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Southwest is testing front and rear boarding/de-boarding at select airports

Burbank (BUR), Long Beach (LGB), Sacramento (SMF), or San Jose (SJC) ( More...

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superliner 2
For those that think this does not happen all over ther world - might want to check the facts. It DOES in fact happen in quite a few countries. I've boarded planes on rear airstairs at FRA and CDG. Granted, those were big widebody jets (LH and AF respectively) but it does happen, not just at those airports but at many other major European airports.

And not just in Europe, but other countries around the world have airports where dual front and rear boarding is carried out on a regular basis. The U.S. is blessed to have airports with a jetway for each aircraft. Not so in other countries, especially at major hubs like FRA and CDG where jetways are at a premium. Even at LHR, some flights are boarded/disembarked via airstairs.

Being an aviation enthusiast myself, I would gladly take the offer to board via the stairs at the rear door if available and the weather was fine. No better way to experience ground ops and get a view of other planes (even for just a few seconds as it may be!).
David Toole 2
"De-boarding" shouldn't happen anywhere. I prefer to exit a plane, Sometimes I leave the plane. When I want to use two words I get off the plane.
wingbolt 2
Surprised they don’t unboard instead!
dkroutil 1
i was at SMF 2 days ago and thought it was a little strange when offered to board the rear door. looked, no one took them up on the offer. neither did I
sharon bias 1
My sister always sits in the last seat as she hates people behind her. She never checks luggage, even with the Southwest free luggage policy. This will be great for her.
this is a rather strange way of "speeding up the boarding process..i remember many years back when some airports did not have jetbridges,and everybody had to walk up the portable flight stairs..i also remember once at dfw delta had a "dual jetbridge" system where they used 2 doors of the 747 for boarding,one for first class, and one for coach..jetbridges were supposed to eliminate using the portable stairs,and even the airports that used to have the commuter planes board on the ramp,have gone to jetbridges..go figure!!
MultiComm 1
Many airlines still use dual jet bridge systems for the wide bodies. KLM does it in AMS and of corse everyone does it for the A380. L

IMO, Dual boarding really just doesn’t seem necessary for a small single aisle aircraft.
took several domestic flights in Australia a month ago, and I thought the system worked great. Granted the stairs can be a deterrent for some.
MultiComm 1
For a 737 I just don’t see the justification in security and safety of people all over the ramp/apron to load a few in the rear. If gate space was limited and there wasn’t enough jetbridges then sure it works ... did this in Kenya and it was great.
Mike Mohle 1
Works well at BUR, of course everything is a ground level in that little bitty airport.
I'm surprised they (correctly) used "apron" instead of "tarmac"!! Kudos to them!

apron, ramp, and tarmac can be used interchangeably, with tarmac being the least preferred. At some airports, the ramp area, which can be a ATC non-movement area, can be controlled by a Ramp controller.
MultiComm 1
I think what Christos was referring to was that most hard surface areas on the airport in the 121 world are not paved with asphalt (an actual tarmac surface) due to weight bearing issues but the term ramp or apron is more appropriate.

Splitting hairs ... I get it ... as tarmac has been the slang term for years.
LGB and BUR, I can understand, because the terminal is basically at ground level. SMF and SJC doesn't make sense, as they'd have to basically travel down the stairs to get onto the ramp to get to the stars to board in the rear.

Especially at SMF; since they rebuilt Terminal B, there are more than enough gates to not have to board in the aft to increase turnaround times..
ian mcdonell -6
Gee whiz - this is news???????

This happens all over the world
David Toole 2
It's common in Brazil, the world's fifth-largest country, although I'd say it happens less frequently than it did 10 years ago. Brazilians are serial queue jumpers who pay litte attention to boarding zones or exit protocols, so anything helps. BTW, I see no reason why the comment "this happens over the world" should result in American butthurt. There are almost 200 countries in this world, of which the US is just one. It is possible for something to "happen all over the world" without happening in Anerica.
siriusloon 1
No it doesn't "happen all over the world". The article clearly says SOUTHWEST is trialing this at four U.S. airports. It does NOT say that Southwest claims they invented this and are the first in the world, it says they are testing the idea to see how it works for THEM. So yes, this IS news. At least it is to people who can read and comprehend basic English.
This happens all over the world, because other airports have the passengers actually out on the ramp/tarmac. That doesn't happen in most US airports, except for those rather older airports, like BUR or LGB, where the entire gate area is at ground level. Other airports have the terminal actually above ground level, to where you have to take stairs down to get to the ground, then another set of stairs to get back up into the aircraft. It makes the entire process longer and a bit redundant.

JBU did this at one time at LAS. They subsequently abandoned the process.
brad..i might add that many of the smaller airports that handle mainly commuter sized aircraft are remodeling and upgrading their terminals with jetbridges to accommodate the newer versions of commuter aircraft,as opposed to the older "props", where people had to board on the tarmac/ramp..i am from a smaller city that at one time boarded aircraft like the 737 via jetbridge,but the commuters (at that time eagle and dl connection)boarded by walking down stairs next to the jetbridge and out to the plane,then on the aircraft stairs..eagle (now envoy) at dfw once had people boarding ground level,not on jetways, before they remodeled the terminal..


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