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How to Hack Southwest’s Boarding Groups

Elina Geller

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Table of Contents

How does Southwest boarding work?

What is the southwest boarding process, how to get your southwest boarding position, southwest family boarding: how to sit together, how to get the best seat on southwest airlines (group a), other ways to get get a good seat on southwest, southwest seating chart, when you're not happy with your southwest boarding number, southwest boarding groups, recapped.

The Southwest Airlines boarding process is a practice perhaps more polarizing than whether pineapple belongs on pizza. But one thing’s for sure: The Southwest boarding process is certainly unique.

There are no assigned seats. There’s no guarantee you’ll get that coveted window seat behind the exit row (which means no seat directly in front of you). There’s no guarantee you’ll end up seated next to your travel buddy.

Yet it also means you get to pick your seat from whatever is available once you get on the plane. If the guy in Row 3 has already whipped out his tuna sandwich, maybe you opt for a seat at least a few rows back.

The Southwest boarding process is also theoretically more efficient (at least according to MythBusters ) than most boarding systems with assigned seats. So how does the process work? We unpack Southwest’s boarding method to help you get the best seat on your flight.

SOUTHWEST CREDIT CARDS WITH BOARDING BENEFITS

Unlike some credit cards offered by other major airlines, Southwest cards don't automatically get you priority boarding. But they do cover some of your costs when you pay to get a better boarding position:

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Reimbursement for 4 upgraded boardings, when available, each anniversary year.

Reimbursement for 2 EarlyBird check-ins each anniversary year.

To receive reimbursement for an upgraded boarding or EarlyBird Check-In, you must pay for it with the card . Reimbursement will appear as a credit on your statement within one to two billing cycles.

» Learn more: Best Southwest Airlines credit cards

Rather than assigning seats to passengers, Southwest has an open seating style. As far as determining who gets to pick their seats in which order, here’s how it works:

A Southwest boarding group (either A, B, or C) and position (1-60) will be assigned to you at check-in and it'll be printed on your boarding pass. Group A boards first, then group B, and afterwards group C. Check-in opens exactly 24 hours before departure.

If you end up with A1, then it’s your lucky day — you’ll likely get to be the first passenger on the plane. There may be some exceptions for people with certain disabilities, pre-boarders or people on an earlier connecting flight.

Here’s what a boarding pass with the boarding position looks like. This passenger will board with Group A and has a boarding position of 40.​​

southwest boarding groups how to

If you like ample seating options, aiming for boarding group A is a good idea. If you end up with C60, well, hopefully, you’re fine with the middle seat near the bathroom.

As the gate agent prepares the plane for boarding, they’ll call boarding groups (e.g., Group A, 1-30). From there, you’ll have to head to one of the numbered posts at the gate area, broken up into smaller blocks (e.g., position 1-5). Stand between the corresponding posts based on your boarding position.

Once onboard, pick any open seat, stow your stuff in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you, and get ready for takeoff.

Here’s the order of Southwest's boarding groups, from first to last:

1. Preboarding

Southwest allows people who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability, who need boarding help, extra time or who need help stowing an assistive device to board first. To be part of that group, you’ll have to request preboarding from a Southwest customer service agent at the ticket desk or departure gate.

Expect to be asked what Southwest calls "fact-finding questions" to decide if you meet the qualifications for pre-boarding. If you do, you’ll receive a boarding pass with a specific preboarding designation, and you’ll be allowed to preboard with one companion. If you’re traveling with more than one other person, they’ll typically have to board with their original group.

People who are preboarding are not allowed to occupy an exit row seat.

The first set of people to board Southwest flights are people with seats in A1-A15, which is typically filled with Southwest elite flyers, people who purchased Southwest Business Select fares and those who paid extra for their tickets before boarding.

You can purchase any leftover upgraded boarding positions in the A1-A15 category either online through Southwest's upgraded boarding portal within 24 hours of departure, or at the gate.

The rest of Group A follows positions A1-15 with A16-60.

3. Other people with disabilities

If you don’t qualify for preboarding but need extra time to board, you can board after the A group but before the following Family Boarding and B groups. You’ll still need to speak to a Southwest customer service agent, who will print you a new boarding pass with an extra time designation, indicating that you can board with this group.

4. Families and active-duty military in uniform

If you’re traveling with a child 6 years old or younger, you and up to one other adult can board during Family Boarding, which occurs before the B group. Active military traveling in uniform may also board during this time.

» Learn more: Bookmark these military travel discounts

5. Groups B and C

Everyone else now gets to board, with the B group going next. And for large and full flights, there’s a C group. Both groups board in numerical order starting with position 1 and moving to position 60.

There are a few ways to get an early Southwest boarding position, but many of them come at an extra cost. If you don’t want to pay anything more than what the Wanna Get Away, Wanna Get Away Plus or Anytime fares already cost, your boarding position will be decided based on the order you’ve checked in.

You can check in online at Southwest.com or on the app beginning 24 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time. Or, you can check in at the airport or with an agent at the airport. But, the longer you wait, the worse the boarding position you’ll have.

Set a calendar reminder or phone timer for that 24-hour mark (maybe even a few minutes early to get the webpage loaded and logged in) to make sure you get as early a boarding position as possible.

Families (two adults traveling with a child 6 years of age or younger) can board after Group A but before Group B. If the child and adult both have Group A assigned on their boarding pass, they can board along with Group A in their allocated boarding position.

However, this still doesn’t guarantee you’ll sit together, especially if your boarding position is A50. The best way to ensure you sit together (and where you want) is to buy a Business Select fare, upgrade your boarding pass or have the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card or the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card .

Everyone has a different favorite seat on an airplane, but the easiest way to get the best seat on Southwest is to have an A1-15 boarding group position. Since this is the first group to board, you’ll have your pick of nearly any seat on the plane. Here are three ways to guarantee an A1-15 group position on Southwest, but it’s going to cost you:

Buy a Business Select fare

Business Select fares come with many perks including Fly By priority lane access, a complimentary premium drink, and yes, guaranteed receipt of an A1-15 boarding position.

Business Select fares are not cheap. They can often be multiple times more expensive than Wanna Get Away fares, but they tend to be a better deal than Southwest’s middle tier called Anytime fares.

If you’re willing to pay for a seat upgrade, it’s almost always better to opt for Business Select over Anytime fares because you’ll get benefits like elevated points earning and the guarantee of a good seat.

Buy upgraded boarding when available

While not quite a guarantee, Southwest allows you to buy any remaining A1-A15 boarding position for an extra fee. You can purchase that either on the day of travel at the ticket desk or gate, or within 24 hours of takeoff on Southwest's website .

It’s $30 to $80 per segment depending on your itinerary. These positions are not assigned to regular ticket customers once the 24-hour check-in window begins, so if the flight is low on elite flyers or Business Select passengers, there may be some available for purchase.

Some cards, such as the The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express , can offset the cost of upgraded boarding by offering a $200 airline incidental credit , which is an annual statement credits toward incidental air travel fees with one qualifying airline of your choice.

Use a Southwest credit card to get complimentary upgraded boarding (when available)

As a benefit of having the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card or the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card , you’ll be reimbursed for up to four upgraded boardings to positions A1-A15 every anniversary year.

The process is the same as anyone else purchasing upgraded boarding. You’ll have to buy it on the day of travel at the ticket desk or gate, and it’s only for sale if seats are available. But no matter the cost — whether $30 or $50 — you’ll get that four times a year in the form of a credit reimbursement.

Those boardings can be purchased all at once or for different flights, so you could opt to upgrade your posse once or give yourself the VIP treatment a few times throughout the year.

» Learn more: The best airline credit cards

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

These choices won’t guarantee an A boarding position like the recommendations above, but they’ll still put you ahead of others who try to check in online 24 hours out or at the airport ahead of their flight:

Have Southwest elite status

Customers with Rapid Rewards A-List Preferred or A-List Member status get their boarding position automatically reserved 36 hours before departure. That's before normal check-in begins, putting them ahead of everyone else who has to wait for that 24-hour window. The benefit also applies to other travelers on the same reservation as A-List Preferred or A-List Members.

While holding Southwest status is not a guarantee of an A position (e.g., if everyone else on the flight also had A-List Preferred or A-List status), it will get you the earliest position available and most often lands you in the A1-A15 positions.

Buy EarlyBird Check-In

EarlyBird Check-In is an add-on to your ticket that automatically checks you in 36 hours before the flight's scheduled departure time. That puts you in the running for the best boarding position next to the folks with Southwest status or Anytime and Business Select fares, and ahead of everyone else who has to wait for the 24-hour window.

EarlyBird Check-In typically costs $15-$25 one-way per passenger on top of your fare price.

As far as how the order of EarlyBird Check-In is decided amongst everyone who pays for it: Boarding positions are assigned based on the time that EarlyBird Check-In was bought relative to passengers within the same fare class. So Wanna Get Away Plus passengers will be checked in ahead of Wanna Get Away passengers with EarlyBird.

EarlyBird does not guarantee a boarding position, but it does increase your odds of getting in a better boarding position. Often, you’ll find yourself in A20 or better with EarlyBird check-in.

If you’re trying to decide what’s a good seat on your Southwest flight, head over to Seatguru. Once there, type in your travel date and flight number to choose your flight.

Oftentimes, Seatguru will show several aircraft configurations for a specific flight. For Southwest, Seatguru features three aircraft seating charts: Boeing 737 MAX 8, Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-800. Make sure the aircraft type you’re on matches the result provided by Seatguru.

After you’ve confirmed that, take a look at the seat reviews. The seats on the plane will either be green, yellow, red or white. Green means it's a great seat (usually with extra legroom), yellow means there is some drawback (like limited recline), red shows several drawbacks (such as a misaligned window and near the bathroom).

Seats that are white have no pros and no cons, they are just regular seats for the cabin.

If you’re cool with checking your luggage if the overhead bins run out of space or don't mind the middle seat for a few hours, then getting assigned Group C will be manageable.

But if you want to be among the first to board and accidentally ended up with a bad boarding position, your best bet to jump the line is to pay the $30-$50 for an A1-15 boarding position. You can do this either in-person at the airport or online.

If Business Select is sold out, you’re probably out of luck on purchasing upgraded boarding. Next time, consider purchasing EarlyBird Check-In or booking a higher fare class to begin with.

Southwest offers three boarding groups (A, B or C), and a position 1-60+, which get assigned at check-in. While the Southwest boarding process can be confusing at first glance, remember this: Check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, and most of the time you’ll be OK.

Or, be prepared to pony up some extra cash for expensive tickets or upgraded boarding passes. Know which of your credit cards may offer airline credits to offset these fees, as they can get you out of a jam when you miss the check-in deadline.

If you’re traveling with a larger group with multiple reservation numbers, everyone needs to handle their business and check in separately if you want any shot at getting boarding positions near each other.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

1.5%-6.5% Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

$300 Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

2x-5x Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

75,000 Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

How to get seats together as a family on Southwest Airlines

Summer Hull

Editor's Note

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here .

There's a lot for families to love about Southwest Airlines . Free checked bags can be a lifesaver and knowing you're eligible for free changes and cancellations is also a customer-friendly policy for whenever "life happens." The open-seating policy, though, can be stressful if you're traveling with children since there's no guarantee about where you'll sit.

While some airlines make it challenging to get free seat assignments with your family , Southwest's approach is quite different. In fact, Southwest does not assign seats in advance at all. While Southwest's open-seating policy is unusual compared to other U.S. airlines, it works to the advantage of some young families, especially if you are hoping to score a free open seat for your lap baby .

Get the latest points, miles and travel news by signing up for TPG's free daily newsletter .

How does Southwest boarding work?

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Before we get into specific seating strategies, here are some basics on how the Southwest boarding process works.

When you check in for your flight, you are assigned a boarding pass number in one of three groups based on the time you check in: A, B or C. The passes in each group are numbered from 1-60. Someone who checks in relatively early may be assigned A45, potentially the 45th person to board. Someone who doesn't check in until much later may end up with C15, or roughly the 135th person to board. However, the numbers aren't exact because some people get a chance to board early in the process, regardless of their assigned number.

If you have Southwest A-List status , purchase a Business Select fare or buy EarlyBird Check-In , you are automatically reserved a boarding slot before the 24-hour check-in mark. So, you'll board early on in the process. Otherwise, you are assigned your number based on when you check in for your flight. The highest available boarding slot at your time of check-in will go to you.

Related: 9 cool places you didn't know you could fly on Southwest

When it comes time to board, you will line up in order at signs for your respective boarding groups. There will be an A1-A30 line and an A31-A60 line. Once the A group starts boarding, the B group will begin lining up in the spots the A group previously occupied. You do need to (more or less) get in your actual numerical order. For example, if you have B25, you need to be toward the back of the B1-B30 line. It isn't as hard as it sounds, but it is a unique process. And yes, you may feel a bit like cattle.

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Southwest offers Family Boarding after the A group but before the B group, for up to two adults traveling with children 6 and younger. This essentially allows families to "skip the line" if they were otherwise assigned a B or C boarding position.

Once you get on board, you can choose any seats that are still unoccupied. The better your boarding group and number, the more seats you will have to select from. This is relevant for everyone, but especially relevant if you are trying to get multiple seats together for your family. However, if the flight has through passengers from a previous flight, some seats will be occupied even when A1 boards.

Related: Best offer we've seen yet: Earn up to 100,000 bonus points with these Southwest cards

How to make sure your family sits together

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Now, let's discuss a few things you can do to ensure that your family gets seats together when flying Southwest.

Purchase EarlyBird Check-In

With EarlyBird Check-In, you'll automatically get a spot in the boarding process 36 hours before the flight -- which is 12 hours before you'd otherwise be able to check in. Purchasing EarlyBird doesn't guarantee you'll get an A boarding spot, but you have an excellent chance.

EarlyBird Check-In is the easiest way to secure a good boarding spot, but it comes with an extra cost that ranges from $15-$25 per direction per person. This purchase is nonrefundable, even if you later cancel your reservation. So, you won't want to buy EarlyBird Check-In unless you're sure you'll take the trip.

However, note that several Southwest credit cards , including the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card and Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, reimburse you for up to two EarlyBird Check-Ins that you charge to your card each anniversary year.

Related: Why purchasing Southwest early boarding rarely makes sense for young families

Check in exactly 24 hours before departure

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

As we have noted, Southwest starts handing out most spots in the boarding process exactly 24 hours before the flight. If your boarding number matters to you, and you don't want to pay extra to secure a good spot, then it is crucial that you are at a computer or in the Southwest app precisely 24 hours before departure to check in your whole party. This will be the difference between you getting in the A group or the C group.

Remember, if you are using your Southwest Companion Pass to have a friend or family member fly with you for free (other than taxes), you'll have to check them in separately. Your companion will have a different confirmation number for their ticket, so make sure to check that person in at the 24-hour mark as well.

Related: Top 9 Southwest international destinations for families

Board during Family Boarding

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

If you have a child in your party who is 6 or under, you can board during Family Boarding after the A group regardless of your boarding pass position. Your young children and up to two adults can board during this time.

In theory, only 60 folks will have boarded ahead of you and about two-thirds of the plane should be empty if you board during Family Boarding. However, passengers on the flight's previous segment will also occupy some seats unless you're on the first flight of the day. Even so, you'll almost certainly find a few empty rows if you board during Family Boarding.

Related: Your guide to flying with kids of every age

Have A-List status or fly on a Business Select fare

If someone on your reservation has A-List status, Southwest will automatically reserve boarding positions for the entire group 36 hours before departure. Likewise, you can purchase Business Select fares to guarantee A1-A15 boarding positions -- but these fares are often rather pricey.

As such, neither of these solutions are practical for most families traveling on Southwest. However, families that fly Southwest often should consider holding one or more Southwest credit cards to make earning status a little easier. For example, with the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card, you'll earn 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status for every $10,000 spent. Plus, those purchases count toward earning a Companion Pass , too.

