Southwest Seat Selection: Choose(Pick) Seats in Advance

Planning your next trip with Southwest Airlines? You’re probably wondering about their seat selection process. Unlike many airlines, Southwest operates on an open seating policy. But don’t worry, there’s a strategy to snagging the best seat in the house.

Southwest’s unique approach to seat selection can be confusing if you’re not familiar with it. But once you understand the system, it’s actually quite straightforward. Let’s jump into how you can choose your preferred seat in advance and ensure a comfortable journey.

Whether you’re a solo traveler wanting a window view or a family needing to sit together, this guide will help you navigate Southwest’s seat selection process with ease. Stay tuned to learn the ins and outs of securing your desired seat on your next Southwest flight.

Understanding Southwest Airlines’ Seat Selection Policy

Southwest Airlines subscribes to an open seating policy. For the uninitiated, the term might seem a little perplexing. But, rest assured it’s a rather straightforward concept once you get the hang of it.

Typically, airline companies assign seats in advance during booking. With Southwest Airlines, it’s a different ball game altogether. They don’t follow traditional methods of seat allocation. Here’s what sets them apart: they don’t assign seats. Yes, you read that correctly. Southwest Airlines works on a policy based on your check-in timing rather than pre-designated seating.

How does it work, you may ask? Well, your position in the boarding process depends strictly on your check-in time. Simply put, the earlier you check in, the earlier you board the plane, and the better chances of grabbing your preferred seat. Southwest Airlines starts the check-in process 24 hours before the scheduled departure flight, so you’d want to check in online as soon as possible.

Now you might be wondering: “What if I forget to check in or are unable to do so?”

Let’s not panic. Southwest caters to this issue with its Early Bird Check-in option. Essentially, it’s a service you can purchase for a minimal fee. Opt in for this, and Southwest takes care of your check-in. An added advantage of the Early Bird Check-in is that you get automatically checked in before the general 24-hour commencement, providing a better boarding position.

Introducing another facet of Southwest’s seating policy – the Family Boarding. If you’re traveling with children aged six years or under, Southwest allows you to board during the “Family Boarding” time. This occurs after the ‘A’ group boards and before the ‘B’ group, thereby assuring you of an opportunity to choose the most convenient seats for your family.

While this system challenges the norms, it also empowers you with greater flexibility and control. It grants you the liberty to choose seats that fit your comfort, convenience, and preferences. Even within the frameworks of an unconventional approach, Southwest Airlines ensures an efficient and smooth process to enhance passenger convenience.

The Open Seating Advantage: Why Southwest Does It Differently

Have you ever wondered why Southwest Airlines does things differently? A big part of its success can be traced back to its unique open seating policy. This system may be unconventional, but it’s all about flexibility.

When flying with Southwest, you’re free to choose your seat when you board the plane. There are no pre-assigned seats. Your seat selection essentially depends on your boarding group and position which are determined by your check-in timing. This means that the earlier you check in, the earlier you board, and the bigger your choice of where to sit.

You might be thinking this “free-for-all” system is stressful or chaotic. But in fact, Southwest’s policy is created with the passenger in mind. It offers you the ability to choose who you sit next to. Worried about being separated from your family or traveling companion? With Southwest policy, you can ensure you’re seated together if you coordinate your check-in time.

The option of purchasing Early Bird Check-in is also there if you want a better boarding position. This optional addon increases your chances of scoring a preferred seat.

For families with young children under the age of six, the Family Boarding option is offered. This allows you to board earlier, making the process less stressful and more flexibile in terms of seat selection.

In essence, Southwest’s open seating policy is about empowering you as the passenger to make your seating choice. This is a sharp contrast to the norm, where airline companies dictate where you sit. So next time you’re preparing for a flight with Southwest, remember to check in as early as you can for a better pick.

Tips and Tricks to Secure the Best Seat on a Southwest Flight

One thing’s for sure: knowing your way around Southwest’s open seating policy is vital to maximize your comfort and convenience. If you want the best seating options, you’ll need to master a few tricks of the trade.

