Southwest wants to reduce the amount of time it takes passengers to get on and off the plane. The airline said it will begin testing a new boarding and deboarding process at four California airports.
The carrier will open two doors to the aircraft instead of the usual one, and travelers will have the choice to board or deplane out of the front or the rear door. Southwest says that the new option is intended to make the boarding and deplaning process faster for passengers.
Southwest passengers flying into, out of or connecting through Burbank (BUR), Long Beach (LGB), Sacramento (SMF) or San Jose (SJC) will be able to test out the new process. The carrier cautioned passengers that those choosing to board or deplane through the rear door may involve going up or down a set of stairs and walking on the tarmac outside. Those who have trouble with stairs or chose to bring heavy carry-ons can continue to board in the front of the plane through the jet bridge as they normally would.
Southwest boards passengers in three groups (A, B and C), and passengers are assigned a number (from 1-60) — both of which are based on when they check in. The earlier they do so, the lower their boarding group and position will be. They then board in numerical order.