We Hate Airline Boarding. Let's Fix That


EDIT: Wow, what a response! We’ve already had UXers from all over the world step up to the challenge. If you’re looking for a way to network or get involved with a UX project to boost your resume and experience, we’d love to have you - regardless of your level of experience or knowledge.

###We Hate Airline Boarding

I was cruising through Twitter today and came across this tweet from Sarah Doody:

Hey #ux friends who want to be problem SPOTTERS - this would be a good problem to solve. These line up things at the airline gate are a disaster. pic.twitter.com/gr3YjoP0vy

— Sarah Doody (@sarahdoody) December 14, 2017

It sparked an interesting conversation with Sarah and Daniel Bosniak (on Twitter as @aerozg) about the boarding process as a whole, and how interesting it would be to attack the whole process as a UX project.

While I’ve seen quite a bit of runs at fixing the boarding pass based on personal pet peeves, I’ve never seen a data-driven, customer-centric approach to airline boarding process. The pain of airline boarding and the chaos around it is fairly well known, but solutions seem to be lacking. It got me thinking: wouldn’t this be a great project for new UX pros to attack to gain some practical experience?

###Who Wants In?

So that’s why I’m here. I want to attack this problem, but I want to do it by leading a group of interested volunteers to research, design and develop customer-based solutions.

My mind immediately jumped to the fine folks of this community. There are a lot of passionate professionals here looking for experience to build their portfolio.

###What’s In It for Me?

  • Learn some new skills
  • Build your portfolio with a real-world project
  • Learn dynamics of working in a UX team
  • Build your professional network with other UX pros

###Sign Me Up

Are you interested in joining the group? Visit LetsFixBoarding.com/join to get started making the world a better place, or simply respond to this thread.


I’m very interested, Doug. Before I put my name in, how do you imagine the project will look in terms of timeframe and commitment?


The idea will be to break down the overall project into multiple features, and to follow a ln established model to develop proposals.

For instance, we may look at improving the boarding pass as a feature. We’d break that down into a few phases.

Research the likes and dislikes around current design.

Ideate potential new designs to solve identified problems.

Test low-fi mockups with stakeholders.

Design hi-fi mockups based off testing results and research.

Oversee development and implementation of new design.

Research stakeholder reactions to new boarding pass design post-deployment.

Ideally, you could be involved in anything from a whole feature to one aspect of the feature (Research, design, ideation, etc.) At minimum this means comforting to a couple of hours, but eventually you’ll get out of it what you put into it.


I love this idea @dougcollins and we’ll support you however I can to get it off the ground.
But just a note: we’re about to go into summer holidays (3 weeks at the end of next week) where we’re going to be in critical support only mode.


Thanks! I’m working on a plan to make the project more autonomous. Hopefully minimal support will be all I need :slight_smile:


I’m fighting my personal war against the airlines on every media channel!
I’m in :slight_smile:


Would love to get involved - :slight_smile:


@dopamino and @annabelle_andre, thank you! I’ve added your name to the list. I’ll have an announcement later today on project organization and communication. Keep your eyes tuned!

@DavidSkodt, any thoughts on the plan for participation I outlined?


Plan looks solid. I still have questions about the process, but I am thinking we’ll cover those as we go.
Sign me up. :slight_smile:


Sounds great - I will sign you up! Could you shoot me an e-mail to Doug@DenverUXer.com so that I have your contact information?

@annabelle_andre and @dopamino - if you could do the same, that would be very helpful.

In other news, I’ve purchased and begun work on the domain LetsFixBoarding.com to gather interested parties and serve as a central hub. Getting things set up there will be my weekend project :slight_smile: I’ve also setup the Twitter account @LetsFixBoarding to distribute some announcements as well.

I hope to have more information and a more coherent plan out at the beginning of next week. Stay tuned!


I would love to join! Anything I can do, I’ll glad to help :blush:!!


I would love to help out as well!! I’ve read the info you shared, will send an email as well for contact info :slight_smile:


@uxinpink and @dani_maria_ali, that’s awesome! I’m excited to have you both on-board. If you haven’t already, please send an email to Doug@DenverUXer.com and I will respond back with more information and next steps.


I would love to join. Seems like it would be fun.


Hi @sarah_soha333 - it’d be great to have you! If you haven’t already, please drop by http://letsfixboarding.com/join to sign up. That will make sure I have you on the roster and get you in the loop with all the getting started information.


Damn this was a year ago, thought it was a new post until i checked the date


I recently flew to Finland with my partner and 4 year old who is on the autism spectrum. I found the technical requirements really easy and didn’t really need boarding passes as everybody just scanned our passports anyway or we just handed the bundle over and used the electronic screens for up to date info.

As for the real-world experience, it was a lot harder than it should have been:

  • People in a hurry, cheating and using the family queue at security and getting frustrated because we were taking our time being deliberately relaxed about the process.
  • My daughter getting picked out for explosive checking and having a mini-meltdown because they wanted to scan her.
  • Having to stand in long queues meant having to carry her for long periods of time. She is tall and weighs nearly 40lbs.
  • Having to board with everybody else meant fighting my way through the crowd else waiting even longer with the equivalent of 18 bags of sugar in one arm.
  • Very limited seating at the boarding gate and no priority boarding even on to the bus.
  • confusion due to no-one explaining that we would have to go through immigration control between checking in and finding our gate.
  • Toilets not placed at regular intervals and close to key hurdles like aeroplane boarding and arrival gates or just before security.

I could further add with lots of niggles on the plane but those are out of scope.

So, please look at how disabled people, neurodiverse people and their families go through the process.

On a positive note, my daughter used to be scared of escalators but now loves them.


What happened with this project @dougcollins?


It… failed. I take ownership for that. I bit off more than I could chew, and I wasn’t prepared for the level of work or the response that it got.

I fail at things a lot. I’d say I probably fail at about 75% of the time I try something new. I learned a lot from this, but feel terribly about leaving everyone out in the cold.


I am sure the participants learned a lot as well!