How Southwest Airlines Assigns Boarding Positions
Southwest Airlines does not have assigned seating, but instead uses a boarding process where passengers are assigned a boarding group and position. There are three boarding groups: A, B, and C, each with 60 positions.
Passengers who purchase Southwest’s Business Select fare or who have A-List status with the airline are automatically assigned to the A group. Passengers who purchase Anytime fares are assigned to the A or B group, depending on availability.
Passengers who purchase the lowest fares, called Wanna Get Away fares, are assigned to the C group. However, passengers can improve their boarding position by purchasing EarlyBird Check-In. This service automatically checks in passengers 36 hours before their flight and assigns them a boarding position between A1 and A15, giving them priority boarding.
When boarding begins, Southwest Airlines announces each boarding group and positions, and passengers line up accordingly. Each boarding position is numbered, and passengers board the plane in numerical order, starting with the A group.
EarlyBird Check-In and Its Benefits
EarlyBird Check-In is a service offered by Southwest Airlines that allows passengers to check in 36 hours before their flight and receive a better boarding position. This service costs $15 to $25 per person, per flight segment, and is non-refundable.
With EarlyBird Check-In, passengers are automatically checked in and assigned a boarding position between A1 and A15, giving them priority boarding ahead of the other passengers who did not purchase this service. However, the actual boarding position assigned through EarlyBird Check-In is not guaranteed to be A1-A15, as some passengers with Business Select fares or A-List status may already occupy those positions.
It is important to note that EarlyBird Check-In is not the same as seat selection or reservation. It does not guarantee a specific seat on the plane, and passengers may still have to choose an available seat once they board the plane.
While EarlyBird Check-In is not required, it can be beneficial for passengers who want to ensure they have a better chance of getting their preferred seat or who want to board the plane early to secure overhead bin space for their carry-on bags.
Tips for Securing the Best Boarding Position
If you want to secure the best possible boarding position with Southwest Airlines, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Purchase a Business Select fare or have A-List status with the airline to automatically be assigned to the A group.
- Purchase an Anytime fare to have a better chance of being assigned to the A or B group.
- Consider purchasing EarlyBird Check-In to receive a better boarding position between A1 and A15.
- Check in for your flight as soon as possible, 24 hours before departure, to increase your chances of getting a better boarding position.
- Download the Southwest Airlines mobile app and enable push notifications to receive alerts about your boarding group and position.
- Arrive at the gate early to ensure you are in line when your boarding group is called.
- If you are traveling with others, consider checking in together to increase the chances of being assigned boarding positions next to each other.
- Keep in mind that Southwest Airlines also allows families with young children and passengers with disabilities to board early.
Boarding with Southwest Airlines: Dos and Don’ts
When boarding with Southwest Airlines, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind to ensure a smooth boarding process:
- Listen for announcements and follow the instructions of the gate agents.
- Be prepared with your boarding pass and identification.
- Keep your carry-on luggage within the size and weight limits specified by Southwest Airlines.
- Respect the boarding group order and line up accordingly.
- Be courteous to other passengers and allow them to board in front of you if they are in a hurry or have special needs.
- If you are traveling with a group, stay together in line and board the plane together.
- Move quickly to your seat once you board the plane to allow others to board behind you.
- Do not try to board before your boarding group is called.
- Do not try to save seats for other passengers who have not yet boarded.
- Do not bring prohibited items on board, such as weapons or explosives.
- Do not place your bags in an overhead bin that is not close to your seat.
- Do not block the aisle or hold up the boarding process by stowing your luggage or taking your seat too slowly.
Overview of Southwest Airlines Boarding Process
Southwest Airlines uses a unique boarding process that does not involve assigned seats. Instead, passengers are assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a position (1-60) within that group.
The boarding process starts with the A group, followed by the B and C groups. Within each group, passengers board the plane in numerical order based on their assigned position.
Passengers can improve their boarding position by purchasing EarlyBird Check-In or by having A-List status with the airline. Families with young children and passengers with disabilities are also allowed to board early.
Southwest Airlines encourages passengers to check in online 24 hours before their flight to secure a better boarding position. Passengers are also advised to arrive at the gate early and to be prepared with their boarding pass and identification.
Overall, Southwest Airlines’ boarding process is designed to be efficient and stress-free, allowing passengers to quickly and easily board the plane and get to their destination.