Last updated on March 22nd, 2024 at 01:31 pm

Do you want to select your favorite seat when flying with Southwest Airlines? If yes, you must understand the Southwest Seat Selection Process for ease of use. The southwest boarding process is distinctive. Read the below-listed guidelines to select your preferred seat for your next flight.

Know About the Southwest Seat Selection Process

Southwest uses an open seating arrangement as opposed to assigning seats to individuals. Here’s how it works to decide who gets to choose their seats and in what order:

  • Your Southwest boarding group (A, B, or C) and seat number (1–60) will be disclosed to you at check-in, and these details will also be printed on your boarding pass.
  • It’s a good day if you get A1 because you’ll probably get to board the plane first.
  • There might be some exceptions for those with particular disabilities, those who pre-board, and those who are taking an earlier connecting flight.
  • Hopefully, if you are assigned C60, you won’t mind sitting in the middle seat close to the bathroom.
  • The gate agent will make boarding calls as the plane is getting ready to take off (e.g., Group A, 1-30).
  • You must move to one of the numbered posts at the gate area’s smaller block-sized gate area (e.g., positions 1-4).
  • According to where you are boarding, position yourself between the relevant posts.
  • If your number is A3, make sure you board third by asking other passengers about their boarding positions.
  • However, only if you are certain that the occupant of seat A4 won’t take your preferred location.
  • If not, you will board with five or fewer passengers from your designated position.
  • Take the first available seat you see once you board, store your belongings in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you, and get ready for takeoff.

Does Southwest Let You Choose Seat?

Southwest Airlines has open seating. Thus, passengers are free to sit on any seat.

Unlike other airlines, travellers don’t get to choose seats of their preference on Southwest. It has boarding groups. When passengers get to board the plane, according to their boarding groups, they can choose from any available seats. They can pick a window, aisle, or middle seat. So, it is like first come first served.

Southwest Airlines Seat Selection Fee

Since Southwest Airlines does not allow travellers to select their seats in advance. Therefore, there are no seat selection fees on Southwest Airlines. 

However, passengers who want a better seat can switch to a higher boarding group so that they can have wider seat options. Southwest Airlines charges a fee for upgrading the boarding group. The fee for selecting a better seat on Southwest Airlines is equivalent to the boarding group. Southwest charges $30 to $80 per segment per passenger for upgrading the boarding group.

Southwest Boarding Groups

  • Southwest Airlines has three boarding groups: A, B, and C, and positions 1-60+, assigned at check-in time.
  • While the Southwest boarding procedure may appear to be perplexing at first.
  • If you check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, you’ll be fine most of the time.
  • More expensive seats or upgraded boarding passes can also be purchased.
  • Learn which of your credit cards may offer airline credits to help offset these fees, as they may come in handy if you miss the check-in deadline.
  • Assume you’re part of a larger group that has multiple reservation numbers.
  • If this is the case, everyone must handle their affairs and check in separately if they want to board together.

Related: Southwest Airlines Low Fare Calendar

In what order does Southwest board its passengers?

Southwest Airlines has three boarding groups A, B, and C ranging from 1 to 60. The number is assigned on the basis of check-in time. Earlier the passenger check-in lowest the number they get in their boarding group. Let’s find out more about how the boarding order works on Southwest.

The A Group

  • Southwest elite flyers and passengers who paid an additional fee for their tickets or boarding are frequently found in seats A1-A15, which are the first to board flights.
  • A16-A60 are the individuals in the A group.

Groups B & C

  • The B group will board first, then the rest of the passengers.
  • In addition, a C group is available for large and full flights.
  • Both groups board in ascending numerical order, from one to sixty.


  • Passengers with special seating requirements, such as those who require boarding assistance, extra time, or help to stow an assistive device, are allowed to board first.
  • You must make a preboarding request to a Southwest customer service representative at the ticket counter or departure gate to be a part of that group.
  • Southwest will almost certainly ask you “fact-finding questions” to determine if you meet the boarding requirements.
  • If you do, you will be given a boarding pass with a preboarding designation, allowing you and one additional passenger to board early.
  • If you’re traveling with more than one person, the rest of your party must usually board the plane.
  • It is not permitted for preboarding passengers to sit in the exit row.

Families and active-duty military in uniform

  • If you are traveling with a six-year-old or younger child, you and up to one additional adult may board before the B group.
  • Uniformed active military personnel traveling on business may also board at this time.

Tips For Easy Southwest Seat Selection

If you’re new to Southwest, you may wonder how to get the absolute best seat (the earliest boarding position). You can follow some tips:

  • Check-in 24 hours before departure.
  • Maintain A-List elite status.
  • Purchase a ticket for EarlyBird Check-In, Upgraded Boarding, or Business Select.
  • Schedule the first flight of the day.

The best way to get your desired seat is to board as early as possible.

Tips to Get an A Group Seat on Southwest

Securing an A1-15 group seat on Southwest is possible, but it will come at a cost. Here’s how it works:

Purchase a Business Select Fare

  • Business Select’s perks are guaranteed boarding in rows A1 through A15, priority boarding lanes, and a free premium beverage.
  • The prices for Business Select are not economical.
  • Even though they are frequently more expensive than Wanna Get Away fares, they are still a decent deal than Southwest’s Anytime mid-tier fares.
  • Pretend you’re prepared to pay more for a better seat.
  • The advantage of picking Business Select over Anytime fares is that you earn more points and have a guaranteed good seat.

Purchase Upgraded Boarding

  • In addition to purchasing any available A1-A15 boarding position at the ticket counter or gate for an additional fee, Southwest offers the option to buy any available A2 boarding position.
  • The cost of each segment varies depending on your itinerary.
  • Suppose the flight has fewer Business Select or elite flyers than usual.
  • Some seats may become available once the 24-hour check-in window opens because they are not assigned to customers with regular tickets.

Upgrade Your Boarding With Southwest Credit Cards

  • You can receive reimbursement for up to four upgraded boardings each anniversary year if you have the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card.
  • For everyone who purchases upgraded boarding, the same procedures apply.
  • You can only buy it if the seats are still available at the gate or ticket office on the day of travel.
  • You’ll get a credit reimbursement every four months, regardless of the cost.
  • You can upgrade your entire group only once or reward yourself several times a year by purchasing them all at once or for different flights.

Check More On Southwest Airlines on Mytrippolicy:

Frequently Asked Questions

Since all seats on Southwest-operated flights are available upon boarding, you are free to select one.

  • Southwest does not offer priority boarding to seniors.
  • However, customers get priority boarding special seating requirements to accommodate a disability or who require assistance boarding the aircraft or stowing an assistive device.
  • In that case, you will board between groups A and B before family boarding.

  • There are no assigned seats because Southwest uses an open seating system.
  • Check-in determines your boarding order based on your boarding group (A, B, or C) & position (1–60+).
  • You select your seat once you're on board.
  • You probably won't get a seat with your family if you're the last person to board.

Yes, travellers can pick seats of their choice after boarding a Southwest Airlines flight. Travellers cannot pre-select the seat at the time of booking or check-in. They can choose from the available seats only after boarding.