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Gatwick trials boarding aircraft by window seats first

London Gatwick is trialling a new boarding technique in a bid to avoid queues and congestion at gates.

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During the two-month trial, large digital screens and staff will be placed at Gate 101 to show passengers the order to board.  A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage.

Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front with window seats first, middle seats next and aisle seats last.

Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families – will still board first during the trial.

Modelling indicates that these techniques may be able to reduce boarding times by up to 10%, compared to conventional methods.

Learnings from the trial, as well as feedback from passengers, will be used to decide whether to take this concept forward or not.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport said:

“We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time.  By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”

London Gatwick and VINCI Airports have been early technology innovators for many years. The use of technology to improve operations leads to further ongoing success, particularly true given London Gatwick’s role as a gateway, and as its traffic volumes are predicted to continue to rise.  Following its acquisition earlier this year, London Gatwick has become one of three VINCI Airports Innovation Centres of Excellence.  

Gatwick

The first easyJet holidays’ summer customers take off from Gatwick as business continues to return to airport

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It’s another welcome sign that the airport is starting to pick up since lockdown began to ease.

easyJet holidays has started taking its first ever summer customers on holiday since the launch of the business in November last year and since travel restrictions and quarantine advice changed.

Customers will be jetting off from London Gatwick airport to enjoy holidays to the likes of Crete, Rhodes, Malta and Turkey. When customers arrive on holiday there will be local gifts to enjoy courtesy of easyJet holidays and their destination partners to celebrate the first arrivals.

To help support and prepare customers for what to expect on holiday in these times, easyJet holidays has created a customer video and provided detailed information pages on its website – a Covid-19 response and a safety and wellbeing centre.

Matt Callaghan, Customer Director at easyJet holidays said:

“This is a really big moment for us and it is hugely exciting to be taking our first customers away this summer. We know how important holidays are to us all and we also recognise that for many a holiday this year feels even more significant. We’ve made a series of commitments and put in a number of steps to help ensure customers can have a safe and enjoyable holiday. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to all of our partners for the part they have played in getting ready for today.”

Stephen King, Head of Airline Relations at Gatwick Airport, said:

“The launch of easyJet holidays from Gatwick Airport is a really significant step off the back of an incredibly challenging few months, not just for the aviation industry but for individuals and families across the country. For people to have the opportunity to get away to easyJet holidays’ fantastic range of destinations from Gatwick this summer is great news and something certain to give many families a huge boost.

“As an airport, we have implemented numerous new measures to ensure the safety of both passengers and staff travelling through Gatwick, which will help keep passenger safe and help to rebuild confidence in flying, whether to see family and friends, to enjoy a much-needed holiday or to travel for business.”

Today also marks the day that the new comic book inspired face masks for children will start to be available on easyJet flights. The masks, designed by Irish artist Will Sliney, best known for his work on Marvel comics Spider-Man and Star Wars, are just one element of the new measures the airline has introduced on flights to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all customers and crew onboard.

easyJet holidays has great value deals on a range of holidays bookable all the way through to October next year. All holidays include 23kg of luggage per person, with transfers included on beach holidays.

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