How to Get a Good Seat on Southwest Airlines

Traveling with kids 4 and under means priority boarding on Southwest.
Traveling with kids 4 and under means priority boarding on Southwest. (Image: Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Southwest Airlines is known for its budget-friendly prices and lack of assigned seats. Once boarded, passengers can sit in any available seat. However, unless you want to be stuck in a middle seat right outside the lavatory, secure your good seat by paying for priority boarding or checking in online as soon as you are allowed.

Pay for Early Boarding

The best way to secure a good seat on a Southwest flight is to pay extra in advance. Upgrade to a Business Select Fare when you're booking, which is the earliest boarding group. You'll get onto a nearly empty plane and have your pick of seats. You also have the option to supplement a regular fare with the Early Bird Check-in feature, which allows you to get on the plane ahead of general boarding. Before you fly, you can also buy an Upgraded Boarding ticket at the gate if it's available.

Check in Early

Southwest invites travelers to check in for their flights 24 hours online before the scheduled departure. Customers who check in early are assigned an earlier boarding group, so you'll have an improved chance of grabbing a good seat on board. Be ready with your confirmation number so you can check in 24 hours in advance on the dot.

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