The real challenge in the skies is on the ground
One of the biggest challenges in aviation is making sure that both passengers and employees are satisfied while keeping costs low. Passengers don’t want to spend their time at an airport waiting in long queues and employees would like to see their shift preferences taken care of – or at the very least, given serious consideration. This balancing act also happens to take place in an industry that is constantly battling with tight budgets and narrow margins.
How long passengers have to wait significantly affects their overall experience. No one wants to spend their time at the airport waiting in line. They’d rather shop, dine and enjoy themselves instead of being stuck in a queue.
The math behind checking in
Planning for the right passenger experience involves looking at passenger arrivals over the entire day. A typical day at a typical airport would see passengers arriving throughout the day, with the peak hours predominantly in the morning and in the afternoon.
Say that we have 90 passengers arriving at a check-in point. According to service standards, it takes an average of four minutes to serve a passenger at check-in, which means that an agent can serve a maximum of 15 passengers per hour. If 90 passengers are queuing up, the math would come up to six agents handling six check-in desks.
But this assumption would only work as long as passengers arrive at exactly four-minute intervals. That is never the case. Every new day in the aviation industry is a new planning puzzle waiting to happen. Schedules can change at a moment’s notice, flights can get cancelled, passenger loads may differ and the amount and weight of baggage changes from passenger to passenger. Even without these variations, there would still be the ever-present problem of passengers constantly arriving at different times.
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