Southwest airlines flight status, one of America’s most family-friendly aviation businesses, enjoys customer loyalty that is unmatched by most other airlines. The airline excels in several areas where competitors fall short, including providing free checked bags for passengers, making it simple for parents to sit with young children, not charging excessive fees, providing an easy path to elite status, providing a suite of credit card options, and offering three (and soon four) booking fares.
However, first-time flyers, occasional fliers, or anyone unfamiliar with Southwest may be confused by the airline’s unconventional boarding method, which does not allocate particular seats on southwest to passengers. Do not be afraid. Get the most out of your next Southwest Airlines flight status with the help of our in-depth guide.
The Southwest Airlines Boarding Process Exposed
Like many other airlines, Southwest boarding process starts about 30 minutes before takeoff. However, the parallels end there because Southwest has an entirely unique boarding procedure. The airline allows passengers to choose their seats on southwest so that you can be in the front, the back, or any place in the middle. Even in the front of the plane, there are no guaranteed seats on southwest. There is no reservation system in place.
However, there are a few notable outliers: You must be of a certain age and physical fitness level, as specified by the Federal Aviation Administration, in order to sit in an exit row. Anyone over the age of two is not allowed to sit on another person’s lap. If the seat you want is taken, you will have to choose another.
When everyone is free to sit anywhere, they like, who gets to board first? Here is the southwest airlines boarding schedule:
- Preboarding (those who need specific seats on southwest to accommodate a disability, those who need assistance with boarding and stowing a piece of assistive equipment and unaccompanied youngsters) (those who need specific seats to accommodate a disability, those who need assistance with boarding and stowing an assistive device and unaccompanied minors).
- Group A 1–60.
- A-List/A-List The troops and their families are given priority when booking rooms (those with children age six and under).
- Group B 1–60.
- Group C 1–60.
When a passenger checks in with Southwest, the airline places them in one of three boarding groups and gives them a number between 1 and 60 in terms of their boarding position. The individual’s boarding position at the gate is indicated by a code written on the boarding pass itself; for example, A45 or B52.
Passengers line up at the gate in single file in front of grey metal columns marked with letters and numbers corresponding to their boarding group and position. The southwest boarding process occurs in 30 minute intervals (A1-A30, followed by A31-A60 and so on). However, preboarding passengers, families, and A-List/A-List Preferred members are given priority boarding over the typical Group A-C system.
Authorized preboarding passengers board before Group A. These passengers require special seating arrangements due to a disability and may also require assistance boarding the aircraft, navigating the terminal, and stowing any necessary assistive equipment. The gate agent will evaluate the situation and make a decision about who can preboard based on priority. Priority boarding passengers may board with one companion for assistance but are not permitted to sit in an exit row.
At a later stage in the process, young families are also provided special boarding privileges. You can bring two adults for every kid under the age of six in your family, and family boarding begins as soon as Group A southwest airlines boarding concludes. Older children traveling with their families can also board at this time. Still, younger family members (such as grandparents or aunts and uncles) should board according to the instructions printed on their boarding cards.
We are also allowing southwest airlines flight status and active-duty military people on board at this time. Members of the A-List and A-List Preferred are promised the “best available boarding pass number,” although they may still be assigned to Group B or C if there are no A-List or A-List Preferred seats on southwest available. However, as a sign of respect for their superior standing, they are free to “cut the line” once Group A passengers have boarded at their convenience.
What Do You Do After Boarding The Ship?
Southwest aircraft do not have assigned seating, so whoever boards the plane first gets to choose their seats. Because of the universal distaste for the middle seat, passengers in Group C are often the last to board the plane.
Firstly, check southwest airlines flight status, then complete the southwest boarding process; you can choose a seat wherever you like. But it’s a lot of pressure to have to decide on the spot where you’ll spend your entire flight. Keep reading to find out where to look for the best seats on southwest in the house. If you want to pick the best seat on a Southwest flight, it helps to have some background knowledge on the airline’s plane layouts. The following graphics will show you the three variations of the Boeing 737 that Southwest currently operates.
