Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Preseated passengers

Have airline passengers seated by row in the waiting area
 
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Most airlines call up passengers by rows when boarding to avoid congestion in the plane. The result is often a major congestion in the waiting area because passengers can't wait until their row is called. To avoid this set up the seats in the waiting area in aisles and mark each aisles by row like "This aisle reserved for rows 50 to 59." When boarding passengers are let in by aisle. That way passengers can find their place in the line before the plane is even at the gate.

Those who still go to the gate at the wrong time get a little dunce hat to wear and have to wait until all others have boarded.

kbecker, Jun 13 2003

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       Nifty in that it would also help resolve that 'I'm sorry, we sold this seat twice, you'll have to leave the plane' issue, before it's too late.
RayfordSteele, Jun 13 2003
  

       But then you'd miss out on the "Excuse me, we need you to sit *here*" as you're redirected to 1st class - where you proceed, without hesitation, to drink like a fish from an *actual* glass, and eat *actual* food with *actual* silverware on *ac...
thumbwax, Jun 15 2003
  

       So I get to sit next to the grunting guy who can't keep his elbows to himself for 20 minutes prior to the flight as well as during?   

       Oh what the hell, have a croissant.
fshhhh, Jun 15 2003
  

       //So I get to sit next to the grunting guy who can't keep his elbows to himself for 20 minutes prior to the flight as well as during?//   

       Easy solution: be a _more_ obnoxious guy. Take your shoes and socks off and pick the damp, stinking, fungus ridden skin from between your toes. You can be sure that he'll request a seat change before boarding.
FloridaManatee, Jun 15 2003
  

       I don't see how sending six (or eight) people scurrying down that skinny aisle all heading for the same row would be better. I think the most efficient boarding method (this depends on people paying attention so I know it is doomed to failure) would be to seat those in seats A thru D consecutively, alternating even and odd numbered rows. Viola! Minimal congestion, except for the doofus in the little pointy hat. Hey, where did he come from? Call airport security! Damn, now he's locked himself in the lav. Release the sleeping gas. We'll have him out in a couple of minutes.
Canuck, Jun 15 2003
  

       Even if a plane boards in column-major rather than row-major order, having passengers pre-sorted so that they boarded column-major row-secondary would be better than having the board column-major row-random.
supercat, Jun 15 2003
  

       Nah, man - first come, first served festival seating. Disputes settled by arm|indian|thumb/wrestling or paper/scissors/rock.
thumbwax, Jun 15 2003
  

       Arrange the waiting area seating to mimic the aircraft seating layout. For airlines operating multiple aircraft classes, the seats could open and close like movie theatre seats, with the gate agent selecting aircraft type at his/her console. Only the seats matching the aircraft next departing would be available to the waiting passengers. Orient the seating so the rearmost seats are closest to the boarding door. "Column A: Stand up. Turn around. Board the aircraft." Stragglers who miss their column's boarding call wait, as usual. Have a croissant!
gardnertoo, Aug 20 2003
  

       Some airlines like American use a scheme that is basically this, made less granular. The plane is divided up into sections, and your boarding pass is stamped with the name of the section you are in. "Everyone in Zone 1, please board now." I assume the zones are assigned to make the boarding process efficient. From the passenger side, it sure makes knowing when to board easy, especially if the gate announcements are not in your native language.
krelnik, Aug 20 2003
  

       I think the dunce cap can be the solution to more of society's problems. Caught talking too loud at the library? Dunce cap. Instead of traffic tickets, force a driver to have a big "Warning, moron driving" sign mounted on their roof for a while.
Worldgineer, Aug 20 2003
  

       That could be new halfbaked idea, place vending machines with dunce caps in the streets. For a quarter people can buy one and slap it on someone who deserves it. Revenue goes to public schools.
kbecker, Aug 21 2003
  

       Computer generated voices are good enough now that we could program one to read off the passenger manifest in an efficient boarding sequence. No thinking by the gate agent, no "did they call my row yet?" by the passengers. Listen for your name, get on the plane.
gardnertoo, Dec 14 2003
  

       I was once waiting for a flight to England when a PA announcement called Mr. X (my not terribly-common surname) to the gate counter. I went to the agent, and discovered that they were paging a different Mr. X--no relation that I know of (nothing closer than second-cousin) who happened to be on the same flight.
supercat, Dec 15 2003
  

       <Anecdote alert>I remember a particularly bad snowstorm that shut down O'Hare Airport in Chicago for 2 days. As luck would have it, I was flying out during this time.   

       After getting on 10 standby lists for different flights, I just waited for the desk to start calling standby passengers for a nice non-stop flight. I went to the gate and gave my boarding pass and boarded after relating my "good fortune" to the gate agent. We ended up with one passenger too many.   

       Since this was a DC-10, it would have taken much time and fuel to check every passenger, and we would have lost our take-off slot. They counted tickets and heads. They matched. The pilot said "We are leaving" and some poor soul didn't make the flight. That poor soul was not me. <Anecdote alert>   

       I agree with [thumbwax]. Survival of the fittest...or the ones with the biggest balls.
Klaatu, Dec 15 2003
  

       Perhaps the passengers should just be containerized. Cut out all that standing and walking altogether, and save on the cost of seating too. When the 'plane is ready, a giant forklift truck picks up the whole complement of passengers and luggage at once and slots it into a matching cargo area in the fuselage. Unloading is the reverse. Turn-round times would be slashed, and passengers are used to being treated like cattle anyway so they wouldn't notice.

If this gets baked, bags I drive the forklift.
English Bob, Dec 15 2003
  
      
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