By Harry Enten, CNN
(CNN) — I haven’t been on a vacation in 10 years. Part of the reason, admittedly, is I’m a workaholic. The other part is I hate flying. I despise the lines, the cramped seats, the security — all of it feels like a giant waste of time.
Usually, I keep these feelings to myself. (Who needs to hear me complain more than I already do?)
But then I read a statistic that sort of blew my mind. Despite all the incessant coverage about air travel, pre-pandemic polling showed that a majority of Americans don’t fly every year. Now, even fewer people fly.
Some of them probably hate to fly like me. This got me thinking — is there a better way to travel?
I decided to explore solutions in the latest episode of my podcast, “Margins of Error.”
I started by looking at the way we board an airplane. We spend so much time doing it. Most airlines use something called block boarding, which means boarding front to back or back to front. There is also the window, middle, aisle method. Southwest Airlines, on the other hand, reportedly has the fastest boarding process of any major airline by allowing people to claim the first available seat.
It turns out, however, that there is a faster way. It’s called the steffen-perfect-airplane-boarding-cgp-grey/”Steffen Method, named after its creator, Jason Steffen, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas physics professor.
He came up with a model that accounts for how and where we stow our baggage when finding a seat.
“You want adjacent passengers in line to have their seat assignments spread all throughout the airplane so that when one person comes to stop at their row, the next person behind them is able