Tips on How to Get A Better Boarding Group Order on Southwest Airlines in 2021

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Unlike other major airlines out there, Southwest Airlines has an open seating policy. The sooner you get to board the plane, the better chance you will get to find seats that are ideal for you and your travel companions. 

With that being said, below are some tips to help you get an earlier boarding group position for good seats on Southwest Airlines:
Photo Credit: Southwest Airlines
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    How Southwest Airlines Boarding Process Works

    Southwest Airlines has an open seating policy, meaning that there are no seat assignments. Therefore, the sooner you get on the plane, the better seats you will get to enjoy. 
    In a nutshell:
    • Southwest has three (3) boarding groups: A, B, and C.
    • There are 1-60 position numbers. 
    • At check-in, your boarding pass has an assigned boarding group and a position number. 
    • Southwest boarding orders are:
      • Preboarding for passengers with certain disabilities and special needs
      • Group A 
      • Families traveling with a child 6 years old or younger
      • Group B
      • Finally, Group C
    • At the boarding gate area, there are numbered posts. When the gate agent calls your boarding group letter and position number, you will want to go to queue up at the corresponding post based on your boarding position number. 
    • Once onboard, you can pick any open seat you want. 
    Therefore, this means that you are in luck if you are in group A boarding. On the other hand, if you are in group C boarding, you may end up with middle seats on the plane. 

    How to Get A Better Boarding Group Position For Good Seats on Southwest Airlines

    Here are some suggested tips that you can do to get an earlier boarding group position on Southwest airlines:

    Get the Southwest A-List Status

    Southwest has two elite tier levels: A-List and A-List Preferred. Both A-List statuses offer priority boarding and Fly By priority check-in and security lane access. 
    This means that, if you have one of the above-mentioned A-List statuses, you and everyone on your reservation can get an earlier boarding position. 
    There are requirements to earn Southwest A-List status:
    • To get an A-List status, you need to fly 25 qualifying one-way flights or earn 35,000 tier qualifying points in a calendar year. 
    • To get an A-List Preferred status, you need to fly 50 qualifying one-way flights or earn 70,000 tier qualifying points in a calendar year. 

    Purchase Business Select Fare Tickets

    Just to be sure, there are no business class seats on Southwest airlines, but they do offer Business Select type tickets that come with a price. If you buy a Business Select fare with Southwest Airlines, you receive guaranteed A1-15 boarding and Fly By priority check-in and security checkpoint lane access.

    Purchase Southwest Airlines EarlyBird Check-In

    As its name suggests, the EarlyBird Check-In is a service that you can purchase to get you a better boarding position on Southwest Airlines. The EarlyBird Check-In cost starts at $15 to $25 one-way per passenger depending on your flight. 

    The way Southwest EarlyBird Check-In works is this: 
    • Southwest system will perform automatic check-in for you within 36 hours of your flight’s departure, and thus you are able to get a confirmed boarding position sooner than the 24 hours check-in window that’s available to the general public. The concept here is that the sooner you are checked in, the better boarding position you will get. When you get your boarding pass, it does not change your boarding position. 

    Get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Cards

    Southwest Airlines and Chase offer a few Rapid Rewards credit cards that provide perks such as EarlyBird Check-In and Upgraded Boardings fees reimbursement per your account anniversary year. 
    The following Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards offer two (2) EarlyBird Check-In fees reimbursement each year:
    • Chase Southwest Plus Credit Card
    • Chase Southwest Premier Credit Card
    The following Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards offer four (4) Upgraded Boardings fees reimbursement each year:
    • Chase Southwest Priority Credit Card
    • Chase Southwest Performance Business Credit Card
    Each credit card has an annual fee. Therefore, make sure you are really getting the benefits including these early boarding benefits to justify each card’s annual fee. 

    Check-In Exactly 24 Hours

    Last but for sure is not least, set yourself a reminder to perform check-in exactly 24 hours before your flight’s departure. Your flight’s departure time is always based on the timezone that your departure airport is. 
    While this tip may not guarantee you the best boarding group position, most of the time you may find that it does increase your odds of getting in a better boarding position to a point that you are not stuck at sitting in the middle seats or running out of luggage space in the overhead bins.
    Remember, the way Southwest Airlines assigns your boarding group and position number is based entirely on how soon you check in your flight. With that being said, try to avoid checking in at the airport. If you need to check your bags, that’s okay too. Just perform the check-in online or on your Southwest mobile app to secure an early boarding position, and then deal with checking your bags when you arrive at the airport. 

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