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None of these simulations seem to take into account the usual activities that delay boarding:

* Not all of first class boards early, many flyers stay in the lounge till later and then hold up the aisle getting their bag into the overhead

* Passengers board together regardless of boarding order. Friends flying with an elite member can board early and not with their group.

* When the overhead is full passengers must swim upstream to bring their bag to be checked.

* Although there are plenty of bathrooms near the gate, many passengers insist on using the lav the minute they board. They again end up swimming upstream holding up the queue

* Seat stealing - whether intentional or not, some passengers help themselves to a roomier exit row seat (or on one occasion I've seen them in first class) hoping no one shows up to take that seat. Once the passenger with that seat arrives, the original passenger has to get their belongings, perhaps clear the overhead and again possibly fight their way against people boarding.

Southwest's self serve seating helps in some regards, but this style of boarding will never be used my the major carriers - at least in the U.S.

edit: typos

I prefer Southwest's self serve style because it rewards those who check in earliest. Well, that is, if you consider it rewarding to be the first on and first off (as I do when I get to sit in row 1).

On a recent flight using Azul (Brazil's "Jet Blue", same owner), people were boarded via the front and back at the same time. First time I had seen that, though not sure if it was any quicker. Perceptions of quickness are often dependent on where you are sitting.

Southwest's procedure used to be better when you had to get to the gate to get your number. That really encouraged people to get to the gate early. Now that you can checkin at home you can waltz to the gate.

I flew Virgin Australia within Australia a few weeks ago and they did front and rear boarding as well. I'm also not sure if it was any quicker.

But for heavily elite flights, wouldn't that work as "random" after the top tier?

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