Theory of Constraints at The Airport


Steps from Airtime Check-in to Boarding at The Airport.

  1. Checking In at the airport

All passengers are required to check-in before boarding the plane. During this process, the passenger is asked several security questions about the luggage the passenger is carrying on the flight.  The passenger is also provided with a boarding pass, which is presented to the airport security in later stages.

Check-in is done in one of the three methods;

  • Online check-inn on the website of the airport
  • Self-service at the airport kiosks
  • Visiting the check-in counters at the airport


  • Check-ins always closes 40 minutes before the departure.
  1. Airport Security

After the check-in and luggage handover, the passenger now goes through airport security. The passenger is required to pass their luggage through an x-ray machine to check for dangerous goods. The luggage is also passed through the metal detector. Items like the wallets, cellphones, keys, etc. are passed through the x-ray machine. The passenger is then required to stand at the entrance of the metal detector.  The passenger then collects all their belongings and move towards the gate. The passengers must have their boarding pass at hand.


  1. Locating the Boarding Gate

The boarding gates are identified using a letter and a number e.g., A12.  The gate identity is printed on the boarding pass. If check-in is done online, no gate number is reflected, and the passenger needs to check with the information monitors at the airport. The boarding closes 15 minutes before the departure, and a delay at the security or the gates would cause a miss in flight.

  1. Boarding

The boarding pass is scanned again, IDs checked, birth certificates, driving licenses, and passports. Passengers are shown a channel to the aircraft or directed to the bus that takes them to the plane.


The major constraint at the airport are the long waits at the screening and checkpoint queues.

Long waits at the Screening and checkpoint queues arise from poor time management and time allocation. A minimum time of 5 minutes can be allocated for every screening and checkpoints. The number of security officers at the security screening and inspections can be increased to serve more passengers at a time and reduce the delay in queues.

During the first stage of airtime check-in, online check-in should be recommended to reduce time wastage before leading to the second stage of security screening. The boarding gates should be well-identified, and cases of changing the boarding gates should be reduced. For the passengers who check-in from the website online, clear information about their boarding gates must be provided. During the process of boarding, fast but thorough confirmations of IDs and passports and scanning should be done to avoid the long wait. More security personnel should also be allocated to the boarding section.

Safety, security enhancement and time management are the primary concerns during the processes. At the airport, the causes of a lack of safety, security, and long waits are improper screening procedures — A small number of security personnel and poor time management techniques, respectively.  According to the theory of constraints, one must first identify the obstacle facing the management process. Secondly, a recommendation on the solution or exploitation of the limitation is made.  From the operations at the airport, the most suitable way to deal with security is by employing more security personnel at every checkpoint.  Allocation of the time limit can be done to screening procedures to minimize time wastage.  Passengers miss flights due to delays in queues and poor communication at the airport. All methods must be stated and relevant consultation offices available all over the airport.











Airport process   Maximum Time allocation per passenger

(minutes )



Checking at the airport

Online check-in  


Self-service kiosk  


Check-in counters  


Airport security    


Location of boarding gates    


Boarding   5








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Kazda, A., & Hromádka, M. (2011). How to improve airport operation? Centre of Excellence for Air Transport, ITEMS 26220120065.

McMullen Jr, T. B. (2013). Introduction to the theory of constraints (TOC) management system. CRC Press.

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