Southwest will begin testing a new boarding and deboarding process at four California airports in an attempt to reduce the amount of time it takes passengers to get on and off the plane.
During the testing period, Southwest will open two doors to the aircraft instead of the usual one in front. Travelers will have the choice to board or deplane out of the front or the rear door. Southwest says that the new option is intended to make the boarding and deplaning process faster for passengers.
Southwest passengers flying into and out or through Burbank (BUR), Long Beach (LGB), Sacramento (SMF) or San Jose (SJC) will be able to test out the new procedure. The carrier cautioned passengers that those choosing to board or deplane through the rear door may involve going up or down a set of stairs and walking on the tarmac outside. Those who have trouble with stairs or chose to bring heavy carry-ons can continue to board in the front of the plane through the jet bridge as they normally would.
This is the same procedure I noticed this summer while flying with Volotea. It should speed up the process but will probably not work when weather is not cooperating.