What is the policy for Southwest seat selection?

Southwest seat selection

Choose Your Seats with the Southwest Boarding Process

Flying with Southwest Airlines and wondering how to get the best seat on the flight? Well, it’s no secret that Southwest has an open seating policy, which means that you cannot choose your preferred seat in advance. Your ability to select a seat depends on your boarding position. The earlier you board the flight, the higher the chances to grab the desired seat.

So, if you’ve planned your upcoming journey with Southwest, it’s best to focus on your boarding position and improve your chances of getting the preferred seat. The guide covers all the tidbits about the Southwest Seat Selection process, along with some ways to get the best boarding position. Scroll down to have a closer look.

How Does Southwest Seat Selection Work?

Unlike most other airlines that allow passengers to pick their seats in advance, Southwest prefers opting for an open-seating policy. It handles passengers on a first-come, first-served basis and allows them to pick their favorite seat as soon as they board the flight.

Southwest Seat Selection totally depends on your boarding group and position. The airline assigns you a specific boarding group and position according to which you board the flight. So, check your boarding pass and find the boarding group (A, B, or C) assigned to you, along with the boarding position (1 – 60) to make your seat selection easier.

What is the Southwest Boarding Process?

Since your ability to select a seat depends on the boarding position, it’s best to know the Southwest boarding process in detail to avoid any confusion at the airport.  Here’s how the Southwest Boarding Process works.

  • Southwest Airlines classifies passengers in one of the three boarding groups – Group A, Group B, and Group C.
  • Your boarding pass displays the unique combination of your group and position. For example, if you have A22, this means you have boarding group A and position 22.
  • Every gate area has numbered posts indicating where you have to line up.
  • Once your boarding group is announced,
  • Find your place designated in the queue
  • Catch the flight in the order of number with your respective boarding group.
  • The sequence according to which passengers board the Southwest flight is mentioned here.
  • Pre-Board – Reserved for those who need special assistance in boarding.
  • Group A (A1-A15) 
  • Group A (A16-A30)
  • Family Boarding/ Active Duty Military
  • Group B
  • Group C

How Can I Get the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines?

Getting the best seat on Southwest Airlines depends on your boarding group and position. So, instead of focusing on a seat selection, consider improving your boarding position and pick your preferred seat on the flight. Here’s how you can get it.

  • Earn an elite status

    • It’s no secret that frequent flyers with A-List or A-List Preferred elite status will get priority over others.
    • So, earn an Elite Staus when flying with Southwest and get a better boarding position.
  • Early Check-In

    • Check in 24 hours before the flight departure to get the earliest boarding available.
    • Besides, you can purchase the EarlyBird feature that checks you in for a Southwest flight around 36 hours before the departure.
    • Be mindful that early check-in won’t guarantee an A Boarding group.
  • Purchase an Upgraded Boarding Position at the Gate

    • This option is available if open boarding positions are available in the A1 and A15 group.
    • You can purchase the upgraded boarding by paying $30 to $50 per flight segment.
    • Remember that upgraded boarding doesn’t apply to your whole itinerary.
    • It only assigns you a position between A1 and A15 to facilitate early boarding.
  • Book Tickets in Business Select fares

    • Buy Business Select fares at the time of booking and get an A1-A15 boarding position.
    • You can also upgrade your fare type after purchasing a flight ticket.
    • Business Select passengers are the first ones to board the flight, thus they have better chances to choose their preferred seats.

    Which are the Best Seats on Southwest?

    There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the seat selection. Therefore, the best seat depends on the passenger’s preferences and budget. Here are some points to give you a sneak peek into the best seats.

    • For legroom – Seat 12A
    • To deboard the flight quickly – Row 1
    • For just one seat companion – Row 11, Seats B and C
    • To be where the snacks and drinks start serving – Row 1, 9, or 17

    What are the Southwest Seat Specifications?

    When selecting your seats, it is good to know about their specifications. It helps you pick better seats in the least possible time. So, without further ado, scroll down the page and get familiar with the airline’s seat specifications to avoid any confusion later on.


    Capacity for travelers

    Seat Width

    Seat Pitch

    Aisle Armrests (Movable)

    Boeing 737-700




    All rows

    Boeing 737-800




    All rows except front bulkhead

    Boeing 737-MAX 8


    What is Southwest Airlines Family Boarding?

    Planning your next family vacation with Southwest Airlines and wondering how to get the best seat on the aircraft? Don’t worry, Southwest Airlines’ Family Boarding is there to assist. Family Boarding is available between Groups A and B. Scroll down and learn more about this boarding type below.

    • It is available for up to two adults, flying with kids of 6 years or younger
    • If the kid or an adult has the A boarding pass, they must board in the position assigned. They don’t have to wait for Family Boarding.

    In Conclusion

    Southwest has always been known for its quirky seat selection policy. So, if you are traveling with this low-cost air carrier, it’s better to know about its boarding process beforehand to get the best seat on the aircraft. Remember that your boarding position determines your ability to choose a seat. Therefore, try to improve your boarding position and enjoy a comfortable journey in the air.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can active-duty military members preboard on Southwest flights?

    Southwest allows the US active-duty members to board between the A and B groups if they didn’t get an A boarding.

    How can I find my seat on Southwest flights?

    Find your assigned boarding group and position on your boarding pass. Wait for your group call, board the plane accordingly, and choose your seats then.

    Does Southwest assign seats?

    No, Southwest doesn’t assign seats. Rather, the airline offers an open-seating policy, which means that you are free to choose any seat once you board the plane.

    What is the policy for Southwest seat selection?
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