Related: The ultimate guide to Southwest credit card eligibility

Pay for an Upgraded Boarding slot, if available

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

If there are unsold A1-A15 boarding slots (ones that typically go to those who pay higher Business Select fares), Southwest may offer them as Upgraded Boarding slots for $30-$50 each before the boarding process gets underway. This is a last-ditch way to board early if all other methods have failed.

Paying for upgraded boarding is an expensive solution unless you have the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card . After all, both of these cards will reimburse the cardholder for up to four Upgraded Boardings each card membership year. While I'd have to be pretty desperate to pay for this perk, it's a nice bonus when it's available at no cost to the cardholder.

There's no way to buy Upgraded Boarding until you're at the airport, so you'll need to inquire at the ticket counter or departure gate to see if there are options available. If you want to use one or more of your complimentary Upgraded Boardings from the Southwest Priority Card or Southwest Performance Business Card , you'll need to have your card available for the transaction. The charge is processed normally and then later reimbursed on your credit card statement.

Related: Why now is the best time to apply for Southwest Airlines credit cards

Book the first flight of the day

Southwest offers many continuation flights, so passengers from the previous segment may already occupy some seats on board when boarding begins. However, if you are on the first flight of the day for your aircraft, there will be no through passengers already on board.

Related: The difference between direct and nonstop flights

Bottom line

Some passengers love Southwest's open-seating policy, while others strongly dislike it. But love it or hate it, families can work around it. With young children, Family Boarding is a great (free) option. And for families with kids older than 6, checking in exactly 24 hours before departure should be sufficient. But if you don't want to "sweat the small stuff," paying the extra $15-$25 per person per direction for EarlyBird Check-In is an excellent way to ensure your family will sit together.

Finally, if you've had your eye on a new Southwest credit card , now is an excellent time to apply. After all, the following Southwest consumer cards are all offering a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening and an additional 50,000 points after you spend $12,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card.
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card.

Best of all, these bonus points could help you earn the famous Southwest Companion Pass through the end of 2023 if you time your spending carefully . And with the Companion Pass, you'd only need to pay the taxes and fees on your companion's ticket when you fly together on Southwest.

Additional reporting by Becky Pokora.

Simple Flying

How does the southwest airlines boarding process work.

The major American carrier uniquely does not assign seats at all.

  • Southwest Airlines' open seating policy improves boarding times, on-time departures, and cost savings.
  • Passengers are assigned boarding positions based on fare status and check-in time.
  • To get a better seat, consider purchasing a Business Select fare, buying upgraded boarding, or having Southwest Elite status.

Southwest Airlines adopts a unique approach to boarding that sets it apart from other carriers. Unlike traditional seat assignments, the Dallas-based airline employs an open seating policy, where passengers choose any available seat upon boarding the plane.

The open seating policy is credited with improving boarding times, contributing to on-time departures and cost savings, a benefit that Southwest claims translates into lower ticket prices for its customers . While boarding at the gate is organized, the process can become chaotic, with passengers moving back and forth on the aircraft, trying to find seats together. By understanding and leveraging this system, passengers can enjoy a more personalized and stress-free travel experience.

How Southwest assigns seats

On Southwest Airlines flights, people are assigned boarding positions in order of fare status and check-in. Higher fares and earlier check-in lead to better positions, and earlier boarding positions mean greater odds of getting their desired aircraft seat.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 Flying in the sky.

Every flight is organized into three boarding 'groups': A, B, and C. Each seat consists of a letter and number. Within these groups, passengers are assigned individual 'positions' numbered 1 through 60 (ranging from A1 to C60). When passengers board, they can choose any available seat remaining.

This usually means getting:

  • Window seat closer to the front of the aircraft.
  • Aisle seat closer to the front of the aircraft.

Pre-board is designated for passengers with disabilities or those requiring special assistance to board, which must be arranged before the boarding process.

If fewer than fifteen Business Select tickets are sold, the remaining spots from A1 to A15 become available twenty-four hours before departure for a nominal fee (Upgraded Boarding). Passengers provided they do so before boarding begins. Recently, Southwest Airlines has raised the price for its 'Upgraded Boarding' service . The fee has increased from up to $60 to a range between $30 and $80 per flight segment, effective May 15th, 2023.

Airbus A330 & Jetbridge

What Is The Fastest Way To Get Everyone Onboard An Aircraft?

This usually means:

  • Window seat in the rear of the aircraft
  • Aisle seat in the rear of the aircraft
  • Center seat in the front of the aircraft.

Regarding Early Bird Check-In, for a fee starting at $15, Southwest automatically checks you in before the standard 24-hour window (automatic check-in thirty-six hours before departure). This service simplifies the check-in process and almost guarantees an "A" boarding group position. It applies to all flight segments on your travel day, including connecting flights.

However, holding this status does not guarantee an A-boarding position. Within this group, the order is determined by:

  • Which fare was purchased (more expensive fare means better position)
  • When Early Bird Check-In was purchased (earlier means better position)

Being in the B group usually means a good chance of securing a window or aisle seat or finding two seats together if traveling with a companion.

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 Flying in the sky.

  • Center seat near the rear of the aircraft.

While being in this group doesn't automatically mean you'll be stuck in the middle seat, the likelihood is higher.

Boarding order

Upon arriving at the gate, passengers are advised to locate the boarding group assignment on their boarding pass, determining their position in the queue. They are encouraged to watch the monitors for their boarding group and listen to the gate agent's announcement to start boarding.

When their group is called, passengers are expected to join the line. The boarding order is the following:

  • Pre-board & Business Select passengers
  • A-list members, along with passengers who need extra time but are not eligible for pre-boarding, families (traveling with children six years old or younger), and active-duty military personnel.
  • B group passengers
  • C group passengers

Passengers arriving late after their boarding group has been called can board any time after their group, but seat selection may be limited. Early boarders have the first pick of window and aisle seats and overhead bin space for luggage. The arrangement for families and military personnel does not require pre-boarding arrangements, but customers with disabilities should arrange this beforehand.

Southwest Airlines is reportedly considering changes to its family boarding process, moving to allow children under 13, up from the current six years, to board earlier. Based on traveler reports and not officially confirmed by Southwest, this potential adjustment suggests families with children six and under may board during pre-boarding , ahead of general boarding.

How to get a better seat

To secure the best seat on a Southwest flight, consider purchasing a Business Select fare for guaranteed A1-15 boarding, buying upgraded boarding on travel day, having Southwest Elite status, or using a Southwest credit card for complimentary upgrades.

However, unlike other airlines, Southwest credit cards don't automatically grant priority boarding but offer reimbursements for expenses on upgraded boarding positions or EarlyBird Check-In. Download the Southwest App and log in to your account for a convenient check-in process that requires just a few taps on your phone and allows you to check in early, aiming for a better boarding position.

Additionally, prioritizing seats towards the back of the plane can be beneficial, especially for those in the B or early C boarding groups, as front seats tend to fill up first. Solo travelers in the C group might find better window or aisle seats at the back.

5MP_of_About to Board the BLI Boarding Ramp_01

How Do Boarding Processes Differ At Major US Airlines?

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 on a wet and snowy airport apron.

Furthermore, flight attendants can assist in finding seats, especially near the middle or exit rows. While some passengers may reserve seats with their bags, asking politely can lead to getting a preferred spot. Prime seats at the front are up for grabs and can be claimed by any passenger, offering a chance for a great seat even with a later boarding number.

Continuously innovating

Southwest Airlines is testing new boarding methods , experimenting with dual-boarding and de-planing techniques, and using data science to optimize the process. The aim is to enhance efficiency without compromising a low-cost approach, with successful strategies possibly becoming permanent.

Southwest continually evaluates its boarding procedure to enhance customer experience. Updates and changes are communicated through Southwest's official channels, ensuring passengers are well-informed of any adjustments affecting the boarding process.

Despite these challenges, we can acknowledge the fairness of this boarding process, where early check-in increases the chance of securing a preferred seat without additional charges, contrasting this with airlines that charge for regular economy seating.

Southwest's boarding procedure emphasizes the importance of checking in early, considering upgrades for better boarding positions, and employing strategic seat selection tactics once onboard to enhance your travel experience.

Boarding efficiency is crucial for Southwest, as delays can impact its on-time performance and operational costs, where it seeks to maintain competitiveness and customer loyalty in the low-cost airline market.

What do you think about Southwest Airlines' boarding process? Let us know in the comments below.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 San Francisco

Southwest Airlines

Michael Saves

3 Ways to Always Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Many people fly Southwest Airlines for the low fares, free checked bags and no change fees, but its boarding process is one that passengers either love or hate.

In this post, I’ll provide three ways to ALWAYS get a “good” seat when flying on Southwest.

How Southwest’s boarding process works

If you’re not familiar, Southwest has an open seating policy. You’re assigned a boarding group (A, B or C) and position (1-60) that you can find on your boarding pass.

Passengers will line up at the gate based on their boarding group and position.

Family boarding is permitted. An adult with a child six or younger can board after the A group and before the B group.

Preboarding is allowed for unaccompanied minors and passengers with disabilities.

Don’t want a middle seat? How to get a window or aisle seat on Southwest 

I fly Southwest several times a year and prefer a window seat near the front of the plane. I’ll also take a window or aisle seat near the back of the aircraft to avoid a middle seat.

Based on my experience, it’s not difficult to get a window or aisle seat on a fully-booked flight if you’re part of the A or B boarding groups.

Those seats begin to become more scarce when the B 31-60 passengers are called.

For passengers in the C group, a middle seat may be all that’s left. At this stage, there may also be no more overhead bin space available for carry-on bags.

The bottom line: You’re going to have a more pleasant boarding experience on Southwest if you’re in the A or B boarding groups.

Read on for my three tips to always get your favorite seat on Southwest Airlines…

1. Check in exactly 24 hours before your flight 

Southwest lets you check in for your flight 24 hours before it departs, so set an alarm on your smartphone and have your confirmation number handy.

Either go to Southwest.com or click “Check in” from the itinerary the airline emailed you.

To get a seat in the A group, you must act quickly. For a recent trip, I checked in only five minutes after the window opened and was assigned B12.

For that reason, you want to be ready exactly 24 hours before your flight departs to check in.

2. Pay for EarlyBird Check-In

If you won’t be near a computer or phone to check in exactly 24 hours before your departure, you can guarantee an excellent seat on Southwest for a fee.

EarlyBird Check-In costs between $15 and $25 each way per passenger.

With EarlyBird Check-In, you’ll automatically be checked in for your flight and will receive your boarding position 36 hours before departure.

Although you’re not guaranteed an A boarding position, that’s been my experience.

In addition to a better seat selection, boarding the plane earlier will give you access to overhead bin space before those get filled up.

Here are some other things to know about EarlyBird Check-In:

  • You can purchase EarlyBird Check-In up to 36 hours prior to a flight’s scheduled local departure time
  • EarlyBird Check-In Customers will receive boarding positions after Business Select and A-List Customers
  •  A credit card must be used for the purchase of EarlyBird Check-In
  • If you cancel your flight, you won’t be refunded for the EarlyBird Check-In purchase
  • Southwest will only refund the EarlyBird Check-In purchase if the airline has to cancel your flight
  • EarlyBird Check-In can be purchased as part of the original flight purchase or added to a flight later on

To add EarlyBird Check-In, have your confirmation number ready and follow this link.

Southwest EarlyBird Check-In

3. See if Upgraded Boarding is available 

If you checked in for your flight within 24 hours of the departure and aren’t happy with your boarding group, it’s too late to pay for EarlyBird Check-In and get a better seat.

However, Upgraded Boarding may be available the day of your flight at the departure gate or ticket counter.

As you would imagine, Upgraded Boarding is more expensive than EarlyBird Check-In.

If Upgraded Boarding is available for your flight, you’ll pay between $30 and $50 to be among the first to board the plane — in the A1 to A15 boarding group.

Again, just ask at the departure gate or ticket counter to see if they can help you out.

Bonus tip: Free Upgraded Boardings with Southwest’s credit card 

For frequent Southwest Airlines travelers, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card may be worth looking into.

Southwest has several personal credit cards from Chase, but only the Priority card has an Upgraded Boarding benefit.

With this card, you can get four Upgraded Boardings per year when available.

The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card has a $149 annual fee, but its benefits offset that cost for people who fly Southwest a lot:

  • 2 points for every $1 that you spend spent on Southwest and Rapid Rewards partners
  • 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 7,500 points every year on your anniversary
  • $75 Southwest® annual travel credit
  • Four Upgraded Boardings per year when available
  • 20% back on inflight purchaess
  • No foreign transaction fees

I don’t currently have this credit card, but I previously used Southwest’s credit card with a $69 annual fee when I flew with them more often — it’s a great card.

I just wanted to share the details of the Priority card because of the boarding benefit.

Final thought 

These three strategies help me have a more enjoyable flying experience on Southwest Airlines.

For most trips, I follow the first tip and stand by at my computer exactly 24 hours before departure to get a good boarding position at no extra cost.

However, I have paid $15 for EarlyBird Check-In on long flights across the country.

The Upgraded Boarding option is my least favorite, but I used it once when I forgot to check in and ended up in the C boarding group.

In that case, the $30 I spent for the A2 position was money well spent.

Do you have any tips and tricks to always get a good seat when you fly on Southwest Airlines? Let me know in the comments below!

For more ways to save, please consider subscribing to my new YouTube channel!

1 thought on “3 Ways to Always Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines”

Another hint: If you’re on a flight that has a lot of families (e.g. heading to Orange County or Orlando, where half the plane is Disney-bound) you don’t have to stress out about a low C-group ticket nearly as much. Why? Because families will use up those middle seats so that they can sit together!

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clock This article was published more than  1 year ago

Your conspiracy theories about Southwest’s boarding policy are wrong

Is it based on your status your party size a full moon experts explain..

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Regular Southwest Airlines fliers have probably been there: You set an alarm and check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, only to find yourself relegated to Boarding Group C — often known as being short for “center seat.”

Southwest is the only major U.S. airline with an open seating policy. It assigns every passenger an exact boarding position — a letter between A and C and a number between 1 and 60 — and allows them to choose any available seat once on board. That means boarding order on Southwest isn’t just about space for carry-ons; it could be the difference between an aisle seat on the exit row and the middle seat of the back row.

The rules of flying like a decent human

Twitter is filled with not-so-humble brags from travelers who secured a coveted A-group boarding pass, as well as the grumblings of those who got stuck in Group C, including some who say they checked in the moment they could.

I just need you all to know that for the first time in my life I was able to check in to Southwest airlines at exactly 24 hours prior to take off. In other news, I am still in boarding group C. #southwest #airlines — Nathan Nolan, MD MPH (@NNolanMD) November 13, 2019

Factors such as whether you use the Southwest app to check in, being a frequent-flier member (other than elite members), the size of your group and the purpose of travel are not factored into boarding position assignments, said Laura Swift, a Southwest spokeswoman.

Still, getting into the A group is not just about the time you check in: Boarding assignments on Southwest are determined by a combination of money, timing, status and pure chance.

“It’s surprisingly complicated,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier consumer air travel blog, noting some aspects of the boarding assignments on Southwest remain a “black box,” even to travel experts.

Here’s why checking in 24 hours before your flight might not get you the boarding position you want — and what you can do to secure an earlier spot.

A1-A15 are guaranteed

The only way to guarantee an early boarding position is to pay. Purchasing or upgrading to a Business Select ticket — Southwest’s most expensive fare class — guarantees an A1-A15 boarding position.

If there are fewer than 15 Business Select passengers on the flight, the remaining slots in the A1-A15 group are sold beginning 24 hours ahead of the flight as Upgraded Boarding positions, starting at $30 per flight. The price varies based on “popularity and length of each flight segment,” according to Southwest’s website. Although previously available only at the gate, in August the company added the option to purchase Upgraded Boarding upon check-in on its app and website.

For frequent fliers with the Rapid Rewards Priority or Rapid Rewards Performance Business credit cards, the airline will reimburse up to four Upgraded Boardings purchased with the cards per year.

