Southwest Looks at Ways to Board Families

NEW YORK (AP) - Can airlines do a better job of accommodating families?

That's the question Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is asking by experimenting with various ways to board and seat traveling families.

Southwest currently has an open seating policy in which passengers are not assigned seats in advance.

Spokeswoman Linda Rutherford says Southwest, about two weeks ago, began the family-related seating on all flights departing from San Antonio.

Options being considered include: having designated rows for family seating; having families board with no onboard designated area; and pre-boarding them as Southwest would normally do.

Rutherford says the experiments will continue for a few weeks.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration says an airline that wants to seat families in a separate area would not need FAA approval.

A recent online Maritz survey found 73 percent of respondents said they would like to see family sections on airplanes.