Could Southwest Be Changing Its Seating Policy?

The airline's checked bag policy looks set to continue, however

Southwest Airlines eclipse photo
Are changes coming to Southwest Airlines?
Southwest Airlines

When considering air travel options, there are few things set in stone, except possibly one: that Southwest Airlines does things a little differently from their competitors. The airline’s approach to boarding and seating has been the subject of lengthy analysis from industry observers, and it’s given Southwest a dedicated group of users who appreciate the idea of an airline that’s opted to travel the road less taken.

Could that signature approach to boarding and seating be at risk of coming to an end? According to The Points Guy’s David Slotnick, Southwest Airlines is considering revamping some of their policies. Citing comments made on an earnings call by airline CEO Bob Jordan, Slotnick notes that Jordan doubled down on one Southwest policy: letting travelers check bags for free.

“[W]e are considering more transformational options and follow-on initiatives,” Jordan said on the call. “That includes work previously underway to study customer preference around seating and our cabin.”

When it came to the possiblity of dramatic changes, though, Jordan seemed to be hedging his bets. “We remain committed to our industry-best customer-friendly policies, but we are also committed to understanding and meeting customer expectations,” he said.

Or, as he put it later in the call, some sort of change is on the horizon, even if the nature of that change isn’t quite ready to be announced. “It is too early to share the specifics of what we are exploring, but I want to be transparent and let you know that work is well underway,” he said.

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As for when we might learn more about what’s on the horizon from Southwest, Jordan suggested that a roadmap might appear later in the year. He told call attendees that the airline was “creating a new set of strategic initiatives to share with you at our Investor Day this September.”


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