Southwest’s plan to conquer the airline industry, one joke at a time

Keep in mind, though, that being first to board doesn’t guarantee the best seat, because Southwest operates “through” flights, meaning passengers from a previous leg might still be on board, and they are allowed to change seats (after flight attendants take a head count).

“You may even have A1, and you may not be the first person on that airplane,” Snyder said.

You can pay to be checked in early

Even if you check in exactly 24 hours ahead, you probably won’t be the first passenger assigned a boarding position. That’s because Southwest offers “ EarlyBird” check-in , which automatically reserves a boarding position for the passenger 36 hours ahead of departure for a fee. You’ll still need to check in to get your boarding pass, but your boarding position — probably in the A group — will already be secured.

Some fliers get EarlyBird check-in included with their purchase: those who pay for an Anytime fare , and elite members in Southwest’s frequent-flier program (A-List Preferred or A-List status), along with their companions. EarlyBird check-in can also be purchased for $15 to $25, depending on the flight.

An illustrated guide to people at the airport

Gary Leff, who runs the travel blog View From the Wing , recommends that if you’re traveling with others, one person can purchase EarlyBird check-in and save seats for the rest of the party. Southwest does not have a policy against saving seats, although it can spark conflict among passengers.

We don't have a specific policy for or against saving seats as long as the boarding process isn't delayed and other Customers are not inconvenienced. -Larissa — Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) September 4, 2022

Several categories of passengers can board at designated times, which typically ensures a good seat. Passengers with disabilities can pre-board, while active-duty military personnel, elite members in Southwest’s frequent-flier program who do not already have EarlyBird check-in (if they booked their flight at the last minute, for example) and families with a child under 6 can board between the A and B groups.

8 airports with stunning landing views

“If you have little kids, it’s probably not worth it to buy EarlyBird, because you’ll really not have much trouble finding seats together,” Snyder said.

Seconds matter if you don’t want to pay

Beyond those groups, boarding positions become strictly first come, first served — down to the second you check in.

“As far as we know, when you’re doing regular check-in, it is strictly in order of when you click the button,” Snyder said. “It does matter to the second — you just have to be ahead of everyone else.”

*checks into flight exactly 24 hrs before* Southwest: boarding zone Z group 100 — Moises Parra (@moises_parra) February 11, 2021

Snyder said he generally doesn’t buy EarlyBird when he’s traveling alone , because he can usually secure a non-middle seat with regular check-in.

“If I check in myself right at 24 hours, I’m probably going to get nothing above the low B area,” he said.

Though he recommends checking in as close to 24 hours out as possible, Snyder said passengers who can check in closer to the flight can occasionally take the boarding position of another passenger who canceled at the last minute.

“Sometimes you can slide in there and get a surprisingly good number that you don’t expect,” he said. “But there’s no way to know that in advance, so always try to check in right at 24 hours.”

Swift, the Southwest spokeswoman, said that there are “several factors incorporated during the boarding process” and that the airline could not guarantee a passenger would take the position of another who canceled.

Leff said there are websites that automate the check-in process at exactly 24 hours, but most have been shut down by the airline. Swift said Southwest “doesn’t use third-party apps” and encouraged passengers to use the airline’s website or app to check in.

How to find the ‘golden seat’

So you’ve been assigned a coveted A boarding position, and you enter the plane with your pick of seats. Which should you go for?

I am first to board on this open seating southwest flight (huge brag) WHAT IS THE SEAT MOVE I AM PANICKING AND MAY CHOKE. — Jason Gay (@jasongay) August 29, 2022

Leff said his top priority is securing an empty middle seat next to him, so he will often check with the gate agent before boarding to see if there will be any empty seats.

If the plane is not full, he skips the empty aisle seats near the front that many passengers want and heads for an aisle seat about two-thirds of the way down the plane.

“Nobody’s necessarily going to try to go all the way to the back looking for a middle. If you get stuck with the middle, you’re probably taking it close to the front,” Leff said.

On a full flight, however, every middle seat will be filled, so Leff said he goes straight for the “infinite legroom” seat, the window seat behind the exit row , which is missing a seat in front of it. Snyder called it Southwest’s “golden seat.”

The obligatory @SouthwestAir shot... pic.twitter.com/hKG6y591yA — gary leff (@garyleff) April 22, 2022

Leff said the single most important factor in securing your desired seat is arriving at the gate 30 minutes before your flight.

“If you’re flying on another airline that has assigned seating, and you’re not trying to fight for overhead bin space, it sort of doesn’t matter when you board, as long as you’re there before they close the boarding door,” he said. “But Southwest turns that on its head. If your boarding number is A20, well, that doesn’t help you if they’re already boarding the C’s when you show up at the gate.”

A previous version of this article incorrectly said Southwest Airlines assigns boarding positions with letters A, B and C and a number between 1 and 50. The number assignments are from 1 to 60. The article has been corrected.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness . Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare , including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario , from canceled flights to lost luggage . Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas , including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed . Submit your question here . Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves .

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

The Travel Sisters

Tips on how to get a good seat on southwest airlines.

by Matilda | Mar 24, 2021 | Family Travel , Southwest , Tips | 103 comments

Tips on How to Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

Learn how the Southwest Airlines seating process works.

Southwest Airlines has a unique open seating policy – basically, seats are not assigned. When you check in for your Southwest flight, you are assigned a boarding group. Your boarding group and position determine the order in which you will be allowed to board the flight. Upon boarding the flight, you may choose any open seat.

Learn about Southwest Airlines boarding groups.

When you check in for your Southwest flight, you are assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a boarding position (1-60). During the Southwest boarding process , passengers are instructed to line up in order based on their boarding group and position.  So, passengers holding A group boarding passes board first, then B, then C. Within each group, passengers will line up based on their numbers.  For example, A1 will board before A20.

The key to getting a good seat on Southwest is, obviously, to board early.

I’ve found that an A group or early B group (B1-B30) is always sufficient to provide me with several good open seats and plenty of overhead bin space. B31-B60 can be okay too but it depends on how many people you are traveling with, how full the flight is and whether the flight is connecting from somewhere else. The C group usually means “center seat” and may require you to also gate check overhead bags.

Southwest Airlines Seating Tips How To Get A Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

Check in EXACTLY 24 hours before your flight.

If you would like to get a good seat on your next Southwest Airlines flight, follow this rule. Check in opens 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time. The earlier you check in, the earlier your spot in line will be. Many passengers will also be checking in 24 hours before the flight so a few minutes or seconds can make a big difference in your boarding group or position.  This is especially true on weekdays.  My strategy is to set an alarm or calendar entry five minutes before check in opens.  I pull up my reservation, enter all the necessary details (name, confirmation number) and wait.  As soon as the clock hits the time check-in opens, I hit that check in now button.

If you are unsure whether you will be able to check-in 24 hours prior to your flight, purchase Southwest EarlyBird Check-In.

I prefer not to spend any more money than I have to but found Southwest EarlyBird Check-In useful for those occasions I know I will not be able to manually check in.  The cost for Southwest Early Bird Check In is $15 – $25 one-way per passenger depending on the length of flight and popularity. When you purchase EarlyBird Check-In, Southwest automatically checks you in and assigns your boarding position within 36 hours of your flight’s departure. Southwest Early Bird Check In does not guarantee an A boarding position, but you most likely will be in the A or early B group. (See related post :  Is Southwest Early Bird Check In Worth It? ).

Pay even more money or fly more often to guarantee early boarding.

The only way to absolutely guarantee an A1-A15 boarding position on Southwest is to purchase a Business Select fare. This isn’t the most attractive option for leisure passengers though as the fare is more expensive.

If you still want a crack at that A1-A15 spot but don’t want to purchase a Business Select fare, you can try Upgraded Boarding .  Warning: this is not a guaranteed option as it may not be available.  On the day of travel, inquire at the gate or ticket counter before the boarding process begins.  If Upgraded Boarding is available, you can secure a boarding position in the A1-A15 group for $30, $40 or $50 per flight, depending on your itinerary.

Note: If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business credit card (our referral links), you will be reimbursed for the purchase of up to 4 Upgraded Boardings each anniversary year .

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards members with A-List and A-List Preferred elite status get priority boarding ahead of general boarding.

Traveling with a child? Familiarize yourself with Southwest family boarding.

Children age six years or younger and a guardian may board during Southwest Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding. If you have an A group boarding pass, go ahead and board with the A group instead of waiting for family boarding.

Don’t arrive late to the gate for your flight.

I repeat, don’t arrive late to the gate for your Southwest flight. There is no point in having an A or B boarding group if you will show up to your flight right before the airplane door closes. Sometimes that can’t be helped if your connecting flight was delayed so I guess at that point, just sit in your middle seat and be thankful you caught your flight.

If you have an early boarding group but by the time you arrive at your gate they are boarding a later group, don’t be shy. Immediately step to the front of the line to scan your boarding pass.  No one will think you are line cutting.

Does Southwest have First Class? No. All seats are economy and Southwest boarding process is first come first serve.

What is a best seat on Southwest?

The best seat on Southwest depends on your own personal needs.  Passengers with a connecting flight might need to sit in the front so they can deplane quicker.  Taller passengers might have an eye on snagging an exit row seat. Larger groups and families traveling with small children might want to make sure they can sit together. Personally, when traveling solo I like an aisle seat – especially one with an empty middle seat next to it. When traveling with my kids, I prefer sitting towards the back.

Find out how full the flight is before you board.

Sometimes Southwest gate agents make an announcement whether the flight is full. If not, I will ask. This is helpful in knowing whether I have a chance at my coveted aisle plus empty middle seat scenario.  On a completely full Southwest flight, I would choose an aisle seat with the middle seat already occupied by someone I wouldn’t mind sitting next to. Similarly, it would be helpful for someone traveling with a lap child to know whether an empty middle seat might be available.

Choose wisely what section of the plane you pick a seat.

Obviously not an exact science but often, older travelers and those with connecting flights seem to choose the front of the plane.  Families typically head towards the back, where they hope to find seats together and maybe an empty middle seat for a lap child.  My sweet spot on Southwest flights is from the middle of the plane to two-thirds of the way back.  The reasoning is that the front middle seats will fill up quickly with people resigned to their middle seat predicament or eager to disembark.  Also, people tend to pass up the middle section of the plane in hopes a random aisle or window seat can be found at the back.  Once they are at the back, they will likely just grab any seat there since it is so difficult to turn around.

Saving seats on Southwest Airlines is controversial and murky.

No one likes to spend any more money than they have to.  For some passengers, this means resorting to “seat saving”.  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what Southwest’s policy is on saving seats as it is not uniformly enforced. Many people won’t necessarily mind if someone is saving a middle seat next to them for a traveling companion that is close behind but some passengers take it to the extreme.  I’ve witnessed one man board early and attempt to block off a number of seats (on a full flight) for multiple travel companions with a C group. The flight attendant intervened but that is not always the case.

Recognize sneaky and dishonest tactics.

Much like the extreme seat-savers, some people think getting a seat on a plane is a no-holds barred type of thing.  I’ve heard of passengers attempting to keep seats empty by pretending a nonexistent/imaginary travel companion is simply in the bathroom.  Not only is this dishonest but also silly- what happens if they sit nearby and clearly no one returns from the bathroom? Conflict with fellow passengers is never a good thing.

On the less extreme end, sometimes two people traveling together try to block off a middle seat.  This is great for late boarders.  If you spot one of these twosomes, make a beeline for their row and ask to sit in the middle. Most likely, they will offer up either their aisle or window seat.

How to Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

103 Comments

Or you can sit in the middle of a couple and have them talk over you and pass things back and forth for four hours…my recent experience! But I guess sometimes you just get unlucky. But some of your other tips seem worth a try!

Ick, that sounds like a pretty bad flight!

Did you offer to switch seats with one of them?

My friend and I take an isle and a window, our personal preferences. If you take the middle we will not be moving which seems to surprise some passengers. If you are fun, join in our conversations

S Jumps I would join in on the conversation by asking why the two of you think you are worth three seats.

Best response ever

Did he say they’re worth two seats? Do they somehow make the third seat unavailable? NO! He said they both sit where they like and if someone comes to sit in the middle, that’s cool. They don’t swap seats just to be near their friends. Good God some people!

I would smack the shit out of your hands if you passed anything over me. I don’t mind getting apple juice all over me as long as it gets my point across.

You would then get your face smashed in and be on a breathing tube for the rest of your life… and yes, the jail time would be worth it

Internet warriors.

Are you and your friend portly people? You require that extra middle seat to share your snacks and arm rolls?

And I’d do a Taliban on your ass if you touched me

Yeah… That’s called “self-importance” and fits perfectly into how modern day people think of themselves and others. In a world of common decency, the person with the aisle seat would offer to switch with the person in the middle. It’s called “courtesy” but I’m guessing that doesn’t fit into your worldview, moron.

My girlfriend and I do this. Take the isle and window and hope no one comes. But if they do, the above is correct, we’ll offer them window. As I like Isle and my girlfriend will just move over.

Nobody is worth two seats. We just want to sit together. And we just try to pick who we’d prefer to sit with by offering them a seat. It’s no different than picking what middle seat you want to sit in by who’s already there.

Hey, you do what you have to do to be comfortable for a long flight.

You would think that because the passengers are doing all the work here, the tickets would be dirt cheap. Passengers also should be able to get their round trip tickets once and for all. This 24 hour nonsence is horrible, especially if you are away on vacation and 24 hours before you leave you have to remember to get your boarding pass arrangements done. Think about it,we go online, book our flight, go through the 24 hour process and get back online to arrange your own boarding passes. I have tried paying the extra $15 and ended up in Group C! What a ripoff! I did a lot of flying with Southwest, but have not because they do not try to improve any of this. It is a shame because they are a convenient airline for me with very little delays, free baggage, however, their prices have escalated which probably include baggage fees unknown to the passenger.

I guess you only fly SW and think the grass in greener, but SW often runs $100+ less than the competition Basic Economy. This is a new fare that is below economy. This doesn’t even included access to the overhead bin.

One more tips. Before you board, ask if flight is oversold. In lots of cases, the gate agent would let you preboard and sit in the first row so he/she could easily locate you if the flight is actually oversold and a volunteer is needed.

That’s a good one- thanks for sharing!

Unfortunately, I have seen many instances where one passenger purchases early-bird boarding and saves a seat for a traveling companion who boards later. The flight attendants do nothing.

Yeah, I’ve seen flight attendants let it slide too a few times but usually in those cases the second person wasn’t too far behind.

You should just tell them, “Oh, well where are they?” They should have been here if they wanted it.” That easy, seriously. If that is the case, tell them you had that seat they are in already saved before you got on the plane. If they complain or say I sat here first though, say, “Exactly” and just sit down. People are just too submissive.

Nice write up. One thing I’ve noticed is that the FA’S will keep preboarders from sitting in exit rows for obvious reasons. If the flight is super light just wait until everyone has boarded and then go toward the back. Most people want to sit up front. I’ve been on planes where it is totally full in the first 15 rows and nearly empty in the back. People are funny like that.

Thanks! You’re right, people are sometimes in a hurry just to get settled anywhere they grab the first open seat they find.

Thank – you so much for taking the time to write this excellent and complete guide. I’m sure many people, like me, have found very helpful

Who benefits from this idiotic seating policy? Wish Southwest would change this system. Boarding doesn’t move any faster.

Just fly elsewhere, this seating policy sucks.

I just wish southwest would make people with the those huge overstuffed over head bags sit in the back of the plane.I missed a connecting flight because I was seated further back and had to wait almost 30 minutes for families and people trying to maneuver those big bags.I never take extra bags.just a tote that fits under the seat.

I always just have one regulation size bag that goes in the overhead and is really easy to manage. If it takes that long to maneuver a bag it probably should just be checked in- bummer missing a connection.

I agree. Also one time I decided to put my computer bag up top and people kept trying to push their oversize baggage into it and when I got it out I found it was ripped from some idiot.

