Southwest Seat Selection: Can You Reserve a Seat in Advance?

southwest seat selection

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While traveling, all a passenger wants is a comfortable journey. Which makes them want to choose the best seats on the flight, even if they have to pay extra. But when it comes to Southwest seat selection, the policies are very different from other airlines.

Southwest has an extremely unique seat selection process which is a little complex. But don’t worry we have curated the best information and put it forward so you understand how the seat selection process works.

What’s Unique About Southwest Seat Selection Policy?

Southwest Airline has unique and different seat policies as compared to other airlines. The seats are not assigned before time. Instead, flyers are given seats according to their boarding groups A, B, or C and boarding positions 1-60.

Let’s understand the policies for southwest seat selection:

  • The southwest boarding group and position are the deciding factors as to when you will board the flight.
  • Seat assignments on Southwest Airlines are only done on a “first-come, first-serve” basis.
  • If you are willing to get a seat of your choice, you should try to board in the first half. This will let you have more options.
  • The only way you can select a seat is after boarding the plane.

Seating Options on Southwest Airlines

The functioning of the seats is done through a seating chart. There are 3 types of seating a passenger can choose from, and all the 3 types have different benefits.  Here are the available choices and their unique advantages.

Business Select Seats

They are the most comfortable seats on Southwest Airlines, especially when it comes to long-duration flights. Flyers will have to be first to board to get the business select seats on the flight.

Here are some benefits of Business Select seats on Southwest:

  • Extra comfort.
  • More Legroom.
  • Complimentary food and drinks.
  • Free in-flight entertainment.
  • Massage services.
  • Live TV.

Business Select tickets are totally refundable in case of cancelations. Moreover, there are no additional charges for last-minute changes.

Anytime Seats

The specialty of these seats is that flyers can change them at any given moment without paying any extra charges. Another prominent feature is the tickets are refundable.

Features of Anytime Seat:

  • You will gain 10 rapid rewards on each purchase which you can definitely use later.
  • Live TV.
  • Meal Menus.
  • In-flight WiFi services

These seats are the most suitable for travelers going on vacation. As it has the appropriate amount of services with affordable pricing.

Wanna Get Away

For flyers willing to travel with Southwest Airlines and looking for affordable solutions, this seating is the perfect option for them.  These seats fall under the economy seats according to most airlines and still have amazing facilities.

Here are some benefits you get in Southwest Wanna Get Away:

  • Southwest offers normal services that you get in economy class.
  • Food and beverage.
  • Entertainment facility.

However, these tickets are non-refundable in spite of the refund policies. Passengers cannot claim any kind of refund on these tickets, But it’s best for budget-friendly traveling.

How to Select a Seat On Southwest?

How to Select a Seat On Southwest
How to Select a Seat On Southwest

If you are looking for southwest seat selection, you will first have to analyze the number of obtainable seats. We have figured out a process that will help you to find out how many seats are left.

  • Visit the official website of southwest airlines.
  • And book your flight tickets according to the seating options.
  • The next step would be the check-in process after receiving the ticket.
  • At the time of check-in, you will receive the boarding group and the number.
  • According to the boarding group, you will be able to board the plane and select the available seats.
  • You are free to choose any seat available after getting on the flight.

If you are facing any difficulty in choosing your seat, as the process is a little complex, please don’t hesitate to contact customer support. You can even visit the official website of Southwest and contact the airline directly.

How to Get the Best Seats On Southwest Airlines?

As we now know, that Southwest does not let you choose your seat in advance. However, there are some hacks that you can use to board the plane first and get your preferred seat. You may be able to get your desired seat if you follow these techniques.

  • Make sure to check in 24 hours before flight departure. This will help you get into group A.
  • If you book your seats well in advance and on the morning flight, the chances of getting your preferred seats are high.
  • Upgraded boarding and early bird Southwest Airlines check-in are some features that will help you get a better seat.
  • Elite status members and A-List Preferred status are kept in boarding group A.
  • If you are a frequent flyer, you can become a member and get the privilege of getting a better seating option.
  • Always reach on time when flying with Southwest airlines. Reaching late might push you to the last boarding group.

Other Ways to Get a Good Seat On Southwest

We have kept them separate as these methods don’t guarantee that you will be able to board group A. However, they may still put you a lot ahead of others.

Becoming a Southwest Status Member

Flyers who are members of A list or elite status automatically get privileges over other flyers. Having rapid rewards is also a benefit when it comes to getting into group A. Passengers having the status are automatically put into group A, 36 hours before flight departure.

