Optimally organizing passengers boarding/deboarding an airplane offers a potential way to reduce the airplane turn time. The main contribution of our work is that we evaluate seven boarding strategies and two structured deboarding strategies by using a surrogate experimental test. Instead of boarding a real or mocked airplane, we carried out the experiment by organizing 40 participants to board a school bus with ten rows of four seats, symmetrically distributed on a single, central aisle. Experimental results confirm that the optimized strategies, i.e., Steffen and Steffen-lug, are superior to the traditional ones, i.e., Back-to-front, Window-to-aisle, and Random in time-saving and stability. However, the two structured deboarding strategies failed to reduce the deboarding time, and this result strongly suggests the prerequisites of applying such strategies only when, on average, passengers have a large amount of luggage. Besides, we further carried out a questionnaire survey of participants’ preferences on seat layout and discussed how those preferences influence the boarding time.
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