Southwest Makes Changes to Family Boarding


Southwest airplane at terminal | Image by Mikhalis Makarov/Shutterstock

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is said to be experimenting with changes to its usual family boarding process.

According to the airline’s website, family boarding allows up to two adults in the company of a child age 6 or under to board after group A and before group B.

However, it would appear that it might be raising the maximum age limit to 13 years of age.

Although Southwest Airlines has not issued an official statement regarding any modification to the standard family boarding process, numerous reports of changes have recently been shared online.

“Just heard a @SouthwestAir gate agent at @IFlyOAKland clearly announce that family boarding between A and B on my flight is for up to 2 adults and kids under age 13. New policy? Test? In any event, awesome. Of course, it happens when I don’t have my kids but still exciting,” former Southwest ambassador Leslie Harvey tweeted on January 25.

News of Southwest’s sudden policy change was first shared by The Points Guy, an aviation-based publication that tracks the latest air-travel news and information.

Southwest is the only U.S. airline to operate flights using an open seating program, according to the company. This means that passengers in the three boarding groups — A, B, and C — can choose their seats on a first-come, first-served basis.

Southwest has few guidelines for its family boarding process other than the limits on the number of adults and the age of qualifying children. For instance, according to the carrier’s website, a passenger with disabilities or needing special assistance to find his or her seat may board ahead of family boarding.

Also, if the child and adults are all holding “A” boarding passes, they should board in their assigned boarding position rather than waiting for family boarding.

Lifting the age restriction on Southwest’s family boarding process could enhance the appeal to parents of older children who may have previously relied on Early Bird Check-In to ensure all family members boarded the plane together. This option can be pricey for some families at a cost upwards of $15 per person.

The possible adjustment to Southwest’s family boarding process, while still unconfirmed, would be one of the first major changes the regional carrier has explored this year, following the company’s disastrous end-of-the-year meltdown.

The Dallas Express contacted Southwest Airlines for comment about the supposed policy change but had not received a response at the time of publishing.

If you enjoyed this article, please support us today!

Formed in 2021, we provide fact-based, non-partisan news. The Dallas Express is a non-profit organization funded by charitable support and advertising.

Please join us on the important journey to make Dallas a better place!

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

Subscribe to Comments
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments