Southwest Airlines Testing Enhanced Boarding

Southwest Airlines is testing a modified method of their popular A-B-C group-based boarding technique in San Antonio, Texas. From the Southwest blog:

“Here’s how it works: you check in and get your boarding pass, just like today, but now it has a position on it. That position is your spot in line! We’re holding a place for you in line so you don’t have to camp out for boarding.”

When I fly Southwest (which is often) I’m always, always in front of the computer precisely 24-hours before my departure so that I can print out an “A” boarding pass. Then one day on a flight to Las Vegas I chatted up the guy in line next to me and he asked me what number I was. What number? I didn’t even know there was a number. Sure enough, right below the big “A” there was a number. I had A2. He had A1. From that point on, I became even more obsessed; I needed to get that A1 no matter what — even though it didn’t mean squat. I liked looking around the crowded plane and knowing that I was the first person to print their boarding pass. I’m a dork like that.

Now Southwest will actually be using that number (along with A, B, or C) to queue passengers. No more camping out at the gate’s A line. No more elbow throwing. If the testing goes good in ole’ San Antone, soon I’ll be rewarded for my obsession — everyone will know who number one is.

Related: Print Your Southwest Airlines Boarding Pass Without a Printer

Update: Luxist writer Trey Evans had a chance to experience the new boarding procedure on a flight from San Antonio to Houston Hobby, and here’s what he had to say: “…the big deal here is that they’ve doubled the size of the ‘A’ group and done away with the C group completely, and that families with small kids get boarded between ‘A’ and ‘B’ groups. It worked well on my flight, but it wasn’t a crowded flight and there were only 50 or so people trying to board.” Thanks, Trey!