America west airlines develops efficient boarding strategies

Menkes H.L. Van Den Briel, J. René Villalobos, Gary L. Hogg, Tim Lindemann, Anthony V. Mulé

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


In September 2003, America West Airlines implemented a new aircraft boarding strategy that reduces the airline's average passenger boarding time by over two minutes, or approximately 20 percent, for full and nearly full flights. The strategy, developed by a team of Arizona State University and America West Airline's personnel, is a hybrid between traditional back-to-front boarding and outside-inside boarding used by other airlines. Field observations, numerical results of analytical models, and simulation studies provided information that resulted in an improved aircraft-boarding strategy termed reverse pyramid. With the new boarding strategy, passengers still have personal seat assignments, but rather than boarding by rows from the back to the front of the airplane, they board in groups minimizing expected passenger interference in the airplane. The analytical, simulation, and implementation results obtained show that the method represents a significant improvement in terms of boarding time over traditional pure back-to-front, outside-inside boarding strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Programming: integer, applications
  • Transportation: travel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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