TheStreet reports the Dallas-based airline is testing a new family boarding process, which would move those with smaller children to before group A.
Families Could Board Sooner, But Behind Exit Rows
Under the airline’s current policy, families traveling with children under six years old are invited to board their aircraft between groups A and B with open seating assignments. Their main competition – the U.S. legacy carriers – often allow families with young children to pre-board their aircraft, but with assigned seats.
In the coming year, Southwest Airlines will begin to test allowing families to also pre-board the aircraft, before group A. Because the airline doesn’t offer seating assignments, the groups will need to be seated behind the first 15 rows of the aircraft.
While the new policy benefits families, it would potentially make it more difficult for those who pay for automatic check in and A-List elites. Those flyers would have fewer seats to choose from, in addition to overhead bin space. The test will run on select flights at airports across the United States for an unknown period of time, before a final decision is made.
While Southwest is trialing the new process, other passenger-favorite benefits won’t be changing. In previous statements, airline chief executive Bob Jordan said flyers will still be able to check two bags for free.
Changes Tested as Lawmakers Fight to Keep Families Together
The potential change for Southwest comes as legislators put more pressure on airlines to keep families sitting together. In July 2022, the Transportation Department issued a new rulemaking notice “urging” airlines to “do everything in their power” to keep families seated together.
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Source: frugal travel guy