Airplane Boarding Methods that Reduce Risk from COVID-19.

Research paper by R R John Milne, Camelia C Delcea, Liviu-Adrian LA Cotfas

Indexed on: 03 Nov '20Published on: 03 Nov '20Published in: Safety Science


Airlines have recently instituted practices to reduce the risk of their passengers becoming infected with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Some airlines block their airplanes' middle seats to preserve social distancing among seated passengers. In this context, we present six new boarding methods and compare their performance with that of the two best boarding methods used to date with social distancing. We evaluate the eight boarding methods using three performance metrics related to passenger health and one operational metric (airplane boarding time) for a one-door airplane. The three health metrics reflect the risks of virus spread by passengers through the air and surfaces (e.g. headrests and seat arms) and consider the amount of aisle social distancing between adjacent boarding passengers walking towards their seats. For an airline that highly values the avoidance of window seat risk, the best method to use is one of the new methods: back-to-front by row - WilMA, though it will result in a longer time to complete boarding of the airplane. Airlines placing greater emphasis on fast boarding times- while still providing favorable values for the health metrics-will be best served by using new methods back-to-front by row - WilMA - offset 2 and - offset 3 when aisle social distancing is 1 m and 2 m respectively. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.