However, having status does not guarantee that you get in A1-A15, but in most, you will at least get into group A.

Purchase Early Bird Check-In

An add-on to your Southwest Airlines Flight ticket called EarlyBird Check-In will check you in automatically 36 hours before the flight’s planned departure time. Compared to Southwest status, Anytime and Business Select fares, and everyone else have to wait for the 24-hour window. Therefore, you are now in the race for the best boarding position. In addition to your fare, EarlyBird normally charges $15 to $25 one-way per passenger.

Does Southwest Have Any Fee for Seat Selection? 

According to Southwest Seat Selection policy, flyers are not eligible to book seats in advance, they will have to board the plane and then choose a seat. A passenger who gets on the plane in the first batch has priority over other flyers. If you want to get your desired seat on Southwest, it is obvious you will have to pay the charges for it as well. The seat selection depends on the destination of travel. Usually, the charges range between $30-$40 for one way.

How Does Southwest Boarding Work?

Southwest has an open seating style which is quite different from other airlines. Therefore, they had to come up with a different boarding process. Here’s how the boarding process for Southwest Airlines works.

First, you need to understand that there are three boarding groups, A, B, and C, then comes the boarding positions, which are from 1-60. The group and position are given to you at the time of check-in, and this will be printed on your boarding pass. Group A is the first one to board.

So if you have A1 in your boarding pass, you are lucky as you’ll be the first one to board the plane and pick a seat according to preference. However, there are exceptions for people with disabilities.

This is a sample of how your Boarding pass will look like.

boarding pass
boarding pass

Here you can see that the boarding group is “B” and the position is 23rd. This passenger will be boarding in group B in the 23rd position.

What Is the Boarding Order On Southwest Airlines?

This is the most important thing to know when traveling with Southwest. Understanding the boarding order will make it easier for you.

Here we have arranged the order in which the boarding process works from top to bottom.

The Group A

The first ones to board the plane are passengers from A1-A15, However, only elite members are able to be a part of this batch. Or flyers can check online and see if the boarding positions are empty, they can pay the charges and get themselves in the first set. The rest of the group is A16-A60 which follows later.


Passengers with special boarding needs or disabilities are the ones that come under preboarding. To get yourself into the preboarding, you will have to reach the help desk of Southwest airlines and tell them about your needs. They will be happy to help and guide you.

The boarding pass for preboarding passengers mentioned “Preboarding,” so they do not face any issues. However, not everyone can get this opportunity to get themselves the preboarding facility as there will be lots of questions from Southwest Airlines that state that you have some kind of disability.

On- Duty Military Personnel and Family

Flyers who want family boarding on Southwest will be allowed to board after the completion of preboarding. If you have a child 6 years old or younger can board with you and one other adult member together. The airline also allows the active military to board at this time.

Groups B and C

All the other passengers that have group B Or C on their boarding passes can board the last batch. Usually, both groups B and c board together, but for the large flights, there are different boardings for both groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to pick seats on Southwest?

After boarding the aircraft, you can select the seats you prefer in accordance with Southwest’s seating rules. The boarding group you are assigned provides the flexibility to select the seat. You can go to the airline’s website or give them a call to choose an advance reservation.

What is Southwest family boarding?

After the “A” group has boarded and before the “B” group starts boarding, Southwest provides “Family Boarding.” During Family Boarding, two adults and one child (age six or younger) may board.

Can you reserve seats on Southwest Airlines?

There are no assigned seats because Southwest uses an open seating system. When you check-in, you’ll be given a boarding group (A, B, or C) and position (1-60+), which defines your boarding order. When you board, you select a seat.

How do you sit together on Southwest?

You can select any available seats once you board the vehicle. The more seats you have to choose from, the better your boarding group and number. This applies to everyone, but it is especially crucial if you’re trying to reserve several seats for your family.

Who gets to preboard on Southwest?

Flyers who require special seating due to a disability may preboard, as well as those who require help boarding the plane or stowing an assistive device. Pre boarding is available to passengers who are traveling with special assistance services and emotional support animals.

Is it worth it to add Early Bird check-in on Southwest?

If you’re flying in a group or just want to board the plane more quickly, Southwest Early Bird Check-In can be worthwhile. However, if you already have access to expedited boarding, which includes family boarding, it might not be worth it. Additionally, if you want to save money, it might not be worth the expense.

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