Gatwick is testing a system with easyJet to try and cut aircraft boarding times.
The two-month trial will see passengers with window seats board first, followed by those in the middle and aisle.
Initial experiments showed that it was able to board 158 passengers in 14 minutes under the new system, about three minutes quicker than usual.
The trial at gate 101 is intended to prevent lengthy queues and allow passengers to remain seated at the boarding gate for longer.
The airport hopes the system will cut the overall boarding time, reducing the risk of delayed departures.
All passengers will be expected to remain seated, rather than queuing, until their number has been called on a digital display.
Large screens and staff will be placed at gate 101 to show passengers the order to board.
“A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage,” the airport said.
Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are traveling with young families – will still board first during the trial.
Those who miss their slot are likely to have to wait for all other passengers to board and get on the aircraft last.
Gatwick head of digital innovation Abhi Chacko said: “We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.
“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time. By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent passengers rushing forward at any stage.”
One sequence involves boarding all passengers from the back of the aircraft to the front, with window seats filled first followed by the middle and aisle seats.
It will also test the efficiency of filling up the whole back row first and working forward to the front, row by row. Other combinations will also be tested.
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