There’s a physicist who thinks he’s got airplane boarding all figured out. According to his models, if you get everyone lined up properly before they get on the plane, boarding will go a lot faster. It all sounds good on paper, but the moment you introduce real people the whole thing’s going to collapse.
First off, good luck getting everyone lined up properly outside the gate. How do you handle people who were in the bathroom during the boarding call? Or rushing over from security or another plane? Let’s assume you make them get at the end of the line. How do you handle the people already there? You’re either going to need extra staff to examine tickets and line people up, or you’re going to need a diagram of the plane laid out on the carpet so people can find their “seats.” Either way, you think there’s going to be room for all of this at the gate? There’s a reason they board people in groups: they don’t want massive lines or throngs of people stretching out through the concourses.
But hey, let’s say for argument’s sake that the airlines get that figured out. How does it address the problem of the idiots when they get on the plane? For example, you’ve got Too Much Baggage Guy, who can’t be bothered to check his luggage so he roams up and down the aisle to find a place to stash his crap. You’ve got This is My Personal Dressing Room Guy, who blocks the aisle for ten minutes while he takes off his jacket, folds it up neatly, rolls up his sleeves, and generally gets comfortable before he bothers to sit his fat ass down. Then there’s the Safety Nazi who straps herself into her aisle seat before the others in her row arrive, and then gets all huffy when she has to unbuckle herself so you can get by. And let’s not forget Mr. I Was Hoping You Wouldn’t Show Up who picks an arbitrary seat because his sucks and he figures either you won’t show or you’ll be content to take his crummy seat. This guy may also be known as I Forgot How Numbers and Letters Work and I Can’t Find My Seat Guy.
There are probably others, but these are the people I run into most often when I fly. I’ll never understand what’s so difficult about carrying one bag on board, sitting down, and putting said single bag under the seat. Get on, get out of the way, wait for takeoff.
You want to get planes in the air faster? Forget the elaborate schemes and figure out how to reintroduce common courtesy to the general population.