Re: poly: Altruism? and Cutting queue delay

From: Hal Finney <>
Date: Fri Nov 13 1998 - 16:18:37 PST

Richard Schroeppel, <>, writes:
> Airplane boarding & disembarking speed
> The airlines are interested in reducing the plane-parked time needed
> for loading & unloading passengers. As a too frequent flier, so am I.
> Two suggestions:
> a) Board passengers in window seats first, rather than back-to-front.

When I fly United Airlines they do something like this. The plane has
a center aisle with three seats on each side. Passengers board by
zones, where zone 1 is the back window seats, zone 2 is the back
middle seats and the window seats from the middle of the plane,
zone 3 is the back aisles, the middle middles, and the front windows,
etc, up to zone 6.

> b) When disembarking, passengers in seats should yield to those moving
> in the aisle. Presently, we see a block point that starts near the
> door and proceeds slowly to the back of the plane. In front of the
> block point, the aisle is mostly clear and passengers are exiting
> rapidly. In back of the block point, the aisle is jammed with people
> who are ready to exit, but blocked. The block point is caused by a
> couple of people removing luggage from the overhead bins. We see
> people in the aisle politely waiting for the current row of seats to
> empty, while stopping dozens of people behind them from either exiting
> or unloading their own overhead luggage. If we followed a rule that
> the aisle has priority, most of the aisle would empty rapidly, allowing
> the process of unloading the overhead bins to proceed in parallel.

This is a specific case of the general rule that when traffic merges,
the side with more cars/people stacked up behind it should get priority.
Unfortunately most people don't follow this rule. They are polite and
let the other side merge in, forgetting that their politeness is also
impacting everyone behind them (whom they can't see, I guess).

Another place you see this is when a freeway is heavily congested, and a
lane up ahead is being closed. Often you'll find that the obstructed lane
has the fastest moving traffic as you approach the obstacle, contrary to
what you might expect. This is because people in that lane are merging
out of it as they see that there is a problem ahead. But then at the
actual obstacle, people from the blocked lane merge one to one with the
other lane(s), even though there are many more people in the other lanes.
The result is that the blocked lane gets more of its cars moving forward
than the other lanes.

Received on Sat Nov 14 05:14:42 1998

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