More than two-thirds of Southwest’s fleet is comprised of Boeing 737-700s. The following seating configurations are available onboard each Southwest 737-700:
207 Boeing 737-800s make up Southwest’s fleet. Each Southwest 737-800 features the following seating arrangement for 175 passengers:
Boeing 737 MAX 8
As of this writing, Southwest operates 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, each of which can seat 175 passengers.
Where Can I Get The Most Comfortable Southwest Airlines Seat?
What is the best seat on Southwest now that you know how the planes are laid out? We all know the answer is highly subjective. Richard Kerr, formerly the loyalty and engagement editor at TPG, prefers the last row on Southwest flights when checking southwest airlines flight status, especially when traveling with young children. The back row is widely considered to be the worst option by many.
An aircraft that isn’t completely full will have fewer passengers in the rear, which means you might have an empty seat next to you.
For the sake of argument, let’s pretend you’ve been assigned to the coveted Group A and have complete freedom aboard the plane. Where do you suggest I go? In that case, consider the following selections.
Want a center seat
Since Southwest planes are configured in threes and threes, you’ll need to reserve an entire row if you’re traveling with a group of three (or any multiple of three). This guarantees that you won’t have a seatmate.
In that case, choose a seat beside the window. This will provide you with the maximum personal space and prevent people from clambering over you to get to their seats on southwest. There will be no cabin attendants or fellow passengers milling around your feet.
Then it’s a toss-up whether the front or the back would be better for you. There are benefits and drawbacks to both options. During checking the southwest airlines flight status, you can choose a seat at the front of the plane, and subsequent passengers will have to pass by you to get to their assigned seats. However, this also means that you will be among the first passengers to exit the plane.
However, fewer people may be sitting in the rear of the plane. Passengers on Southwest flights after completing the southwest boarding process, typically cluster in the first half of the aircraft because they check the southwest airlines flight status; that’s where the available seats on southwest are located. On a flight that isn’t full, there’s a higher possibility that the passenger in the seat next to you will get off and leave it empty.
Two of the Boeing 737-800 plane’s lavatories are located at the craft’s rear, while the other is in the plane’s forward passenger cabin. So, if the plane’s restroom is needed, more people will likely head back there. When flying Southwest, I prefer to sit in the rear of the plane if possible.
The Need for Extra Legroom
If you’re flying Southwest on a Boeing 737-700, try to get Seat 12A, which is the window seat on the right side of Row 12, when facing the back of the plane. Seat 11A is “missing” because Row 11 is an “edit” row with only two seats on the right side. As a result, the lucky person in 12A has two seats on southwest to themselves, which is a boon for those with long legs. If you’re flying on one of Southwest’s newer -800 or MAX8 planes, rows, 14 and 15 are the most desirable locations.
To hastily exit the aircraft
First check southwest airlines flight status and selected column 1 Even though you won’t be able to use the space under the seat in front of you, you’ll be among the first to leave the plane, making way for more legroom. Quickly head to your left or right as soon as you get on the bus.
If you’re thirsty
Pick either Row 1 or Row 9. Southwest flight attendants usually start serving drinks and snacks to the first three rows of the cabin.
You may select a single seatmate if you prefer
Seats B and C in Row 11 are your targets. As this is a two-seat row on Southwest’s Boeing 737-700s, you won’t have to worry about squeezing in with anyone else.
If maintaining an upright posture doesn’t bother you
Find a seat in either the very back row or the row just in front of the exit. There are some people who don’t want to lean back throughout the flight, even though the ability to recline is a hotly fought perk among economy passengers.
What To Do If You Want A Good Southwest Seat
If you’ve never flown Southwest before, you may be wondering how to secure the finest seat possible (aka the earliest boarding position). Some strategies include:
- Don’t forget to check in the night before your flight.
- Participate in a select group of people who are A-Listers.
