The Inefficiency of Airplane Boarding and the Soaring Costs of Healthcare

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

Aug 18, 2023

3 min read


The Inefficiency of Airplane Boarding and the Soaring Costs of Healthcare


When it comes to boarding airplanes, the standard method employed by airlines has been proven to be time-consuming and unsatisfactory for passengers. On the other hand, studies have shown that alternative methods, such as Southwest's boarding system and physicist Jason Steffen's innovative approach, can significantly improve efficiency. Similarly, the healthcare industry is facing a steep surge in spending, particularly in Medicare, which is projected to exceed $7.2 trillion by 2031. This article explores the drawbacks of traditional airplane boarding and the escalating costs of healthcare, highlighting the need for better strategies and solutions.

Inefficient Airplane Boarding Methods:

Despite the availability of data and research, airlines continue to employ a boarding method that proves to be the slowest. The standard method, which involves boarding passengers in groups based on seat location, has been widely criticized. In a study conducted by Mythbusters, Southwest's boarding method emerged as the fastest, followed closely by the "outside-in" approach. Physicist Jason Steffen further improved the process by creating a choreographed sequence that eliminates aisle waiting altogether. These findings highlight the importance of utilizing data and innovative thinking to enhance the efficiency of airplane boarding.

Escalating Healthcare Expenditures:

The healthcare industry is bracing for a significant surge in spending, primarily driven by Medicare. According to estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of the Actuary, healthcare expenditures are projected to surpass $7.2 trillion by 2031. This surge will be particularly felt in the private sector, where medical inflation is expected to reach 7.7% this year, compared to 3% in 2022. As the baby boomers age into the Medicare program and enroll, hospital spending in Medicare is expected to experience the highest growth rate, ranging from 7.8% to 8.1% annually between 2025 and 2029.

Connecting the Dots:

Interestingly, the inefficiency of airplane boarding and the escalating costs of healthcare share common points. Both highlight the need for improved strategies and the utilization of data-driven solutions. Just as alternative boarding methods have proven to be more efficient, the healthcare industry must explore innovative approaches to control costs and enhance patient outcomes. By incorporating technology, predictive analytics, and streamlined processes, both industries can benefit from increased efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace Data: Airlines and healthcare providers must harness the power of data to drive decision-making. By collecting and analyzing relevant information, companies can identify inefficiencies, predict trends, and implement targeted solutions.
  • 2. Innovate and Experiment: Just as Jason Steffen's choreographed boarding sequence revolutionized the efficiency of airplane boarding, healthcare providers should foster a culture of innovation. By encouraging experimentation and embracing new ideas, the industry can discover novel approaches to reduce costs and improve patient care.
  • 3. Collaborate for Success: Both the airline and healthcare industries can benefit from collaboration and knowledge-sharing. By exchanging best practices, learnings, and insights, companies can overcome common challenges and drive positive change.


As the inefficiency of airplane boarding and the soaring costs of healthcare continue to pose challenges, it is crucial for industries to adapt and innovate. By implementing alternative boarding methods and utilizing data-driven solutions, airlines can enhance customer satisfaction and optimize time efficiency. Similarly, healthcare providers must explore innovative strategies to control costs and improve patient outcomes. By embracing data, fostering innovation, and promoting collaboration, both industries can navigate these challenges and pave the way for a more efficient and cost-effective future.

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