwest Airlines in Atlanta is testing the length of avoidable lines when boarding a plane. Ideas range from colorful rugs to music.

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Let’s go on vacation! You are sitting with your fellow travelers at the airport gate and long before that The ascent begins, the first people to line up. When the announcement is made, passengers drag themselves to the plane in small, slow steps – in order to safely stow their luggage and find the right place for the flight ticket.

You are probably familiar with this process. cost Airlines Lots of time and therefore money: Average handling time is 40 minutes for a smaller Boeing 737 and 50 minutes for a larger one. “If we can shave off a few of those minutes at every turn, we can handle more flights,” Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines’ chief operating officer, told the Wall Street Journal.

Southwest Airlines passengers waiting to board the plane.


Save two to three minutes per trip

The airline already has a plan to save two or three of those costly minutes on the ground per flight. “Research has shown that boarding jams have the greatest effect on response times,” said Masoud Bazarkan, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach.

In his research, Bazargan found that when passengers cannot find their seat or are in the wrong seat, delays accumulate within seconds. “They block the flow of passengers in the entire aisle,” he says. This is why there is free seat selection on certain Southwest Airlines test flights on a “first come, first served” basis. The handbag racks are larger a plan.

“Excuse me, this will be my seat …”: If passengers sit in the wrong seat or look for it for a long time, it costs the airline a lot of time.

Imago/Frank Concern

Carpets of different colors and children’s music

Southwest is now testing eleven concepts at Atlanta International Airport, and best practices will be adopted. Signs at the gates inform passengers that they are entering the “Innovation Zone”. Some techniques make sense right away: A walking employee checks oversized bags or checks in small pets long before boarding begins. There are also large screens and lights that provide information about the process.

On the other hand, other metrics sound pretty crazy: Southwest is testing different colors of carpet as floor coverings. Loud music is also played on the passenger bridge because the team found that loud music makes people move faster. In addition to disco, electronic dance music, hip-hop and children’s music are tested.

Does loud music make these passengers move? The US carrier Southwest Airlines is testing it.


The innovations are only temporary

Watterson told the Wall Street Journal he was skeptical when he heard the innovation team idea. “People are standing in line. How can they move faster there?” Still, preliminary results show that music and pre-recorded announcements of seat availability and other information make a difference. In this way, questions that flight attendants hear over and over when boarding are answered once they stand in line.

Will all international airports soon board loud music? Lisa Hingson, chief innovation officer for Southwest, says no. The innovations would only be tested in Atlanta and were temporary. Only what has already proven itself in experiments can be brought up in the future. “We’re not looking for quick fixes,” says Hingson.

What do you think if electronic dance music, hip hop or disco is playing while boarding the plane? Does this lift your spirits and speed up the process? Or would you rather be annoyed with him?

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