KLM’s new boarding procedure begins

KLM, starting 1st November, has begun a new trial boarding procedure on flights to Berlin, Budapest and Helsinki. Their official press release is here.


Their policy is described as follows:

What does KLM’s innovative boarding procedures entail?
Passengers get a boarding number at the gate. This number is based on their seat in the aircraft. When boarding begins, the numbers are displayed in a sequence on screens at the gate. The order in which the numbers are displayed ensures that passengers with a window seat board first, starting at the rear of the aircraft. They are followed by passengers seated in the midsection of the aircraft, after which the passengers with aisle seats are allowed to board. This ensures that passengers can wait their turn in the comfort of the lounge, instead of waiting in line and having to step over other passengers. As always, disabled passengers and parents with babies will be allowed to board first. SkyPriority passengers are given the lowest numbers and will go on board next.

The order sounds sensible though I'm pretty sure “the comfort of the lounge” should be read as “the bedlam at the gate”! I can imagine there will be some teething problems such as gate agents not enforcing this algorithm strictly enough or being overly draconian. But if there's one Dutch phrase I've learnt and is appropriate here, it's:

Meten = weten

(To measure is to know)

Hopefully the rest of the plane won't mind being lab rats. I do wonder though what happens if a large group, such as a hen party, misses their boarding slot. I imagine such a basic question will be addressed within their algorithms!


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  1. This is a terrible idea. Business travelers who prefer the aisle will be annoyed that the overhead bins fill up with window and middle seaters.

  2. I always travel Business and on the very rare occasion when the bins have filled up, the cabin crew find space for Business passengers’ bags and make sure they get them at the door before disembarking. The whole idea sounds very sensible but it will only work if the gate staff police it properly.

    • If you are traveling in Business Class you are probably fine but if you are in economy this will be an annoyance if you are not able to get your rolly bag in. Maybe they should offer a pay extra for advance boarding opportunity like Southwest or easyJet.

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