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Wing of Southwest Airlines plane as seen from plane window
Joni | Adobe Stock

Southwest Airlines Experiments With New Boarding Processes


Southwest Airlines recently concluded a series of tests designed to speed up flight boarding, and you could see some changes to the boarding process in the near future. A spokesperson for Southwest told SmarterTravel that the tests were conducted over the past several weeks at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Here are some of the changes that were trialed:

Designated Boarding Area

Families and passengers that need extra time are generally always the first group to board airplanes. Southwest is considering adding a color-coded area that designates where those priority flyers should stand, so they can easily be boarded first. 

More Signage

Struggling to hear or make sense of the latest gate announcement? Southwest may soon add more signage to the gate area to help make information easier to access. The airline tested out adding digital signs that display flight information and announcements relating to the boarding process. 

Self-Service Kiosks

In an effort to eliminate lines at the gate caused by passengers who need help with simple tasks, Southwest tested out adding self-service kiosks to the gate area that allowed flyers to print their own boarding passes and bag tags. 

Jet Bridge Music

Could upbeat music help you board a flight faster? Southwest tested out this theory by adding jaunty music to the jet bridge during the boarding and deplaning process.

Posters with tips on airplane etiquette, seating tips, and baggage suggestions were also tried out in the jet bridge area.  

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