Southwest looking for new ways to board families

Long known for its cattle-call approach to boarding planes, Southwest now says it is experimenting with new ways get families onboard.

"We began testing about two weeks ago on all flights departing from San Antonio," vice president of public relations Linda Rutherford told the AP on Thursday. "We are testing several different ways to conduct family boarding, [such as] having designated rows for family seating; having them board with no onboard designated area; and pre-boarding them as we would normally."

Rutherford added that the tests would last for at least a few more weeks and noted that it was too early to draw any conclusions. Since she won't, I will: Southwest's current ready-set-CHARGE boarding process is a mess that needs to be fixed, and it's even worse for families who—without assigned seats—may not be able to sit together.

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Based on the fact that the airline has been conducting a variety of seating and boarding tests for about a year, it seems management knows there's a problem.

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