- Invest in a Business Select, Upgraded Boarding, or EarlyBird Check-In ticket.
- Plan to take the morning flight.
Just getting on the plane early can increase your chances of securing the seat of your choice. However, just because you have a Group A boarding card doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the seat location of your choice.
24-hour advance check-in
Suppose you’re trying to save as much money as possible, and you bought one of Southwest’s “Wanna Get Away” fares. In that case, checking in for your flight exactly 24 hours in advance will guarantee you the earliest southwest boarding process available. If you need to check southwest airlines flight status, set the alarm for a minute before check-in time or have mum give you a call. Checking in even a minute or two later than the specified time could place you well down the boarding list.
Remember that each Southwest Companion Pass holder must check in independently since their unique confirmation number is required.
Get an EarlyBird Discount by Paying a Little More
Southwest Airlines now offers automated check-in 36 hours prior to departure for an additional fee of $15 to $25 (depending on distance traveled) per passenger, one way. If you check in less than 24 hours before your flight, you will usually be given a better boarding location. By reading this article, learn if EarlyBird Check-In is worth it and what features it offers.
Business Select prices get boarding priority A1-A15
A Group A designation, or even a Group B assignment in extreme instances, is not guaranteed even with the greatest of reminders. In spite of when they check-in, passengers who splurge on Business Select tickets—the most expensive option—are always seated in the first 15 rows of the plane, in rows A1 through A15.
Gain access to exclusive Southwest benefits
After that, the “best available boarding pass number” goes to Southwest frequent fliers who have achieved A-List or A-List Preferred elite status.
Purchase A1-A15 boarding at the gate
If you don’t like your assigned seat number and there are still A1-A15 seats available on the day of departure, you may be able to purchase Upgraded Boarding for $30-$50 one way, per person. If you’re not planning on making any purchases, remember that the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card both contain four annual A1-A15 companion passes (which is why these are some of our favorite Southwest cards for families).
In a time when securing a good seat might be more crucial than ever, this is a major perk of the cards. In addition, new cardholders can earn 50,000 additional points on their Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card after making a transaction during the first three months.
Why You May See Passengers Onboard
Even if you have an A1 boarding card, you may still encounter other passengers on your Southwest trip. This is due to the fact that many Southwest aircraft make more than one stop en route. Those who are continuing on to the final stop remain aboard the aircraft while the rest of the passengers disembark. When the day progresses, this occurs increasingly frequently as passengers are redirected to alternative planes due to delays or cancellations.
If the seat you desire is taken, you won’t be able to do much about it. If you’re one of the last individuals in the southwest boarding process, you should try to keep a positive attitude and make the most of the following few hours.
If you’re dead set on sitting next to a specific person, there are various strategies you might apply. Remember that your need is only a reasonable request if you are the sole caretaker of a young kid or another person who depends on you for support. Southwest airlines flight status and crew will ask other passengers to move to make room for a parent and their young child, but it’s not fair to ask strangers to move so that you can hold hands with your significant other.
Does Southwest Airlines Allow For Seat Reservations?
For or against seat-saving, Southwest has no firm policy. The Southwest Shuffle, as coined by Kerr, is the practice of one passenger boarding ahead of the rest of the group in order to secure seats on southwest for the others, much like how people reserve theatre seats in advance.
Be considerate if you choose to save seats for your traveling companion(s) by not occupying six seats in two rows and expecting other passengers to ignore your presence. If someone else is adamant about sitting there and your travel partners haven’t boarded the plane yet, you have no right to claim those seats on southwest for yourself.
Some people may find the Southwest boarding process daunting or annoying at first, but once you learn the ropes, you’ll find that it has many advantages. Southwest passengers typically have less baggage to store in the overhead bins than other flyers because of the airline’s free checked bag policy. The southwest airlines flight status and open seating arrangement make it easy to get seated in the proper row upon boarding. If you’re flying Southwest soon, use this advice to find out where to sit and how to get there quickly.