Lufthansa’s Subway-Style Boarding

Anyone else out there seen Lufthansa’s Quick Boarding? I saw it on TravelPost’s blog and I’m not sure how I missed it before.

It appears that at some gates in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin/Tegel, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Hamburg and Bremen (yes, all in Germany), you don’t need one of those fancy gate agents to get you on the plane. Nope. You can just board yourself. I’m told it looks something like this.

08_02_20 subwaylhboarding

Ok, maybe not. But this picture (the original, by the way, is from the excellent New York State Archives) shows that this is not a new idea. Back in 1934, these people were boarding subways exactly the way Lufthansa is now boarding aircraft. So what took airlines so long to do this?

Lots of things. Security probably played a role, as did the fact that you would need a lot of these scattered throughout the airport. I imagine that automation is important too. Just dropping a token isn’t going to ensure people are getting on the right flights.

The way Lufthansa has it set up, you take your boarding pass and scan it in the turnstile. That unlocks it and you can board. Once you’re through the turnstile, it spits out your boarding pass stub for you to keep. If you’re on the waitlist, you can watch a monitor showing who has cleared and gotten themselves a seat. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you can swipe your temporary boarding pass (saying you’re on the list) and it will spit out a new one for you. Nice.

I’m not sure how this works if you check-in online and print your boarding pass. Actually, I’m guessing it doesn’t since it requires a magnetic stripe, but it’s a start.

You can get more info and pictures (real ones) here.

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