I also note the number of wheelchairs (all are pre-boarded along with family members traveling with the wheelchair passenger). These passengers take front seats. If a passenger requiring a wheelchair is traveling alone, however, I’ve noticed that the seats next to them are often open and available.

That’s a good one- especially if you need to be up front to catch a connection.

Some people don’t like the bulkhead seats because there are no trays so you have to hold drinks and or food. What i dont like is that those seats are not kept open for handicapped people who board when that flight was a continuing flight and those passengers are allowed to move to different seats. I had this happen when my handicapped mom and i were on a continuing flight and 2 other bigger guys moved to the bulkhead seats. Then there were handicapped passengers boarding who had to take further seats back. I think southwest needs to change that procedure. Another situation in which i voiced my opion mightily was when our flight was delayed and my mom, which they knew she was handicapped, didnt keep an open seat up front for her and i. We ended up way in the back with her in a middle seat and me in a middle seat further back. She is very hard of hearing so she kept looking at me everytime an announcement came over the pa. If the flight had had difficulty i would not b near her to help her. Its time southwest starts doing seat assignments. It takes just about the same amount of time or longer to board a southwest flight as other airlines. It would b so much easier particularly with all the stupid people who bring big duffles etc on board.

Southwest is Southwest. You really need to fly with someone else. Why would you want to change the only airline with unassigned seating? So many of us love their procedures. I’m partially handicapped. I don’t expect people to wait on me, just give me a little more time. As long as I can get on that plane and get a seat…I’m happy to be going. I love Southwest.

I agree. Southwest is southwest. Overall their my airline of choice domestically for short to mid-range flights. Each airline has different boarding procedures so it sounds like individuals that need customized travel options should go with another carrier. I sometimes do this when I travel. For example when I’m flying to coast to coast or a two to three convection I go with another carrier.

From these comments I think I will stick with United and know I have the seat I want

My son is handicapped and we usually take the first seats. Why? because he cannot walk very far and its easier. We don’t mind waiting to be the last off, as its much easier because they have the wheelchair waiting for us it lets all the others go ahead so there is no waiting. Yes we stay on the plane and do not change but we also stay in the same seats I cannot move to another seat as he is unable to communicate People have difference reasons for staying with the person that is handicapped. besides not able to walk very far he is also mentally chanallanged

I am handicapped and endured the same situation where people were already seated in the first row. I was confused cause there was no handicap first row. I asked the flight attendant where the handicap seating was and she flippantly gestured to the entire plane. I had to tell her that according to the law you must provide accomodations to the handicapped. She immediately changed her tune and asked for volunteers to move. I felt so empowered after that.

Great tips. I have seen many with an imaginary friend, some with two. They simply put all of their things on every seat in a row. Once an FA told somebody like that that they know all the tricks and made her move her stuff. Also encountered somebody with a high B ticket who said that she could stand at the very front of the B line. Even though several of us pointed out that she needs to find her number, she insisted on being in the front. I like Southwest because of their free luggage policy and the ability to bank money when changes are made.

It’s pretty funny when someone gets called out for sketchy behavior. Agree, Southwest’s change policy has come in handy more than a few times for me.

I could have really used these tips when I was selling travel! Great post!

Thanks glad you found them helpful!

The seating policy is the main reason I choose to not fly Southwest. Only time it’s beneficial for me is if I’m traveling with my toddler and get to take advantage of family boarding. Plus, I hate Midway.

I am kinda neutral on the seating policy but it does seem like most people either love or hate it.

I agree! Midway is a drag. I live close to ORD and I’m dreading that I had to book with Southwest out of Midway. Way cheaper and with my trip being in January I needed the flexibility to change if the weather was bad (cruise) and other airlines had little to no nonstop to Houston Hobby. Oh love the not nickel and dining you tho (bags,seats etc) that other airlines do.

its not so much the seating policy for me as it is the 3×3. Why not a 4 and a 2? id pay extra for the 2. would you?

Would love a 4 by 2 as well. I don’t particularly like sitting next to strangers as I require a lot of personal space.

Only fly 2-3 times per year; 3×3 ? Or 4×2 ? Hate the seating policy, love to sit with my wife. I must have an isle sit; I am extreame Claus-tro-pho-bic. The anxiety starts the day before the flight, and gets worse until the flight is over & then the return home!!! Most times the flight booking is done by someone else. When I am in control, I fly with other carriers. BTW, the horrible Clause -Tro-Pho-Bic Anxiety began 50 yrs ago by being pinned down in fire fights in war

Explain this; I check in to a flight the second it’s available and get B15. My friend checks in to the same flight hours later and gets A25. What’s up with that?

I am guessing your friend might have paid for EarlyBird check-in or maybe has A-List status.

I’m traveling for first time on Southwest with 5 family members (adults) and now worried this was bad decision. Nothing like getting stressed the first day of vacation! Suprised there haven’t been numerous altercations.

I don’t think it was necessarily a bad decision as there are a lot of positives about flying Southwest. You should be able to sit together as long as you can board early (in As or low Bs). I recommend putting an alarm and checking in exactly 24 hours before the flight time OR purchasing EarlyBird check-in. If you want to save money, 3 of you can pay for EarlyBird check-in and save the middle seats. I think seat saving is more an issue when 1 person is saving a lot of seats especially those in the aisle or window. On a positive note, I find that Southwest has more legroom than other airlines so you should have a more comfortable flight. Plus they don’t charge for checked bags.

Southwest planes are the DIRTIEST in the industry. Be sure to take disinfecting wipes with you and DON’T use the lavatory

Maybe that’s why the SW planes are so dirty. People aren’t using the bathrooms!

You should carry wipes no matter what plane you’re on. Some people are just nasty and the flight turn arounds aren’t enough time to clean up properly. This or they just don’t care enough.

I’ve written a guide (for myself) with assorted info for the first-time LUV flyer (again me). There’s lots of good tips here that I can add to my cheat-sheet. It’s helpful to be aware of all protocols before flying with them. By flying Southwest, I’m willing to relinquish an assigned seat (United) as long as I know how to get the best seat for me. Thanks!

How do you get on the A list or preferred list

A-list is for frequent flyers. You need to fly 25 qualifying one-way flights or earn 35,000 Tier Qualifying Points in a calendar year.

I will be flying Southwest from Milwaukee to Los Angels – then American Airlines to Hawaii and return to CA. In your opinion, how important is the TSA pre-check program for this type of flight?

Hi Freeman, Sorry for the delay in responding. While it is always nice to have TSA Precheck its value depends on how often you fly. I would not sign up for it only to use it on one trip. How often do you think you will be flying in the next 5 years? Do you knave any children under 13?

Thanks for your reply. We have no children under 13 nor any under 30. And we are in the 75 to 80 plus range, so I don’t know how many more years we might be traveling our selves. So even though we might get caught in a long line this time, based on the dollars, it likely won’t pay off to have the TSA Pre-check?

Probably not worth it to pay for TSA Precheck if will only use it once or twice in 5 years. It is hard to predict the future but I would suggest that each person should divide the cost of TSA by your estimate of how many flights you think you will take in the next 5 years to see how much you would pay for each use.

If you have a credit card that gives you free TSA Precheck then you might as well sign up.

You might also get TSA Precheck randomly on your boarding pass. In the past, seniors were likely to get TSA Precheck without even signing up.

Even if you do not have TSA Precheck, the line might not necessarily be long-it depends on many factors including what time and day you are flying. I would recommend going to the airport early to be on the safe side. You would have to take off shoes, jackets and belts which some people find annoying.

Thanks for the information and your help.

Now I’m worried – I just purchased 8 tickets – for me and my husband and our 8 children. The youngest one is 10, and it would be HORRIBLE if she couldn’t sit with one of us! The others are older and would love not sit with us, but I’m worried about the 10 year old! Is it possible that she would get a boarding number not by mine????

If you are all on the same reservation I think you would get nearby boarding positions.

Even if your boarding groups were not next to each other you can still board together – but you would have to board with the family member that had the last boarding position. (For example, if two people were traveling together and one had A40 while the other had B12, they would both have to board at B12 to be able to walk on the plane together.)

The key to all sit together is to board early (A group or early B group). I would recommend setting an alarm and checking in exactly 24 hours before your flight’s departure time.

We just had this happen on a full flight to Florida. I explained that my 10 year old could not sit alone and the crew asked if anyone could make room. No one responded so crew upped their game and offered free movie or drinks if someone would move to allow 2 free seats. If this happens to anyone speak up. Crew will work with uou

That is great advice. The crew does not want young children sitting alone and will usually help you sit together.

will be traveling with granddaughter and lap baby will I be allowed to board with her during family boarding in order to help with baby? This will also be first time for granddaughter to fly.

I think you would be allowed to board during family boarding. According to southwest: “An adult traveling with a child six years old or younger may board during Family Boarding, which occurs after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding.”

Traveing southeest airline with a 88 year old individual, that uses a non electric wheel chair and has difficulty walking. Will this person be given pre boardimg seat assignment,early boarding and/or any other preferential treatment. Thanks for your assistance.

My first time flying southwest:

I checked in exactly 24 hours before the flight. Got boarding pass b17

Second time completely forgot, and checked in about 3- 4hr before the flight. Got A17.

So, The “early you check in the better” theory is down the drain. What I did noticed was: My first B position I paid 64 bucks for that flight. My second A17 boarding position I paid over $100 for that flights. So I guess that’s what really matters. Not how early you checked in.

We have flown on many Southwest flights and do find that, in general, the earlier you check in the better boarding position you get. One factor that affects your position is how many other people are also checking in early for that flight. For example, I have noticed that on weekday flights, I have to check in right at 24 hours because most of the people on those flights are experienced business travelers that also check in at 24 hours. On the other hand, I have checked in later for Sunday morning flights and still got a good boarding position. I have noticed that most people on Sunday flights are traveling for leisure for the weekend, are less experienced and too busy on Saturday to check in at the 24 hour mark. I wonder if that was a factor on your flights?

People may have bought early bird with a reservation. And were automatically checked-in by SW, then less than 24 hours before (even up to 10 minutes before flight) the flight if they cancel their reservation – their ‘A’ boarding position gets put back into the system and whoever checks in next gets that boarding position.

Here is a step by step guide I put together to setup automatic check-in on your own computer at the 24 hr mark – http://www.theartoftravelhacking.com/automatic-check-southwest-flights/

If you sign up for early bird check in, do you still need to check in as well to make sure you have a good boarding position? Or will it automatically show you when you log in what your boarding position is?

early bird checks you in automatically to get a good boarding position – but you will still have to print a boarding pass, get one at the airport kiosk, or pull it up on your phone before you head through security.

We signed up for the Early Bird check in. Does anybody know when I will be able to see what boarding position we received? If I log in 24 hours before the flight to check, will it be there already? Thank you for all of the other great information in this post and in the comments!

I see it when I log in 24 hours before my flight to print my boarding pass.

You’ll be able to see your boarding position right away at the 24 hour mark before you depart. Get the southwest App and they’ll send ya a push alert of your boarding position with early bird.

If you have a connecting flight, and have paid for early bird seating on the first flight, does it also apply to the second flight? We will have to change planes too!

This is one of these rules that often can vary. It should check you in but I’ve had times when I’ve had early bird that it checks in a B assignment.

This might already be mentioned by exit rows also have language, age and mobility requirements. Plus if your on a B737-700 series the window exit seat is removed on some of the aircraft. When in doubt check seat guru!

My husband and I are traveling with 5 children, the youngest being 5 years old. Does that mean that we can all board during family boarding?

In my experience, you will probably be fine. The issue Southwest tries to eliminate in Family Boarding is the opposite…4 adults trying to board with one child/toddler. Just check with the gate agent and be friendly.

Are seniors (85 years old) permitted to board a flight early, and if so, are there certain restrictions as to where they sit?

Recent experience would indicate that most people are paying for the early check in and/or that there are many A+ travelers that automatically get higher boarding numbers. Bottom line if you are an occasional SW flyer be prepared to be at the back of the bus. Checking in early will do you little good. I just checked in and got B51. Started hitting the check in button 2 minutes before my phone showed the exact 24 hour before wheels up time.

I fly SWA exclusively and am A+Preferred meaning I usually board from A16-A21. Not sure I’d pay extra to board A1-A15 as sometimes the flight is a non-originating flight and still contains many passengers flying to the next destination so you don’t get the seat you really want, hence you may have wasted your money unless the goal is to just be able to get an aisle seat or room for your bag. If I don’t get the emergency aisle I’ll sit in row 9 or multiples of 9 as they receive drinks first. I’ve only had a couple bad experiences with miserable flight crews but the exceptional experiences far outweigh those. Great airline and once you learn the boarding process and use the aforementioned tips you’ll never want to fly other airlines. Did I mention free drinks for A+ and above and the Companion Pass Program?

I will protest to the flight attendant when an early boarder puts his personal items in the seat next to him and claims he is saving a seat. I have talked to the airline and this is against their policy. I feel someone doing this is more rude then my complaint!

Travel often with Southwest, and I get really steamed when I see” wheelchair’ passengers get to board early, but on the other end of the flight,often see these same passengers sprinting around the baggage carousels lugging big suitcases.

Southwest needs a better system to identify truly deserving pre-boarders who abuse the system and laugh at the rest of us.

Perhaps its time to require medical certificates signed by doctors?

The second paragraph heading, “The key to getting a good seat…,” made me ask myself, “what’s a good seat?” I appreciate that you addressed that later in the article. As with you, I do prefer an aisle seat if just for the sake of the feeling of extra room on one side of me (briefly tucking in when the service carts come thru), though if I intend to nap on a longer flight I prefer having a window to lean up against, which is also good when a very broad passenger takes the center seat. Despite where you pick to sit, a good seat is ultimately one with overhead storage! I know overhead bin space isn’t earmarked per seat, but there is a common sense factor that makes it somewhat of an unspoken guideline. I despise when a person puts their stuff in the first open bin spot then goes to the back of the plane. The later groups board and someone filling a hole near the front of the plane has no overhead storage and has to make their way to the back to find room in a bin, then make their way back to their seat. If that isn’t bad enough, now they have to get their stuff from the back when the plane deboards, all on the account of a jerk that puts their stuff in a bin space that would typically be for a passenger in that row, rather than putting in close to the seat they chose.

Seat savers are simply violating my right to sit in a seat I’ve paid for. After a trip to Aruba last year we will never, not for all the tea on China ever, fly SWA again. Paid for business Select, arrived very early (this scenario played out identically both inbound and out) and wat in rows 7 and 13 respectively. Outbout a group of 5 children preboarded with 1 adult, each kid took a middle seat and held the entire row for others in their group in later boarding groups. FA’s were useless. Disinterested and unresponsive. I am 6’1”+, 275 and thought that paying for BS (appreciate) seats we’d have options. The seat saving kid brigade took the bulkheads and wing exit rows…how can a child hold a wing exit seat? Bonus, one of the FA’s I had asked to assist us took the opportunity to be discourteous and unprofessional the entire AUA-ISP with stop in MCO trip. Written complaints (email) followed the flights with zero SWA response. I opened 2 Chase Visa cards and purchased BS to maximize points, now I’ve got 150,000 points I will not use. Oh, almost neglected to include that through the credit card spend bonuses I had achieved my Companion Pass. SWA did not honor it for the AUA trip…! Paid full fare for both wife and I, still have a never used Companion Pass. Yikes, SWA will never see another thin dime of my hard earned dollars.

I am concerned after reading everyone’s comments. I am traveling from New York to California with my elderly mom who will be using airport wheelchair assistance to/from the gate, but she cannot sit alone and must be with me as she is non-verbal due to aphasia from a stroke and needs assistance in other areas. It’s also hard for her to get up and down. I was hoping to get the bulkhead seat with her. I’m also nervous because we have a connecting flight changing planes and we need to disembark quickly, which is going to be very difficult. What are your recommendations. She’s already stressed and I feel terrible for her.

