How Does Southwest Airlines Seating Work?

How does Southwest Airlines Seating Work?

Flying with Southwest Airlines is an exciting experience, and one aspect that often sparks curiosity is the airline’s seating procedure. Whether you’re a first-time Southwest flyer or a seasoned traveler, understanding how Southwest Airlines’ seating works can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

How does Southwest Airlines Seating Work?

Grab a seat, relax, and let’s take you on a ride, examining the details of Southwest Airlines seating, and providing other relevant information needed to make your flying experience a breeze.

How Does Southwest Airlines Seating Work?

Unlike many other airlines, Southwest Airlines doesn’t have assigned seats. Instead, they operate on an open-seating policy, known as “open seating” or “open boarding.”

This means that passengers are not assigned specific seats when they purchase their tickets. Instead, passengers are divided into boarding groups and positions within those groups, which determine their boarding order.


Boarding Groups and Positions

To determine the boarding order, Southwest Airlines uses a letter-number combination system. At the time of check-in, passengers are assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a position within that group (1-60).

For example, if you receive the boarding pass with the designation B23, you belong to boarding group B and will be the 23rd passenger to board in that group.

Boarding Procedure

The boarding process at Southwest Airlines typically follows the following steps:

1. EarlyBird Check-In

Passengers who choose to purchase the EarlyBird Check-In option can enjoy automatic check-in 36 hours prior to the flight departure time, which increases their chances of securing a better boarding position.

2. Check-In

For passengers who haven’t opted for EarlyBird Check-In, the general check-in process opens 24 hours before the flight departure.

It is essential to check in as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting a preferred boarding position.

3. Boarding Groups

At the boarding gate, passengers line up in three designated areas: A, B, and C. The boarding order within each group is based on the assigned positions.

Southwest Airlines typically calls the boarding group and positions aloud, making it easy to keep track of the boarding process.

4. Seat Selection

Once onboard, you can choose any available seat, which adds an element of flexibility to your flying experience.

To add to that, Southwest Airlines offers extended legroom in the exit rows; however, you must meet specific requirements to be eligible for these seats.

Also, if you want to secure a better boarding position, Southwest Airlines offers Upgraded Boarding for a fee, which allows you to board in the A1-A15 group.


Understanding Southwest Airlines’ seating procedure can enhance your travel experience by ensuring a smooth boarding process.

With its open-seating policy, Southwest Airlines offers passengers flexibility and the chance to select their preferred seats.

Remember to check in early, respect the boarding process, and enjoy the journey with this customer-focused airline. Happy travels with Southwest Airlines.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like