A statistical mechanics model for free-for-all airplane passenger boarding

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Description

I discuss a model for free-for-all passenger boarding which is employed by some discount air carriers. The model is based on the principles of statistical mechanics where each seat in the aircraft has an associated energy which reflects the preferences of travelers. As each passenger enters the airplane they select their seats using Boltzmann statistics, proceed to that location, load their luggage, sit down, and the partition function seen by remaining passengers is modified to reflect this fact. I discuss the various model parameters and make qualitative comparisons of this passenger boarding model with those that involve assigned seats. The ... continued below

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18 pages

Creation Information

Steffen, Jason H. & /Fermilab August 1, 2008.

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Description

I discuss a model for free-for-all passenger boarding which is employed by some discount air carriers. The model is based on the principles of statistical mechanics where each seat in the aircraft has an associated energy which reflects the preferences of travelers. As each passenger enters the airplane they select their seats using Boltzmann statistics, proceed to that location, load their luggage, sit down, and the partition function seen by remaining passengers is modified to reflect this fact. I discuss the various model parameters and make qualitative comparisons of this passenger boarding model with those that involve assigned seats. The model can be used to predict the probability that certain seats will be occupied at different times during the boarding process. These results might provide a useful description of this boarding method. The model is a relatively unusual application of undergraduate level physics and describes a situation familiar to many students and faculty.

Physical Description

18 pages

Source

  • Journal Name: Submitted to American Journal of Physics; Journal Volume: 76; Journal Issue: 12

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-PUB-08-068-A
  • Grant Number: AC02-07CH11359
  • DOI: 10.1119/1.2982636 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 936636
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc897423

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Creation Date

  • August 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Dec. 9, 2016, 10:28 p.m.

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Steffen, Jason H. & /Fermilab. A statistical mechanics model for free-for-all airplane passenger boarding, article, August 1, 2008; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc897423/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.