I have come to the conclusion that Southwest is the least predictable airline there is both from comments and from my own miserable experience with them. If you haven’t already traveled, can you get a refund on your tickets and book with another less “cattle car” airline? That bulkhead seat is highly coveted by a lot of people for a lot of reasons – claustrophobia, long legs, etc. and usually goes with the first person on the plane. A communication problem will not get you the bulkhead seat. Another airline may cost more but it might be worth it not to have the worries ruin your trip. Southwest may be cheap but there is an old saying: You get what you pay for. Best wishes on your trip.

Hi….I have flown many times with Southwest. People in wheelchairs and whoever is flying with them generally get on the plane first and have the bulkhead seats. The only advantage to flying with them is free baggage. Their tickets are not all that cheap anymore. It takes forever to get a free ticket and there are so many blackout dates. I would fly with them for airport convenience, however, I started to hate when a trip that takes 2-3 hours becomes an all day deal because they stop in Baltimore. I always hated the seating issue and having to stop what you are doing to get your boarding pass online and try to not end up being in C group. Good luck when flying with them.

Blackout dates? Are you kidding me? No such thing!

This policy sucks. Southwest is the walmart of airlines. They heard people in and let them fight for seats that don’t suck. You will not sit with friends/family most of the time. They provide no seating service, letting people fight over seats. If you like being treated like you’re in a third world country, fly Southwest! Dreadful policy.

Print this out and save it. It is from Southwest website. No one can really save a seat.

Pick a seat, any seat At Southwest®, we let you sit where you like. We don’t assign seats on our flights, so feel free to sit in any available seat once you board the plane.

i pretend to be sick and start coughing. unless the flight is completely full, nobody wants to sit next to the guy that might be sick/ill.

may be deranged but it works!

Just completed a roundtrip from L.A. to Newark on Southwest with layovers in Denver and Chicago. Out of the three seating groups I know of (A, B & C), the best we managed for early check- in was B. There was always an offer for A group boarding at the gate for an additional $15-$16 when available. Boarding before the next group also makes overhead storage space easier to find. Southwest ends flights to Newark in November(?) 2019.

Postscript – I forgot to mention my shock when a guy with a full-size guitar case was allowed to take it aboard. There went two overhead storage spaces for the price of one…

Twice, or a flight from Phoenix to Baltimore and back in June I picked the middle seat in the front of the plane with more legroom because I had a small dog and was told it was occupied. I told him I didn’t Believe him ..call him an A hole and told him that If he wanted to mess with me for the rest of the flight which was five hours long. Go ahead. Never heard another word out of him for the rest of the flight. You don’t have these problems on other airlines because you get to pick your seat before your flight. Ruined my flight.

Active duty military board right after “A” (pretty much ~usually have to ~ have to have your CAC card or orders printed…). If you have uniform (which military kind of discourages unless returning from deployment) SW will also cut slack for slightly heavier bag (uniforms + boots etc…) military travel usually has deals with other carriers so frequently does seem to book with SW for some reason. TSA also seem to be nice to me when I use CAC for ID purposes in line. Only had to fly home from deployment once in uniform but number of people and other military people from almost every service were super nice (especially older heroes from ww2 etc…) military generally strongly strongly strongly discourages any alcohol drinks while in uniform so always best to decline drinks except pop or coffee. Families of other service members usually super nice too.

Mil travel *DOESNT* seem to like to use SW for some reason…

If I have 2 southwest planes within 2 hours of each other on one reservation to complete my trip, how many calls are necessary to get my boarding area for entry for both planes.

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how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Southwest Boarding Groups Explained: From A-List to Group C! [2023]

Are you wondering how exactly Southwest boarding groups work?

This article will show you everything you need to know about the Southwest boarding process.

I’ll also show you different ways that you can get priority boarding and cover things like family boarding and military boarding. I’ll also give you some details about Southwest seating (charts, maps, etc.) and some tips for getting the best seats.

Table of Contents

How many boarding groups does Southwest have?

Southwest has three main boarding groups:

  • Boarding group A
  • Boarding group B
  • Boarding group C

If you want to understand the Southwest boarding process though, you’ll need to understand much more than the three boarding groups. Keep reading below for more info on the boarding process!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

How does Southwest boarding work?

When you check-in for your flight, you’ll be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and within that boarding group you’ll be assigned a number (1 through 60).

So for example, you might be assigned A50, which means you’ll be the 50th person to board within Group A.

It could vary depending on the airport, but generally, you’ll see monitors or signs showing you where to stand for your group. The signs will typically say something like “A 1-30” or “A 31-60.”

An “A 1-30” sign would mean that if you have an A boarding pass and your boarding number is 30 or under (e.g., A25), that is where you need to go to line up.

You should also see some silver posts marked with numbers which will tell you where to stand. These numbers are usually marked in increments of five.

So if you have A50, you’ll locate the post that might have something like “50 to 55” marked and that is where you will need to go.

Southwest boarding post

You will then stand in that space and as the other four passengers start to accumulate in that area you will usually sort yourselves out by asking each other what boarding spot they have.

If you have A50, you will be in front of that little “50 to 55” section but if you had something like A53 you would be in the middle. Not all passengers care about getting in the exact order but some do.

Once you find where you need to stand, you’ll simply wait for them to start boarding and proceed to make your way to the plane. Once you’re inside the plane, you can choose any seat since seats are not assigned with Southwest.

As unconventional as it might sound from other airlines like United , the boarding procedures are usually pretty smooth.

Southwest planes at airport

What order does Southwest board its planes?

Although there are only three boarding groups, the actual boarding pass issuance process is actually more complex.

Below is the order that boarding passes will be issued, which also determines the order that you will board the plane.

Note that Southwest will usually not call for people to board by these categories. For example, they are not going to ask for all the “A-List” or “EarlyBird” members to board.

Instead, they will call groups up by boarding pass group number. You will hear something like, “now boarding all passengers with Group A boarding passes numbered one through 30.”

So below is the order that you can expect boarding passes to be issued/the order boarding will go.

Passengers already on the plane

Some passengers may already be on the plane depending on the origin of the flight. But if some passengers got off the plane for a layover, they might be among the first to board.

This means that you could have a Business Select ticket, and still have several people board before you depending on the size of the crowds.

Preboarding

Preboarding is available for “customers who have a specific seating need to accommodate their disability and/or need assistance in boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device.”

(Those with service animals will usually be included in this group as well.)

This is also when unaccompanied minors board the plane.

Other passengers who might board at this time are those with large camera equipment, instruments, and certain other select people like those who need an extra seat .

This group will be able to board before anybody else despite whatever boarding group or boarding number they are issued.

Because of the open seat policy for Southwest, passengers using preboarding may come under more scrutiny than other airlines.

So if you want to use preboarding with Southwest, it’s a good idea to inquire at the check-in counter about getting that on your boarding pass. In addition, you can also add a special service request to your booking.

Business Select

The next individuals to board are those who purchased Business Select fares. (This will be the first group to be issued boarding passes beginning with Group A.)

Southwest doesn’t offer a traditional first class but they do offer Business Select fares, which offer you the highest earning rate for Rapid Rewards. (More on those tickets below).

After passengers who have purchased Business Select fares, those who were upgraded to Business Select will be issued boarding passes.

A-list Preferred

The next to get boarding passes will be A-List Preferred , which is the top-tier elite status offered by Southwest.

You can qualify for A-List Preferred by flying 50 one-way qualifying segments or earning 70,000 qualifying points.

Once you qualify for A-List Preferred, you’ll receive a 100% bonus on Rapid Rewards earned, priority check-in, and security lane access. You’ll also get free in-flight wifi (on planes equipped with wifi) and the ability to get on earlier flights for free.

A-list is the bottom-tier elite status just below A-List Preferred and so they get boarding passes right after A-List Preferred.

A-List can be achieved by flying 25 one-way qualifying segments or earning 35,000 qualifying points.

Once you qualify for A-List, you’ll receive a 25% bonus on Rapid Rewards earned, priority check-in, and security lane access.

The next passengers to get boarding passes will be those with EarlyBird.

Southwest EarlyBird automatically checks you in 36 hours prior to departure and while it does not guarantee an A boarding spot, it will offer you a much better chance of getting a window or aisle seat. Be aware that recently, Southwest Airlines made a change so that Early Bird Check-in is not available on all flights.

Read more below on whether or not it’s worth it.

Boarding Group A/B

After EarlyBird passengers are issued boarding passes then boarding passes are issued based on the number of slots left over for Group A.

As mentioned, it is possible that there are no Group A boarding spots left for some EarlyBird passengers so the next boarding passes issued could be for Group B.

Also, some people falling into certain categories below might always be able to board right after Group A.

Need extra time

Something interesting about Southwest is that they state that if “a Customer with a disability simply needs a little extra time to board, we will permit the Customer to board before Family Boarding, between the “A” and “B” groups.”

Technically, this goes against the rules for preboarding because even people who only need a little extra time during boarding should qualify for preboarding.

Family boarding

If you are traveling with a kid 6 or under, you should be able to board in between Group A and Group B (this is the family boarding time ).

A-List (last minute)

Also, if you’re A-List and you purchased a last minute ticket you’ll be able to board between Group A and Group B.

And finally, military members (usually in uniform but not always) can board between Group A and Group B. If you’re not traveling in your uniform, consider showing your military ID to a gate agent and inquiring about priority boarding.

Boarding Group B

Once boarding Group A is filled up, then boarding Group B boarding passes will be issued.

If you’re in boarding Group B, you can still get a decent seat if you’re in B1 to B30, but the closer you get to boarding Group C, the tougher it’s going to be to get your desired seat.

However, if you’re okay with sitting in the rear of the plane, it will be easier to find desirable seats or seats together.

Boarding Group C

Once boarding Group B is filled up, then boarding Group C boarding passes will be issued.

Most of the time if you’re in Group C, it’s going to be very difficult to get a window seat or aisle seat. Head towards the back for your best odds.

Standbys will be the last to board.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg9a8jRGsVM[/embedyt]

Southwest boarding area

Companion Pass Boarding

The Southwest Companion Pass allows a partner to fly for free with you for up to two full calendar years and it’s one of the most valuable travel perks sought by many.

When you utilize the Companion Pass you and your partner will not necessarily get boarding passes right next to each other. Southwest did run a trial allowing companions to board next to each other but I’m unaware of the results of the trial.

Why do boarding groups matter?

Besides just being able to board the plane quicker and choose your desired seat (window or aisle), there are two specific reasons why you’d want a higher boarding pass.

Southwest has a generous baggage policy where they allow you to check two bags for free.

As for carry-ons, it’s the same baggage policy that most other major airlines have for their standard tickets: 1 personal item and 1 carry-on.

So by getting a better boarding position, you’ll be able to guarantee that you’ll have overhead storage for your bags.

Emergency row seats

Emergency exit rows on Southwest planes have extra legroom and/or have rows with only two seats which are great for couples.

By securing a higher boarding pass, your flight can become a lot more enjoyable as you’ll have more room.

Southwest usually flies 737-700s and 737-800s and the 737-800s have more emergency exit rows with only two seats, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of time (if possible) to see which type of aircraft you are flying on.

Southwest seats

Southwest seating details (seating chart)

If you’re flying Southwest, chances are you’ll be flying on a 737-700 or a 737-800.

You might be wondering about how much room you’ll have with your Southwest seating and here’s what you can expect:

  • 737-700 — Pitch (leg room): 31 inches; width 17 inches
  • 737-800 — Pitch (leg room): 32 to 33 inches; width 17 inches
  • 737-800MAX — Pitch (leg room): 32 to 33 inches; width 17.8 inches

So as you can see, when it comes to Southwest seating, you’ll get more leg room with the 737-800 according to SeatGuru and you’ll have a wider seat with the 737-800 Max.

.8 inches might now sound like that much but every little bit helps when you’re flying. You can view the Southwest seating charts here . 

Southwest seats

Get the best seat selection (Southwest priority boarding)

There are a few ways that you can secure “priority boarding” with Southwest.

I put that in quotations because there aren’t true priority boarding groups but there are some ways you can effectively get priority boarding and get the best seat selection.

If you purchase a Business Select fare, you’ll be guaranteed a boarding position A1 to A15.

Business Select fares are usually just a little bit more expensive than Anytime fares but they allow you to earn more points and also offer the following benefits:

  • Guaranteed A1-A15 boarding
  • Fly By lane access
  • Free premium drink
  • 12 Rapid Rewards per dollar spent
  • Fully refundable fare

You can read more on whether or not Business Select fares are worth it here . 

Upgrade to Business Select

Instead of purchasing Business Select fares you can also upgrade.

The cost to upgrade to Business Select varies from  $30 to $50 per segment , depending on the route.

To upgrade, simply approach the ticket counter or desk at the departure gate and inquire about the upgrade.

Sometimes they make you upgrade at the gate reserved for your flight but other times you can do it at check-in or at another Southwest gate.

Southwest should be able to tell you exactly what boarding number you’d receive before you upgrade so you can see if it’s worth it.

Update: you can now upgrade online at the time of check-in!

The Southwest Priority Credit Card offers up to four upgrades to priority boarding (A1 to A15) based on availability per year.

Among other benefits, it also offers a $75 annual credit,  20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies, and  20% back on in-flight drinks, WiFi, messaging, and movies. It’s not a bad way to cover those upgrades to Business Select if you only need to cover a few of those a year. 

Southwest EarlyBird

Another option to secure a priority boarding position is to go with Southwest EarlyBird.

This will automatically check you in 36 hours prior to departure.

EarlyBird does not guarantee an A boarding pass but it will almost always get you a boarding pass that will allow you to get an aisle or window seat.

For the most part, you should be able to get a window seat or aisle seat just by checking in yourself 24 hours before your flight. (It’s often possible to get an A boarding pass checking in on your own.)

However, if you won’t be available to check in 24 hours prior or you don’t think that you’ll remember then EarlyBird could be worth it.

EarlyBird used to cost $10 each way and then it was increased to $15 each way. But recently, the pricing was changed to dynamic pricing so it could cost up to $25.

Good News: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card now offers two annual credits for Southwest EarlyBird!

You can read more about whether or not Southwest EarlyBird is worth it here.

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Can you save seats on Southwest?

There’s a lot of debate as to whether or not its acceptable to save seats on Southwest flights.

For the most part it does seem to be frowned upon but you can usually save seats within reason.

Generally, saving seats at the rear of the plane is not an issue , especially if you’re trying to keep your family together.

With that said, if you have a very large group, you might be inviting some issues since saving multiple rows can get a little messy at times.

Also, you don’t want to save seats in the front of the plane, as that might lead to confrontations. In addition, it’s usually not a good idea to save seats in the emergency exit rows as those are usually in high demand.

Tip: One trick I’ve done in the past is to get the flight attendant to occupy a seat as people board and people will usually pass over that seat.

Can groups board together?

Southwest will allow you to board in groups even if your boarding passes are not directly before or after each other.

The catch is that they want you to board with the member who has the lowest boarding pass.

So for example, let’s say there are three of you and you have the following boarding passes:

Southwest will ask that A25 and A60 board with B30.

This is to preserve the “integrity” of the boarding process since it actually doesn’t affect the boarding waiting time of any of the other passengers.

How to print a Southwest boarding pass?

You can easily print your boarding pass by checking in online.

You can print your boarding pass  online  at Southwest.com or at the airport using a self-service kiosk on the day of departure.

Southwest also allows you to board with a electronic or mobile boarding passes. You can request a mobile boarding pass at the time of check-in on Southwest.com, the Southwest.com mobile site, or the Southwest mobile app for iPhone or Android.

But note that mobile boarding passes are not currently available to passengers traveling on international flights.

Southwest Tips

If you want to learn more tips about flying for Southwest click here.

Also, if you want to earn more Rapid Rewards, be sure to check out the Southwest Shopping Portal . 