Firstly, check-in is your biggest ally. Since Southwest operates on a first-come-first-served basis, the earlier you check in, the “earlier you can board”. Check-in opens 24 hours before flight departure, so set a reminder, and make sure you’re ready to go.

For those seeking a seamless experience, the Early Bird Check-in is your ticket to nirvana. While not free – priced at a nominal $15 to $25 per one-way trip – it automatically checks you in 12 hours earlier than the standard check-in time, giving you an edge in the seating selection showdown.

If you find the Early Bird service a little bit steep for your budget, here’s another pro tip. Try checking in exactly at the 24-hour mark. But, remember, everyone tries this strategy, so a fast internet connection and quick fingers are a must!

Do you travel with family? Southwest’s got you covered. The airline offers a Family Boarding option after the ‘A’ group has boarded – this allows families traveling with children aged six years or younger to pick their seats together.

Another lesser-known option is the Business Select fare. It’s the highest fare Southwest offers, but among its perks is a guaranteed position within the A1-A15 boarding group – that’s the golden seat selection zone!

Last but not least, join the loyalty program, Rapid Rewards. You’ll earn points for every flight, and those points can be used for rapid rewards on future flights.

Remember, the best seat is not just about maximizing legroom or getting a window seat; it’s also about your neighbor. With Southwest’s unique seating policy, you get the flexibility to choose who you sit next to. Travel can be an adventure – don’t leave it all up to fate! Create your own picture-perfect journey by taking the reins on your seating choices. Navigate the open-seating climate of Southwest – you’ve got the know-how now.

Navigating the Seat Selection Process: Step-by-Step Guide

Securing the best seat on Southwest is not complicated but requires a little bit of strategy. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to equip you with the tools to outsmart the rest of the crowd.

Step 1: Check in Online or Mobile

Check in as soon as possible. Once the check-in window opens, secure your boarding position. Remember, it’s 24 hours before your flight. No need to be at the airport to do this. Get ahead by using Southwest’s online or mobile check-in.

Step 2: Consider Early Bird Check-In

If you don’t mind spending a little extra for comfort, consider purchasing Early Bird Check-In. For a small fee, you’ll snatch a better boarding position. It’s especially useful for longer flights where you’d prefer the comfort of a preferred seat.

Step 3: Use Family Boarding

Travelling with young ones? Make use of the Family Boarding option. You’ll board between the “A” and “B” groups. So, even if you’re unable to snag the A-list boarding position, you don’t need to worry about seating with your family.

Step 4: Opt for Business Select Fare

Looking to get first dibs on boarding? Consider the Business Select fare. It guarantees a position within the A1-A15 boarding group. Granted, it costs more, but the perk of being among the first to board and select the best seat may be worth it.

Step 5: Join Rapid Rewards Program

Finally, don’t forget Southwest’s Rapid Rewards loyalty program. Earn points for each flight and use them for future travel. It’s a win-win. You enjoy flights now and secure points for your future journeys.

As you navigate Southwest’s open seating process, keep in mind these five steps. They not only help secure a preferred seat but also create a more personalized, comfortable journey. Follow this guide and create your best in-flight experience with Southwest Airlines.

Solo Travelers: Finding the Perfect Window Seat

Flying solo offers you the opportunity to tailor your flight experience to your preferences. Your seat choice can have a big impact on your comfort and satisfaction during your trip. With Southwest Airlines, you’re not limited to a pre-assigned seat which means you have the freedom to find that perfect window seat, sit back, and enjoy your journey.

If you’re looking to secure an ideal window seat, there are a handful of strategies to carry out. Timing is of the essence – the sooner you check in, the higher your chances of grabbing that preferred spot. Remember, the online check-in opens 24 hours before your flight departure time. So have your laptop or mobile app ready to stake out your spot.

Opting for the Early Bird Check-In can also be quite beneficial. For a small fee, Southwest checks you in automatically ahead of most passengers. This dramatically increases your chances of nabbing that sought-after window seat for a quite unobstructed view of the skies.

