Every time you are traveling somewhere by plane, you might have to pack, get to the airport, undergo security, find your gate and — within the last step before you may finally loosen up while being taken to your destination —board the aircraft.
“Boarding is one of the difficult parts of air travel and frustrating to lots of passengers,” said Leslie Josephs, CNBC’s airline reporter.
Within the Seventies, Southwest Airlines’ average turn time, from the moment a plane arrives on the gate to the time it leaves, was only 10 minutes. Today, it’s more like 45 to 55 minutes.
“We had smaller aircraft, only 122 seats on those original 737-200s,” said Chris Parks, Southwest’s director of innovation. “Southwest has grown and develop into more popular.”
Flight delays cost airlines and passengers about $33 billion annually, in accordance with government data. But experts say speeding up the boarding process isn’t really a priority for airlines — they’ve monetized all the things about it.
“The key airlines have raised billions of dollars off of their loyalty programs, so it is extremely necessary that they keep them appealing enough for purchasers,” said Josephs.
“The several boarding groups that we see today have emerged because people value their priority in boarding,” said Kerry Philipovitch, former senior vice chairman of customer support at American Airlines. “So airlines are using that to generate more revenue and reward their best customers.
“Does that slow the method down?” Kerry added. “Perhaps.”
For the reason that end of 2022, Southwest has been testing latest concepts to enhance its turn times. The corporate’s goal is to shave off two minutes.
“Having extra minutes at our scale with coming up on like 800 aircraft, you do the mathematics — [it] adds up really quickly,” Parks said. “The more that we’re in a position to get aircraft turned on time and when it’s on the bottom allows us to fly more reliably for our customers, in addition to it allows us to fly our aircraft more times in a day to assist keep our costs low.”
CNBC flew out to Atlanta to see how Southwest’s study goes.
Watch the video above to learn more.