Southwest boarding FAQ

You can get the best boarding group on Southwest by purchasing or upgrading to Business Select. Upgrading will cost you $30-$50 per segment. You can also get a better boarding position by having A-List status. By purchasing EarlyBird, you can also increase your odds of getting in the first boarding group although it is not guaranteed.

Southwest does not allow you to select your seat prior to the flight.

Opinions are mixed on saving seats with Southwest Airlines. The best advice is to save seats in the back of the plane if you must and try to avoid saving multiple rows at a time when flying with a large group.

A-List will board directly after Business Select. First, A-List Preferred will board and then following them A-List will board.

Family boarding (which is offered to families traveling with a kid 6 or under), allows you to board between Group A and Group B.

Typically, if you have a boarding position under B30 you should be able to find a window or aisle seat. The further back in the plane you decide to sit, the more likely you will find a window or aisle seat.

Standby passengers will be the last to board.

You generally will have 31 to 32 inches of legroom.

No, Southwest stopped doing the special boarding process in March 2021.

Southwest boarding policies are pretty straight forward.

There are a few ways that you can get priority boarding though they all come with different degrees of assurance.

how to get seat assignment on southwest airlines

Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo . He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio .

One comment

Hey Daniel, do you have any insight on this phenomenon? I was standing in line at A54 and noticed that there were a LOT of empty spots in front of me (A31-A53) in a random array. There were even quite a few sporadic spots in the A16-A30 line next to me. After those A16-A30 people boarded the B1-B30 lined up and there were about 10 people with huge gaps between them. The flight was obviously not full and only had about 75 people flying (lucky me!). It was also an early flight (5am). There’s no way that 60+ people cancelled their trips at the last minute leaving these huge gaps, but it made me wonder how a person could be assigned B2, for example, the next person B8, then B12, etc. with no reasoning to the gap sizes. Again, this is assuming that half of the people on the flight were no shows or late cancellations – highly unlikely, especially because the flight check in lady confirmed that the flight was never fully sold.

It makes me think that SWA is assigning random line assignments Not in numerical order. With 75 passengers you would expect the bottom half of the A group and the first part of the B group to all be together. I get that they leave a little space for A List Preferred and all of that, but it’s odd that someone was assigned B2 and the next person that checked in was assigned B8 or whatever.

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My Secrets to Getting the Best Seats on Southwest

Some travelers won’t even fly Southwest  due to their quirky open seating boarding process It can be stressful and often means you have to summon up your best hustle energy to get a good seat on Southwest. And of course, a good seat means different things to different people.

It’s best to board with a plan! Here are some tricks, tips and strategies so that the dreaded middle seat goes to someone other than you!

What's it like to fly Southwest Airlines

How Southwest Airlines Open Seating Policy Works

If you’re new to Southwest and can’t figure out how to pick your seats, don’t worry, neither can anyone else.

Southwest Airlines has an open seating policy. Seats are not assigned ahead of time, rather passengers are assigned a boarding group, A, B, or C, and a boarding position, 1-60.

The boarding group and position determine when you board the plane, and thus how many seats you will be able to choose from.

The whole thing used to be a true free for all. The airline handed out placards with one of the three letters. People would line up under a letter, camping out on the ground for literally hours before a flight departed, in hope of improving their real estate situation onboard the flight.

Southwest decided this wasn’t a good look, and back in the mid-2000s added boarding positions. Now, the lines have numbers and everyone is expected to sort themselves out based on their exact position in line.

Unless you really are dead set on sitting at the bulkhead or you really want an exit row aisle or window, the key to finding a decent seat on a full flight is to secure a boarding position in roughly the first half of passengers to board.

  • If you’re not using these tips, tricks, and strategies, you’re spending too much on your travels!

What Makes For a “Good” Southwest Seat?

All of this talk about seating begs the question, which seats qualify as good ones? The seats on the plane are more or less all identical. Except for exit rows, there’s no extra legroom seating, and there’s not really any perk to one seat over the other, besides location.

Southwest Airlines seat selection

Pro tip : Staying healthy is key to enjoying your travels. Here’s my SECRET, and I’ve even got a 10% discount for my readers!

The best seat on Southwest depends on personal needs. Travelers with connecting flights might want to sit in the front in order to make a quick exit, but then there are those who head straight for the back perhaps because they are a family looking for seats together. Some folks head to the back hoping the flight won’t be full and they’ll have a row with an empty middle seat.

One piece of information I like to have before I sit down is how full my flight is. I’ve seen Southwest gate agents make announcements as to whether a flight is full, but they often make this up just to get everyone on the plane quicker. One inexact way to judge is to see how many people remain in the gate area after the A Group is called. If about half the gate area lines up for A boarding, it’s a safe bet there will be plenty of empty seats.

The Complete Guide to Southwest Airlines’ Quirky Perks and Hacks

During full-ish flights, choosing seats in the front-center section increases your chance of securing an empty middle seat between you and a neighbor. When there are plenty of empty seats, though, the rear of the aircraft can be downright spacious.

Want the discounts, welcome gifts, room upgrades, and hotel credits a travel agent can get you? I sure do. Here’s the travel advisor I use to get the best deals, lowest prices, and personalized service.

Rule Number One: Check-In ASAP

If there’s one rule Southwest regulars follow religiously, it’s this: check-in  exactly 24 hours before the flight. I sometimes even set an alarm for the exact minute!

Southwest Airlines Check-In seat selection boarding group

Use this page. Use it early.

Get on your laptop, open the Southwest website on a smartphone or download the Southwest app. Within a few minutes of opening, many of the coveted top boarding positions will be gone, so it’s crucial to click that Check In button as early as possible.

I know some Southwest frequent flyers who set an alarm five minutes before  check-in opens. They’ll enter all the necessary information on the website to check in and then as soon as the clock ticks 24 hours, they’ll click the button.

Pro tip: Keep your personal information private! Here’s the easiest way to stay protected.

EarlyBird Check-In Option

Not sure if you’ll be able to check-in 24 hours prior to your flight? Consider purchasing Southwest EarlyBird Check-In. EarlyBird Check-In costs $15.00 one-way, per person. When you purchase EarlyBird Check-In, Southwest automatically checks you in and assigns your boarding position within 36 hours of your flight’s departure. Southwest EarlyBird Check-In doesn’t guarantee an A boarding position, but it stands to reason you would be in the A or early B group.

Does Southwest Airlines Have a Family Boarding Policy?

Have a family? You’re in luck. An adult traveling with a child six or younger may board during Family Boarding, after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins boarding. If the child and the adult are both holding an “A” boarding pass, they should board in their assigned boarding position, but if either is B1 or later, this shortcut helps families sit together.

Southwest Boarding Groups Move Quickly — If You’re Late, Walk-Up Front

Once Southwest starts boarding, things happen quickly. If you are running late and have an earlier boarding position, just walk to the front of the line to board. Don’t worry, cutting isn’t rude in this circumstance.

I’ve seen this happen many times, especially with travelers from connecting flights.

Pay Extra or Fly More

Southwest offers a fare that guarantees an A1-A15 boarding position: Business Select. These fares are pricy — more than a fully refundable ticket — but they include FlyBy Priority Security lane access and come with free cocktail coupons.

What Exactly Is a ‘Wanna Get Away’ Fare?

If you don’t want to purchase a Business Select fare, Upgraded Boarding is an alternative. Upgraded Boarding is not always available, but can be worth trying.

a close up of a credit card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

The new Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card actually includes Upgraded Boarding on four flights per year. It also comes with a heap of intro bonus points, if you spend enough.

  • Click here to access this card and others like it and decide which SWA card is best for you!

On the day of travel, go to a Kiosk at the airport and Check-In again. It’s also possible to ask about Upgraded Boarding at the baggage counter. You can also ask at the gate before the start of the boarding process.

If Upgraded Boarding is available, depending on your itinerary, you’ll be given a boarding position in the A1-A15 group. The cost is $30 or $40 per flight depending on your itinerary.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards members with A-List and A-List Preferred status. These members are automatically assigned boarding positions ahead of general boarding. They even board ahead of EarlyBird flyers.

Want to be unpopular? Try Saving Seats 

Southwest saving seats

Save a seat and someone’s likely to give you this look.

Some travelers will attempt to save seats for people boarding after them. Many frequent flyers will complain because Southwest doesn’t seem to have an official policy on this practice. Even if they do, crews don’t consistently do anything about it.

I’ve observed that most people don’t care if someone is saving a middle seat next to them when their traveling companion is boarding soon. But beware! Some passengers take saving seats to the max.  You may need to speak up or ask a crew member for help.

  • Do you find it difficult to book award flights with your miles and points? I do! That’s why I turn to Point.me. They get me great deals and save me money and time.

How do I select a seat on Southwest Airlines can be a confusing question to answer. These tips and suggestions can help you navigate Southwest’s open seating policy with the least amount of stress, a good dose of humor about how it all somehow works, and the best chance of getting the best seat possible!

Related Posts:

  • 9 Awesome Travel Accessories to Take on Your Next Trip
  • Staying healthy is key to enjoying your travels. Here’s my SECRET, and I’ve even got a 10% discount for my readers!
  • Why use just any credit card when you can use one that earns miles and points? Don’t MISS OUT on the BEST current travel credit card offers!
  • These Hacks Save Money on Hotel Stays
  • 35 Free Things to Do in Hawaii

Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to PointMeToThePlane , you can find her at Joy in Movement.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Shelli Stein

Shelli Stein is a travel writer, personal development coach , and story teller. She has come to realize writing as a way of sharing travel experiences brings her a lot of pleasure! Her areas of expertise are: all things  Southwest Airlines ,  hotel reviews , and what to do, see, and eat in destinations around the world. She sees travel as an adventure, trying to somehow get inside and experience a different way of life, a different cultural heritage. Maybe she can  show you something  you’ve never seen.  Inspire you with new ideas  for your next vacation. Attempt to  put a smile on your face . Help you learn from her mistakes . Or challenge your  assumptions about the world . She lives life with humor, gratitude, and humility and always sees the coffee cup as half full!

What Exactly is a Southwest ‘Wanna Get Away’ Fare

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If you check in C group, check your carry on. It saves everyone time! Departure is earlier and the time wasted could be used drinking a beer or walking to baggage claim. Oh, you don’t want to wait? It takes 5 -10 minutes at baggage claim compared to 30 mins waiting for SW to check your Carey on because there was no room in the overhead bins.

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Early bird fees are sometimes more than $15, depending on the length of the trip, but still can be worth it.

Good point, Stan. Thanks for reading and adding to the conversation!

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Early birds are no longer $15. They’ve gone up to $25 per person each way.

Hi Mike, According to Southwest, EarlyBird check-in can be purchased at prices ranging from $15-25 one-way per passenger.

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We just booked southwest from Milwaukee to Vegas and the early bird checkin wwas$50

Sorry bout that,it was $25 apiece

No worries, William. It’s confusing, for sure. Glad the math worked out as it should have. Thanks for reading!

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I have a connecting flight and paid for early check in. Does that roll over to my connecting flight?

Hi Karen, I’m not exactly clear on what you mean by connecting flight. First I’m assuming your connecting flight is also on Southwest. Did you buy the connecting flight separately or by connecting flight did you mean a stop and then a change of planes?

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I think Karen means, I.e. one reservation from east to west coast, with a Dallas layover and continue on a different aircraft, that would be two segments, right? Does the purchased early bird cover both boardings or need to buy two?

Hi Jame, Thanks for reading and for your follow-up question. I still need more information from Karen, though, to properly answer. Here is a post on Early Bird that might help clear up any confusion. https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/southwest-early-bird-check-in/

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I purchased the early bird check in so what do I do once I get to the airport. Do I still need to get online at 24 hours prior to departure to reserve a boarding pass ? And what do I do once I get to the gate ?

Hi Donna, Thanks for reading. Hope this helps answer your questions: https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/southwest-early-bird-check-in/

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I need to fly to Florida nonstop with my wife who is disabled, how do I board with a wheelchair? I also need to make sure we make the flight and not be put on standby. Any tips for me? I haven’t flown in 40 yrs.

Hi Steve, I suggest you call Southwest Airlines directly and talk with them about your needs. I’m quite certain they will be able to assist you. Safe travels and thanks so much for reading and taking the time to ask your questions. Hope my suggestion to reach out to SWA helps!

Our trip to Florida went perfect. SW airlines was great and we got first boarding and everyone was friendly and helpful. We had a great trip. Flights were half full,and middle seats left open.

Thanks so much for the data points Steve. Glad you had such a great experience. Generally speaking, SWA does not disappoint!

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Since Southwest does not have assigned seats this is my question, My family of 6 is flying, I hate to fly so I always want an aisle seat, others are ok with whatever, but I want us all close by each other. I plan to check in early but do you have any other suggestions?

Good question, Therese. Given you’re a family of 6, I’m thinking at least one of the family members will be able to grab an aisle seat. If not, maybe someone outside your family will switch with you. Early bird check-in is the way to go because it puts you in a favorable boarding group. Good luck, and thanks much for reading!

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Does a Wanna Get Away ticket mean the last to board?

Good question, Claudia. Southwest assigns boarding groups based on a few factors. This fare type does not mean last to board. To understand more about the Wanna Get Away fare, I suggest taking a look at this post, https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/wanna-get-away-fares/ . Hope this helps.

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I fly Southwest all the time but I have a trip coming up in July where my family is traveling from Oakland to Cincinnati on 3 different confirmation numbers and would like to seat near each other. My granddaughter has her own confirmation number but we cannot qualify for family boarding because she is 7 years old. We all don’t want to buy an Early Bird check-in but the flights are full so how can we ensure that at least she is seated with one of us and we are not all in middle seats.

Hi Beth, Try reaching out to SWA with your concerns and see what they suggest. Also, I imagine there will be people on your flight who would swap seats with you so your granddaughter can sit with family. Safe travels!

[…] all on the same page before I start this rant, I need to make sure you’re all in the know about how Southwest Airlines assigns seats. They don’t assign seats at all! It’s an open seating policy. First come, first […]

[…] incidental credit option. This can be useful on Southwest Airlines because priority boarding often gets you the best seats. Always remember that the incidental fees will only cover priority boarding fees on your designated […]

[…] How to Get the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines […]

[…] Learn more: Secrets to Getting the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines […]

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Do they allow handicap to board first? Is it possible to get seats if unable to walk the aisle?

Hi Kathleen, I believe that Southwest does make a boarding call for anyone needing extra time to board. I’m not sure about the answer to your second question though. You might want to reach out to Southwest and ask them directly.

[…] Source: https://pointmetotheplane.boardingarea.com/best-seat-on-southwest-airlines/ […]

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Southwest Air Trip

How do we get a Seat on Southwest?

Southwest seat selection

Choose Your Seats with Southwest Boarding Process

Southwest has an open seating policy. This means that the airline doesn’t assign you seats. The moment you step on the plane, pick seats of your choice. Moreover, you get two free checked bags per person. It also offers an easy way to earn an elite status.

The airline has a unique boarding process that streamlines seating. Worry not. The airline understands that getting the seat you want can make or mar your experience. And this comprehensive guide will take you through the seating approach of Southwest and impart you insight into picking the best for a pleasurable journey.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the information of the seating and boarding on Southwest flights.

What is Southwest Seat Selection?

With Southwest Seat Selection, you can sit wherever you want. Since the airline doesn’t assign you seats, you can choose yours as soon as you hop on the flight. The airline offers a convenient, fast, and efficient process of boarding.

Check your boarding pass and find the boarding group (A, B, or C) assigned to you along with boarding position (1 – 60). It will make your seat selection easier.

How Can I Get the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines?

People have different preferences when flying. However, the smartest way to travel on the best seat is to acquire the boarding group position of A1-15. Since this is the earliest boarding, your chances to grab your favorite seat are maximized. Here’s how you can get it.

Earn an elite status

Frequent flyers of Southwest get priority who have an A-List or A-List Preferred elite status.

Check in 24 hours in advance

If you are traveling with Wanna Get Away fares the cheapest on Southwest, check-in 24 hours before time. This is the easiest way to get the earliest boarding available.