Checking in as early as possible and considering the Early Bird Check-In are straightforward steps to secure your favorite seat. But, choosing the Business Select Fare is another viable option. It guarantees you one of the first 15 boarding positions, which almost certainly means you’ll be able to find an available window seat.

In essence, securing your perfect window seat becomes a breeze with thorough planning and timely actions. Active participation in the Rapid Rewards program can render your journey more rewarding, giving you points that you can use in future flight bookings.

Being a savvy flyer, by following these steps, you’re on your way to not only an ideal window seat but a more enjoyable and personalized flight experience with Southwest Airlines.

Traveling with a Group: Ensuring Seat Togetherness

Knowing how to organize group seating can have a big impact on your flying experience with Southwest Airlines. It’s not just about getting the seats you want – it’s also about ensuring you’re seated next to family, friends or colleagues.

The first step to ensure group seating is purchasing your tickets together. When you do so, Southwest’s open seating policy will typically cluster your boarding positions closer together. This, but, doesn’t guarantee you’ll be seated together. To tip the odds in your favor, consider purchasing Early Bird Check-In. It automatically checks you in 36 hours before your flight, giving you a better chance at getting an earlier boarding position, and so, seats together.

Also, keep in mind that Southwest has a Family Boarding policy. If you’re traveling with a child six years old or younger, you’re allowed to board during Family Boarding, which happens after the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group begins. This provides an excellent opportunity for families to sit together without purchasing early boarding.

Finally, if you’re traveling on business with colleagues and need to ensure you hold your onboard meetings disruption-free, consider purchasing the Business Select fare. It guarantees you a spot within the A1-A15 boarding group, increasing the likelihood of securing seats together in your preferred locations.

But, you should note the following important points about Southwest’s seating policy to efficiently manage group seat selection:

  • No specific seat reservations: Southwest has an open seating policy, meaning no specific seat is assigned to passengers in advance. It’s based on a first-come, first-serve basis, which means the sooner you board, the more likely you are to get the seats you want.
  • Boarding order: Your boarding order is determined by when you check-in for your flight, which can be done up to 24-hours before departure. The earlier you check-in, the earlier you’ll board, and so, the better seat options you’ll have.

So, whether you’re planning a family trip or a business journey with colleagues, understanding and leveraging Southwest’s seating strategy can mean the difference between a chaotic, stressful start to your journey, and a calm, organized, and enjoyable one.


Navigating Southwest Airlines’ open seating policy doesn’t have to be daunting. By checking in online or through the app as soon as possible, you can secure a better seat. Remember, Early Bird Check-In and Business Select fare can boost your boarding position. Families can leverage Family Boarding, while solo travelers can increase their chances of a window seat by checking in early. Group travelers can ensure seat togetherness by buying tickets together and considering Early Bird Check-In. With these tips, you’re equipped to make the most of Southwest’s seating strategy for a smoother, more enjoyable journey.

What are some ways to secure the best seats with Southwest Airlines?

Southwest Airlines employs an open seating policy. You can increase your chances of securing the best seat by checking in online or through the mobile app as soon as the check-in window opens. Additionally, purchasing the Early Bird Check-in or Business Select fare can improve your boarding position.

Can families sit together on Southwest Airlines?

Yes, Southwest Airlines offers a Family Boarding option which allows families with young children to board early. This offers these passengers the opportunity to find seats together before general boarding begins.

How can solo travelers get the best seats?

Solo travelers can secure window seats by checking in early, as seating works on a first-come-first-serve basis. Purchasing Early Bird Check-In or Business Select Fare can increase the chances of getting a window seat.

How can groups maximize their chances of sitting together?

When traveling with a group, purchasing tickets together can increase the chances of being seated together. It’s also beneficial to consider Early Bird Check-In, which allows you to board earlier and choose seats alongside each other. Business Select Fare is another option for those who need guaranteed seats together.

What role does timing play in Southwest Airlines’ seating strategy?

Timing is crucial in Southwest Airlines’ seating strategy. Checking in as soon as the window opens can increase your chances of getting a preferred seat. Leveraging options such as Early Bird Check-In and Business Select fare can also help secure a more preferred boarding position.

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