KLM introduces innovative boarding technique

KLM new boarding process
The new boarding process sees passengers seated in the window seats board first, followed by passengers in the middle seats, before those with aisle seats complete the process.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has introduced an innovative new boarding procedure in which all passengers get an individual boarding number to speed-up the process. The new boarding technique will be used on three European flights a day out of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

In the new boarding process, passengers get a boarding number at the gate, which is based on their seat number. When boarding begins, the numbers are displayed in a sequence on screens at the gate.

After passengers with reduced mobility, those travelling with children and SkyPriority members have boarded, the new process comes into effect. The order in which the numbers are displayed ensures that passengers with a window seat board first, starting at the rear of the aircraft. Next, passengers seated in the middle seats can board, after which the passengers with aisle seats are allowed to board. This ensures that passengers can wait their turn in the boarding lounge, rather than having to queue up in long lines at the gate.

Pieter Elbers, Managing Director and CEO of KLM, said: “I am proud that KLM is the first airline in the world to develop an innovative boarding procedure of this kind. Apart from ensuring greater comfort for our passengers, the faster boarding procedure will speed up KLM’s turnaround time, which means our aircraft will spend less time on the ground. This will allow us to further optimise our service schedule.”

The new boarding technique is currently being trialled on flights to Berlin, Budapest and Helsinki, but KLM is hoping to extend it to other routes in the coming months.



Comments are closed.

  1. Big Daddy

    LH tried this many years ago and it did not work at all. The best way is still and always will be rear to front.

    • Kaj

      Another problem is when commuting in peak hours hand-luggage space is filled up in no time so all with window aisle seats will end up having to look for space for carry on baggage!

  2. Ahmed Sultan, ITC

    What would be the situation for a couple who are assigned to a window seat and a middle seat?

    • Ryan Ghee

      Very good question! I guess they would have to board separately and then be reunited on the aircraft.

      • Barry Graham

        I would agree, and I don’t see a problem with that. I also think that boarding rear to front would make more sense although it seems so obvious that there has to be a good reason why it’s not done that way.

    • Tom

      What’s the matter with being separated for 10 min?

      • Alex

        I work at Sydney Airport in queueing. Most people like to stay together, and will get angry if they are separated. Some even freak out if they are separated. One even lodged a formal complaint because his school group of 45+ passengers were split up over 6 customs queues.

        You can optimise a system all you want, but passengers’ brains go numb once they enter the airport. Not only that, most passengers aren’t very “agreeable” (I routinely get abused almost every day). At the end of the day, passengers will always find a way to break any system.

  3. Tim

    The picture linked to the story is the Fokker 70 which is used on most City hopper routes (Old KLM UK). These aircraft board via busses in Amsterdam, which does not need any special boarding procedures. The aircraft itself takes 10-15 minutes to board with no real issue with who boards first.

    On larger aircraft there is no current issue with boarding by seat row number (or zone in the US) as all current seasoned and vacation travelers understand this process, if it’s not broken why are they trying to fix it?

  4. Bill Nelson

    Numbers already appear at the boarding gate and passengers for the most part ignore them. So do many handling agents who get fed up trying to explain to stupid passengers that it’s not their turn to board…yet. Passengers just want to get on-board and dump their hand-baggage in the first available hat bin. Can’t see it changing.

    • OPSCSC

      It’s a pity you call passengers stupid. I think it’s up to the staff to explain and inform passengers about matters that seem logical to people who work daily in an airport environment.

      ‘A vessel runs aground if its crew has a false perception of the seabed.’

  5. Gregg

    The best way to speed up the boarding process is to fix the carry on baggage problems. That is what slows everything down.

    • Juan

      Totally agree with Gregg. Great to see an innovation on sequence of boarding, but main pain is the lack of space for carry luggage. The solution is redesigning the cabin, allowing 1 suitcase per passanger. What happens with all the empty space where checked in luggage use to go??? Nice try

  6. Bryan Mullans

    The main issue I see with this is that the aisle seat passengers are boarding last and therefore have a greater risk of finding no hand-baggage storage in the overheads…therefore they have greatest inconvenience as the chances are that their hand baggage ends up on the floor, under the seat in front, reducing legroom and directly affecting the comfort of the individual and creating a trip hazard for those passengers requiring the toilets in-flight – not sitting on the aisle.

    • vgnair

      When the luggage people, old and family are allowed to board first, this become redundant.
      I feel this move by KLM is a good to reduce the jam on the path in the flight.