Buy an A1-A15 boarding at the gate

Didn’t like the boarding number that Southwest assigned you? No worries. At times, upgraded boarding is available at the airport. You can buy it on the departure day at $30 to $50 one-way. The cost is on a per person basis on the availability of A1-A15 slots.

Get an Automatic A1-A15 boarding priority for Business Select fares

You might miss getting Group A or Group B even if you check-in, pretty much in time. However, get assured A1-A15, irrespective of the time when you check-in with Business Select fares.

Purchase EarlyBird Check-In

The airline automatically allows you to check-in 36 hours before your scheduled flight departure. And that too at just $15-$25 for a one way trip, per person. This ensures a better boarding position as compared to the check-in before 24 hours.

Which are the Best Seats on Southwest?

Now, it is obvious to be eager to know which are the best seats on Southwest flights that cater to your seating requirements. Here are some points to give you a sneak-peek into the best seats.

  • For legroom – Seat 12A
  • To deboard the flight quickly – Row 1
  • For just one seat companion – Row 11, Seats B and C
  • To be where the snacks and drinks start serving – Row 1, 9, or 17

What is the Southwest Boarding Process?

The boarding process of Southwest streamlines the approach to be on your flight and pick seats at that time. Here’s how –

  • When you check-in, Southwest assigns –
  • Any of the boarding groups – A, B, or C
  • A position (1-60+)
  • Your boarding pass displays the unique combination of your group and position. For example, if you have A22, this means you have boarding group A and position 22. This shows your boarding group’s reserved spot at the gate.
  • Every gate area has numbered posts, indicating where you have to line up.
  • Once your boarding group is announced,
  • Find your place designated in the queue
  • Catch the flight in the order of number with your respective boarding group

Can I Secure a Better Boarding Position on a Southwest Flight?

Yes, you can enhance your boarding position when flying with Southwest. Here’s how you can get a better position for boarding on a Southwest flight –

Use the Southwest App

Install the airline’s app on your smartphone. It notifies you to check-in 24 hours before your flight is scheduled.

Purchase Upgraded Boarding

When you buy an upgraded boarding, you can upgrade your boarding position to A1-A15. However, you can do this before 24 hours of the flight’s scheduled departure.

With an early-bird check-in, you can go ahead of the 24-hour check-in. It helps you with better seat choices as you get on the flight earlier, although A boarding position is not guaranteed.

Purchase or upgrade to a Business Select fare

A1-A15 boarding is guaranteed when you have a Business Select fare. However, if you don;’t have this fare, still want to be sure of getting A1-A15 boarding, get a Southwest Business Select upgrade.

What are the Southwest Seat Specifications?

When selecting your seats, it is good to know about their specifications. It helps you pick better seats. Among the U.S airlines, Southwest offers the maximum legroom. Now, let’s take a quick look at the seat specification of this airline with its respective aircraft.

Does Southwest Offer Family Boarding?

Yes, enjoy boarding with family when flying with this airline. Family Boarding occurs between the boarding of A and B groups. Know more about this boarding type below –

  • Up to two adults, flying with kids of 6 years or more to board the plane during Family Boarding.
  • The kid and the adults having A boarding passes, must board in the position assigned. They need not wait for Family Boarding.

In Conclusion

Therefore, you can delight in a smooth and streamlined seating arrangement when traveling on a Southwest flight. So, when you have a trip with this airline on your cards, pull up this account and you will know when and how to get your hands on your most preferred seats.

Travel smart, travel more comfortably. Travel with Southwest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can active-duty military members preboard on southwest flights, how can i find my seat on southwest flights, does southwest assign seats.

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The Best Seats When Flying on Southwest Airlines [2024]

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The Best Seats When Flying on Southwest Airlines [2024]

Why Fly Southwest Airlines?

Southwest airlines boarding process, boeing 737-700, boeing 737-800, boeing 737 max 8, the best seats if you’re flying with young kids, the best seats for the most legroom, the best seats if you’re a nervous flyer, the best seats if you’ve got a short connection time, the best seats if you want an empty seat next to you, the best seats if you want to recline, the best seats if you’re traveling with a large group, the best seats if you’re sick, the best seats if you want your drinks first, final thoughts.

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Having the right seat on your flight can sometimes make or break your day (or trip). Unlike other airlines, Southwest has an open seating policy . That means you can choose any open seat on the plane once it’s your turn to board.

But if you aren’t a frequent flyer, how do you know which seat will be right for you? Here are some tips about choosing the best seat on Southwest Airlines so you’ll have the most comfortable flight possible.

Why would you even want to fly on Southwest Airlines anyway? There are a lot of reasons — here are just a few:

  • 2 free checked bags
  • No cancellation or change fees
  • The Southwest Companion Pass
  • Free inflight entertainment
  • Lots of great destinations, including Hawaii and the Caribbean

Since the Southwest Airlines boarding process is a bit different than other airlines, let’s take a quick look at the basics.

You’ll board your Southwest flight based on a boarding group (A, B, or C) and boarding number (1 to 60). Once you’re on the plane, you can choose any open seat.

Southwest boarding area at CMH

Your boarding position is based on a few factors:

  • Check-in Time: Check-in begins 24 hours before your flight is due to depart; the earlier you check-in, the better your boarding position.
  • Type of Ticket: Business Select tickets are automatically assigned an A1 to A15 boarding position.
  • Elite Status: If you have  A-List or A-List Preferred status , you’ll be able to board before the B group regardless of your boarding position.
  • EarlyBird Check-In: If you purchase EarlyBird Check-In , you will be automatically checked in up to 36 hours ahead of time for a better boarding position. Free EarlyBird Check-In comes as a perk with select Southwest credit cards .
  • Upgraded Boarding: You can purchase Upgraded Boarding at check-in or at the gate, if available, which will get you an A1 to A15 boarding pass. Select Southwest credit cards come with free Upgraded Boarding passes.
  • Preboarding: Travelers with disabilities, active-duty military members, and families traveling with children ages 6 and under can board between groups A and B if they do not receive an A boarding pass.

Hot Tip: While you might be inclined to always purchase EarlyBird Check-In , you won’t need it if you’re traveling with a child 6 years old or younger, have A-List or A-List Preferred status, have a Business Select or Anytime ticket, are active-duty military, have a disability, or are planning to purchase Upgraded Boarding.

Southwest Airlines Seat Configurations

Southwest Airlines flies only Boeing 737 planes . Currently, Southwest uses 3 types of 737: Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-800, and Boeing 737 MAX 8. A fourth type of plane, the Boeing 737 MAX 7, will be coming in the next couple of years to replace some of the older 737-700 planes.

The Boeing 737-700 has 143 seats, and it accounts for  60% of Southwest Airlines’ fleet. Each seat has a width of 17 inches and a pitch of 31 inches.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 700 new

The slightly larger Boeing 737-800 has 175 seats, each with a width of 17 inches and a pitch of 32 to 33 inches.

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 800 new

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes are the newest addition to the Southwest fleet. Each plane has 175 seats with a width of 17.8 inches and a pitch of 32 to 33 inches.

Southwest Boeing 737 MAX 8 seat map

The Best Seats on Southwest Airlines

These tips have been collected from countless flights on Southwest Airlines. Keep in mind that since Southwest Airlines has open seating, a specific seat is never guaranteed — not even if you have an A1 boarding position. The flight could have passengers that are staying on the aircraft from the previous flight!

Flying with kids can be interesting. Even the most seasoned young travelers are prone to meltdowns and tantrums occasionally. If you’re flying with kids on Southwest , head to the back of the plane. You’ll want to do this for a few reasons.

  • You’ll find the most empty seats in the back of the plane, so you’ll likely be able to find seats together. If you’re traveling with kids 6 and under, you’ll be able to utilize family boarding. Family boarding happens after the A group, so there shouldn’t be a need to purchase EarlyBird Check-In to guarantee seats together.
  • Sitting in one of the very last rows will put you near the bathrooms and flight attendants. This can be crucial if you end up with a kid who’s sick, messy, or just “kind of” potty-trained.
  • Most people with kids tend to end up near the back of the plane, so you’ll be among passengers who may be understanding if your toddler cries during the entire flight.

Everyone loves extra legroom on a flight and the good news is that Southwest offers more legroom than most other domestic carriers.

However, if you’re really tall , that still might not cut it. Sure, there’s more legroom in the bulkhead and exit rows , but there are 1 or 2 coveted seats on every Southwest flight that you’ll really want to find.

There is a window seat behind the exit row that doesn’t have any seat in front of it, giving you a ridiculous amount of legroom . It’ll be seat 12A on the Boeing 737-700, seats 16A and 16F on the Boeing 737-800, and seats 16A and 16F on the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

You need some luck to get this seat. Your chances are determined by your boarding position and the number of Business Select passengers ahead of you. Business Select passengers tend to be seasoned business travelers who know about this seat.

The Money Seat on Southwest Airlines

If you don’t have a Business Select ticket, but really want this seat, you may want to consider paying for Upgraded Boarding . Different from EarlyBird Check-In, an Upgraded Boarding position can be purchased at the gate or added at check-in if available. This will get you an A1-15 boarding pass and will give you a good chance at getting your desired seat.

These credit cards come with 4 Upgraded Boarding passes per year:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards ® Priority Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards ® Performance Business Credit Card

If you’re not a fan of turbulence (and, really, who is) look for seats over the wings. These seats offer the smoothest ride. Additionally, seats toward the front of the plane will shield you from turbulence more than seats at the back of the plane, where you’ll feel any up-and-down bobbing more.

If you’ve got a short connection time, you’ll want to get off the plane as quickly as possible. The bulkhead seats (first row) will be your best bet . However, these seats tend to go pretty quickly. If you’re really short on time, you may want to consider paying to upgrade your boarding position. As mentioned, some Southwest credit cards come with free Upgraded Boarding passes.

If you choose the bulkhead, remember that you won’t be able to put a carry-on or personal item in front of you , so everything will need to be stored in the overhead bins.

If the bulkhead seats are already full, choose the first aisle seat you see.

Hot Tip: Looking for a great credit card that will earn tons of points? Check out our guide to the best credit cards for Southwest Airlines flyers .

There’s never a guarantee that you’ll have an empty seat next to you, but you can do your best to be one of the lucky ones if your flight isn’t full. After boarding, head towards the back of the plane, and grab a seat that’s about three-quarters of the way back .

Once the last people have boarded and are looking for an aisle or window seat, they have a tendency to go toward the back of the plane before admitting defeat and taking a middle seat. If you’re just a little way up from the very back, you stand your best chance of missing these people and ending up with an empty seat next to you.

If you’re looking forward to putting your seat back to take a little snooze on your flight, be sure to choose a row that can actually recline.

You’ll want to avoid the exit rows, the row in front of the exit row, plus the last row of seats on the airplane. These seats typically do not recline at all.

Southwest Airlines Exit Row

These rows may have limited or no recline on Southwest Airlines:

  • Boeing 737-700 : Rows 10, 11, and 24
  • Boeing 737-800 : Rows 13, 14, 15, and 30
  • Boeing 737 MAX 8 : Rows 13, 14, 15, and 30

If you’re traveling with a large group and you all want to sit together, your best bet will be to head to the back of the plane . It’s probably not necessary to purchase EarlyBird Check-In as long as your whole party can remember to check in exactly 24 hours ahead of time. You’ll most likely end up with boarding positions in the B boarding group, which should be enough to get most of your group together.

Flying while you’re sick isn’t fun for anyone. While it’s best to stay home if you can, sometimes you have to get on a plane when you aren’t feeling your best. If this is the case, head for the last row of the plane. This way, you’ll be close to the bathroom and most of the passengers will face away from you, so you can be as discreet as possible.

However, if you have a tendency towards motion sickness , a seat over the wings will be your best bet to avoid as much turbulence as possible.

If you want to be the first to get a drink on your Southwest flight, you’ll want to choose your seat wisely. On a 737-700, choose rows 1, 9, or 17. On a 737-800 or 737 MAX 8, you’ll want to choose rows 1, 9, 16, or 23 for the fastest drink service.

Flying on Southwest Airlines can be great — you won’t have to pay to check your bags and you can change your flight with no penalty. Plus, you can choose any seat you want once you’re on the plane. While that might be a little confusing at first, once you know what you’re doing, it’s a great system.

Knowing what type of flyer you are can help guide you to the right seat. Once you know what works best for you, you’ll be boarding your flights like a pro.

Frequently Asked Questions

What rows have the most legroom on southwest airlines.

If legroom is what you’re after, you’ll want to look for a seat in the first row (the bulkhead) of the aircraft or the exit rows. If you’re flying on a Boeing 737-700, the absolute most legroom is in seat 12A which is missing the seat in front of it. On a Boeing 737-800 or Boeing 737 MAX 8, the seats with the most legroom are 16A and 16F.

Can families sit together on Southwest?

Yes, if you’re traveling with young children you will be able to sit together. When you are traveling with a child 6 years old or younger, you’ll be able to use family boarding which takes place before the B group. This ensures you’ll be able to find seats together. If you aren’t traveling with young children, head to the back of the plane when you board for your best chances of finding seats together.

How do you get priority boarding on Southwest?

If you’d like a better boarding position on Southwest, there are a few ways to get it.

  • You can purchase a Business Select ticket which will automatically come with an A1 to A15 boarding position.
  • You can purchase EarlyBird Check-In which will automatically check you in up to 36 hours ahead of time (EarlyBird Check-In comes free with Anytime tickets).
  • You can purchase an Upgraded Boarding position when you check in or at the gate if there are spaces available. This will give you an A1 to A15 boarding position.

Where should I sit on a Southwest flight?

The best place to sit on a Southwest flight depends on a few factors. If you want extra legroom, look for the bulkhead seats or exit row seats. If you want the best chance of having an empty seat next to you, head to the mid-back of the plane. If you’ve got a tight connection, stick to an aisle seat in the front of the plane.

What row on Southwest gets drinks first?

To get the fastest drink service on a Southwest Airlines flight, choose row 1, 9, or 17 on a 737-700, or choose row 1, 9, 16, or 23 on a 737-800 or 737 MAX 8.

What is the best seat on Southwest Airlines?

While the best seat can be subjective, seats with the most legroom are often the most coveted. These seats include the bulkhead seats (row 1), the exit row seats, and the window seats behind the exit row door (seat 12A on the Boeing 737-700 and seats 16A and 16F on the Boeing 737-800 and Boeing 737 MAX 8).

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About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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Southwest Airlines' new seat design has TikTok users sounding off: 'Just earned yourself a Delta customer'

Southwest Airlines is facing backlash on social media for an updated seat design that's slated to debut on its fleet next year. 

It's been less than a week since the airline announced the new Recaro seats and some customers have already issued concerns on social media, likening the seats, in one case, to "lawn chairs." 

The new seats are part of a slate of changes the carrier made to the interior of the cabin. 

They were designed specifically to include a "multi-adjustable headrest cushion for enhanced head and neck support," according to Southwest. 

The carrier added that the design provides "ultimate comfort while maximizing seat width and overall support."

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES REACHES $140M SETTLEMENT WITH DOT FOR 2022 HOLIDAY DEBACLE

READ ON THE FOX BUSINESS APP

They are part of the carrier's updated cabin interior, which it says was designed "based on extensive research covering Customer and Employee perceptions of color, comfort, and their aspirations for the overall onboard experience. "  

The carrier also said it conducted customer research and product testing in order to select the global supplier of the aircraft seats.

However, customers, who have only seen images of the seats on social media, are upset over the change. 

The company's TikTok video displaying the new design has already garnered nearly 15,000 comments, with many complaining the seats look uncomfortable and others saying they are switching to another airline.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES, PILOT UNION REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON NEW CONTRACT

"What I'm seeing is hardrock seats," one user chimed in. 

One user asked if there was "an option to just stand" while another said they'd prefer to walk. 

Meanwhile, many users said they would be booking with Delta Air Lines instead. 

One person commented: "You just earned yourself a Delta customer," while another user said they "aggressively" booked a Delta flight after seeing the video. 

Following the backlash, the carrier noted that the video on social media is not an exact representation of the seats. 

The seats maintain the average seat width and pitch on Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 and -800 aircraft, and exceed the width currently available on the -700 series aircraft.

The seat itself has a custom ergonomic cushion that has more padding on certain areas of the headrest, backrest and bottom cushion, according to Southwest. 

Original article source: Southwest Airlines' new seat design has TikTok users sounding off: 'Just earned yourself a Delta customer'

 Southwest Airlines' new seat design has TikTok users sounding off: 'Just earned yourself a Delta customer'

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How to pick your bundle on Breeze Airways. 11 things to know about the budget airline

Breeze Airways is continuing to expand the number of flights and cities it serves.

The airline announced in late February it will offer nonstop flights between Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) and Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT) starting in October.

The announcement is the latest in a string of expansions.

On Jan. 22, it announced it was adding 11 new routes and three new cities. That followed a Jan. 9 announcement of eight new routes.

In September 2023, the airline said it was adding 19 new routes to Florida by the end of the year.

Here's what to know about the budget airline.

Breeze flying from 19 cities across US to Florida

Breeze now serves seven destinations in Florida from 19 cities across the U.S., the airline announced in September.

Flights are offered into Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota/Bradenton, Tampa, Vero Beach, and West Palm Beach.

"In 2022, Breeze flew 492 flights to and from the Sunshine State, connecting 21 city pairs."

In 2023, "the airline will operate 1,402 flights, between 51 city pairs — an increase of 185 percent."

Breeze Airways triples number of flights to Florida in fall 2023

“With our expansion in Florida, Breeze now offers the most Florida destination s from six cities in our network” said Tom Doxey, Breeze Airways’ president in September.

Portland, ME – Orlando, FL (started Sept. 6)

Raleigh-Durham, NC – Tampa, FL (started Sept 7)

New Orleans, LA – Orlando, FL (started Sept. 22)

Charleston, WV – Tampa, FL (started Oct. 4)

Pittsburgh, PA – Tampa, FL (started Oct. 5)

Columbus, OH – Tampa, FL (started Oct. 6)

New Orleans, LA – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 2)

Norfolk, VA – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 2)

Providence, RI – Vero Beach, FL (started Nov. 2)

Providence, RI – Jacksonville, FL (started Nov. 3)

Pittsburgh, PA – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 15)

Portland, ME – Fort Myers, FL (starts Nov. 15)

Richmond, VA – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 15)

Akron-Canton, OH – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 16)

Columbus, OH – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 16)

Louisville, KY – Fort Myers, FL (starts Nov. 16)

Raleigh-Durham, NC – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 17)

Syracuse, NY – Fort Myers, FL (started Nov. 17)

Plattsburgh, NY – Orlando, FL (started Nov. 28)

Breeze offers services at 7 Florida airports

Don't see service to a particular location? Some of Breeze's routes are seasonal . Keep checking the booking calendar for when it becomes available.

Fort Myers , RSW

Jacksonville , JAX

Orlando , MCO

Sarasota , SRQ

Tampa Bay, TPA

Vero Beach, VRB

West Palm Beach, PBI

Breeze Airways policies on changes or cancellations

"We provide as much flexibility as possible, including the option to change or cancel flights and rental car reservations up to15 minutes before the scheduled departure," Breeze said.

Since Breeze only sells non-refundable tickets, if you cancel your trip, you'll receive a flight credit in the form of BreezePoints for the full fare and any add-ons, like bags, pets, and seats.

What are the Nice, Nicer and Nicest seats used by Breeze Airways?

Here's the difference between the three different "bundles" offered by Breeze :

Nice fare benefits:

"Our Nice fare is perfect if you seek flexibility in your travel plans while still enjoying great savings. It includes a standard seat and one personal item. You will earn 2% BreezePoints on each Nice flight purchase. The Nice fare features no change or cancellation fees. If you need to adjust your plans, you will receive a reuseable Breeze credit that is valid for 24 months." It’s nice to have added flexibility when you travel!"

Nicer bundle benefits:

"For those desiring added comfort and benefits, our Nicer bundle is the way to go. Stretch out and enjoy extra legroom seating. In addition to a personal item, bring a carry-on bag and checked one bag for free. Earn double the BreezePoints at a rate of 4% on each Nicer bundle purchase. This option also allows you to change or cancel your flight without any fees."

Nicest bundle benefits:

The "Nicest Bundle offers all the perks of Nicer, plus our Breeze Ascent seating and elevated in-flight experience. Fly upfront in Breeze Ascent with a recliner-style seat with the most generous legroom offering. Delight in complimentary food and beverages, including alcohol. Earn 6% BreezePoints on your total purchase. Bring not one, but two checked bags for free, in addition to a personal item and carry-on. Change or cancel your flight at any time without incurring any additional fees. Finally, Nicest comes with priority boarding."

How many bags does Breeze Airways allow and what is the charge for bags ?

Personal items

Included in Nice, Nicer and Nicest seat selections.

Dimensions: 17" x 13" x 8"

Carry-on bags

Not included in Nice. Included in Nicer and Nicest seat selections.

Dimensions: 22" x 14" x 9"

Checked bags

Not included in Nice. One included in Nicer, and two included in Nicest seat selections.

Weight: 62 linear inches, 50 pounds maximum.

No more than three per guest.

Prices for bags not included are determined by the trip . An example, a trip from Fort Myers to Syracuse, New York, an extra carry-on bag costs $30, a checked bag costs $35.

Can you select or change seats on a Breeze Airways flight?

Yes, but be aware seats can only be added or changed when logged into the guest account used at the time of booking and additional costs may apply.

If you've already checked in for your flight, you can still move or upgrade your seat in the app or online. Note that seat cancellations or downgrades are not allowed within 24 hours of departure.

Cost of seat assignments :

Standard legroom: $10 to $59.

Extra legroom: $30 to $99.

Breeze ascent section: $50 to $399.

If a seat assignment is not purchased, one will be randomly assigned at check-in for free. Breeze said it cannot guarantee your party will be seated together..

What about seating if you're traveling with children on Breeze?

"Breeze is proud to be the first airline in the United States to offer assigned  family seating  free of charge," the company said on its website.

Guests who have booked a Nice seat and are traveling with children ages 2-12 can choose free seats in a standard seat section designated for  family seating.

Family seating includes free seats for two adults traveling with one child seat. When more than one child travels, family seating includes one adult per traveling child.

Regular seat assignment options apply when booking with only a  lap infant .

Guests can purchase  Nicer or Nicest bundle options  or an  upgraded  seat if they'd prefer those over our standard seats that are included in family seating.

What about strollers and car seats? Can you bring them on a Breeze flight?

Breeze allows one stroller and one car seat or booster seat per child to be checked at no extra cost.

Car seats and strollers must be separate from other personal items to qualify for the bag charge waiver.

If you're traveling with two children, you can check a double stroller.

Foldable wagons used to transport children can be brought in place of a stroller.

Strollers or wagons are subject to liability limits.

You can bring a car seat on board if you purchased a separate seat for your child.

If you are bringing a stroller or car seat but not traveling with a child, bag charges apply.

Are pets allowed on Breeze planes?

Yes, but here are the criteria for passengers with pets:

The airline allows small, domesticated cats and dogs for a charge of $75 per one-way journey.

Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Breeze allows up to five pets per flight.

A limit of one soft-sided pet carrier is allowed per guest, even if they've purchased an extra seat.

The maximum weight allowed for a pet is 25 pounds, including the carrier.

Only one pet per soft-sided carrier is allowed, even if the total weight is under 25 pounds.

Your soft-sided pet carrier is your carry-on item, even if you purchased a Nicer or Nicest bundle.

The pet carrier must fit under the seat directly in front of you. Dimensions must be less than 17" x 8" x 13." Pet carriers fit under Extra Legroom and Standard Legroom seats.

Does Breeze offer points or rewards for future flights?

Yes, Breeze has BreezePoints.

First you have to create a guest account on the Breeze app or flybreeze.com. Once done, BreezePoints are earned based on a percentage of the bundle option selected, including qualifying add-on purchases, such as seats and bags.​

Here's what you should know about flight credits:

Flight credits are issued in the form of BreezePoints.

Flight credits are issued when flights or add-ons are canceled.

Flight credits are issued to the guest account used to book the reservation.

Flight credits expire 24 months from the reservation's booking date.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Breeze Airways: What to know about the airline, Florida destinations

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COMMENTS

  1. How to snag the best seats on Southwest Airlines

    Group B 1-60. Group C 1-60. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES. When the traveler checks in for their flight, Southwest assigns each passenger a boarding group letter — A, B or C — and a position from 1 to 60. The unique boarding code, such as A45 or B52, is printed directly on the boarding pass and represents the person's place in line at the gate.

  2. How to Hack Southwest's Boarding Groups

    How to get the best seat on Southwest Airlines (Group A) ... (A, B or C), and a position 1-60+, which get assigned at check-in. While the Southwest boarding process can be confusing at first ...

  3. Boarding Process

    I want to understand the boarding process. You will be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and position (1-60+) upon check in. Your unique group and position combination (for example: A35) will be displayed on your boarding pass and represents a reserved spot in the boarding group at the gate. Numbered posts in each of our gate areas ...

  4. How to get seats together as a family on Southwest Airlines

    The open-seating policy, though, can be stressful if you're traveling with children since there's no guarantee about where you'll sit. While some airlines make it challenging to get free seat assignments with your family, Southwest's approach is quite different. In fact, Southwest does not assign seats in advance at all.

  5. Southwest Airlines Boarding Process & Groups [2023]

    Once boarding begins, the gate agent will start with pre-board passengers and those with boarding positions A 1-15 (usually reserved for Business Select passengers). Then they will continue with A 15-30 then A 31-60. Once A 1-30 have boarded the plane, the monitor at the front of the line will change to B 1-30.

  6. How Does The Southwest Airlines Boarding Process Work?

    On Southwest Airlines flights, people are assigned boarding positions in order of fare status and check-in. Higher fares and earlier check-in lead to better positions, and earlier boarding positions mean greater odds of getting their desired aircraft seat. Every flight is organized into three boarding 'groups': A, B, and C.

  7. 3 Ways to Always Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

    Read on for my three tips to always get your favorite seat on Southwest Airlines…. 1. Check in exactly 24 hours before your flight. Southwest lets you check in for your flight 24 hours before it departs, so set an alarm on your smartphone and have your confirmation number handy. Either go to Southwest.com or click "Check in" from the ...

  8. Southwest Airlines' Unique Boarding Process Explained

    How boarding works on Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines is the only major airline in the world that doesn't assign seats. Rather the airline has a very different boarding process — the order of passenger boarding is determined by the "position" someone is in, and as a result that's also the order in which people can pick seats once on the plane.

  9. Southwest Airlines

    There are a few ways to get a better boarding position on your next flight: Download the Southwest App: If you don't already have the Southwest app, download it today for free! The app will send a push notification reminding you to check in 24 hours before your flight (notifications must be enabled within the app settings).; Download the Southwest App

  10. Southwest boarding process: How to get Group A and more tips

    In your inbox, Thursdays. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline with an open seating policy. It assigns every passenger an exact boarding position — a letter between A and C and a number ...

  11. Manage Flight Reservation

    Other self service. Manage your Southwest flight reservation here. Check in online, print your boarding pass, and share your flight itinerary using your confirmation number.

  12. Tips on How to Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

    Check in EXACTLY 24 hours before your flight. If you would like to get a good seat on your next Southwest Airlines flight, follow this rule. Check in opens 24 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time. The earlier you check in, the earlier your spot in line will be. Many passengers will also be checking in 24 hours before the flight ...

  13. This is how to get the best seats on your next Southwest flight ...

    The three boarding groups Southwest offers include: A boarding group: This is where you want to be if you want the chance to be near the front of the plane or a guaranteed aisle or window seat. If ...

  14. Southwest Boarding Groups Explained: From A-List to Group C! [2023]

    When you check-in for your flight, you'll be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and within that boarding group you'll be assigned a number (1 through 60). So for example, you might be assigned A50, which means you'll be the 50th person to board within Group A. It could vary depending on the airport, but generally, you'll see ...

  15. How Can I Select a Seat on Southwest Airlines? [2019] • Point Me to the

    Southwest Airlines has an open seating policy. Seats are not assigned ahead of time, rather passengers are assigned a boarding group, A, B, or C, and a boarding position, 1-60. The boarding group and position determine when you board the plane, and thus how many seats you will be able to choose from. The whole thing used to be a true free for all.

  16. Southwest: Check-in Policy

    Yes, you may check-in for your U S domestic Southwest Airlines (WN) flight curbside at most U S airport locations from 60 minutes to 3 hours before the scheduled departure time (depending on your departure city and destination). You will need your photo ID and also your flight reservation code, flight number destination, or electronic ticket ...

  17. Solved: No assigned seat

    Explorer B. This is standard on Southwest. All seats are available to you. What you get is a boarding order and you get on the plane in that order. When you are on, you pick whatever seat, wherever you want on the plane. The boarding order is A1-60, then B1-60, then C1-60. The lower your boarding number the more choices you'll have when on the ...

  18. 7 Southwest Boarding Tips to Always Get the Best Seat

    The earlier you check in, the better chance you have of securing that Group A, according to Khan. "Check in exactly 24 hours before the scheduled departure time of your trip," he advises. "If you want to ensure that you receive the greatest seats possible, you should probably set an alarm." RELATED: Southwest Tries to Win Back Customers Amid ...

  19. How to Get the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines?

    Now, it is obvious to be eager to know which are the best seats on Southwest flights that cater to your seating requirements. Here are some points to give you a sneak-peek into the best seats. For legroom - Seat 12A. To deboard the flight quickly - Row 1. For just one seat companion - Row 11, Seats B and C.

  20. The Best Seats When Flying on Southwest Airlines [2024]

    Boeing 737-700. The Boeing 737-700 has 143 seats, and it accounts for 60% of Southwest Airlines' fleet. Each seat has a width of 17 inches and a pitch of 31 inches. Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 seat map. Image Credit: SeatGuru.

  21. Upgraded Boarding

    Starting at*. $30. per segment. per passenger. Claim the best available A1-A15 boarding position for flights departing within 24 hours. *Upgraded boarding prices and benefits are per eligible segment. Flights must be within 24 hours of departure to be eligible for upgraded boarding. * Required.

  22. Solved: Seat Selection

    If you've purchased a Business Select fare, you'll be assigned a boarding position 36 hours prior to departure, that will be somewhere A1 thru A15, meaning you'll be among the first to board the plane. Once onboard you can select any available seat. Check in online starting at 24 hours prior to departure to access your boarding pass and you'll ...

  23. SeatGuru Seat Map Southwest

    For your next Southwest flight, use this seating chart to get the most comfortable seats, legroom, and recline on . Seat Maps; Airlines; Cheap Flights; Comparison Charts ... Airlines > Southwest > Planes & Seat Maps > Southwest Seat Maps. Overview; Planes & Seat Maps. Boeing 737 MAX 8 (7M8) Boeing 737-700 (737) Boeing 737-800 (738)

  24. Children & Family Travel

    Find answers to all of your travel and flight-related questions and view common FAQ articles regarding your travel experience when you fly with Southwest Airlines.

  25. Southwest Airlines' new seat design has TikTok users sounding off

    The seats maintain the average seat width and pitch on Southwest Boeing 737 Max 8 and -800 aircraft, and exceed the width currently available on the -700 series aircraft.

  26. How to pick your bundle on Breeze Airways. 11 things to know about the

    Note that seat cancellations or downgrades are not allowed within 24 hours of departure. Cost of seat assignments: Standard legroom: $10 to $59. Extra legroom: $30 to $99. Breeze ascent section: $50 to $399. If a seat assignment is not purchased, one will be randomly assigned at check-in for free.