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7 Ways to Get the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines

7 Ways to Get the Best Seats on Southwest Airlines

Securing the ideal seat on a flight can significantly impact your travel experience. With Southwest Airlines’ open seating policy, where seats are not assigned, the quest for a prime spot can be both exciting and strategic.

Whether you’re aiming for extra legroom or prefer being closer to the front, here are seven savvy tips to help you nab the best seats on Southwest Airlines.

1. ** Early Check-In is Key

Timing is everything when it comes to snagging a favorable seat on Southwest. Checking in early grants you a better boarding position, allowing you to have a wider array of seat choices. Southwest opens check-in 24 hours before departure, so set a reminder and check-in as soon as the clock strikes that 24-hour mark. Utilize the airline’s EarlyBird Check-In option for an automated early check-in service, securing you a better spot in the boarding queue.

2. Opt for Business Select or Anytime Fares

Purchasing Business Select or Anytime fares not only comes with perks like priority boarding but also ensures a better chance of selecting preferred seating. With priority boarding, you’ll be among the first to choose your seat, increasing the likelihood of snagging the coveted spots, such as exit rows or front-row seats.

3. Boarding Positions Matter

Understanding Southwest’s boarding process is crucial. Passengers are divided into groups based on their boarding positions—A, B, or C—alongside a number, ranging from 1 to 60. A higher letter-number combination means earlier access to seats.

To secure a better boarding position, check-in online precisely 24 hours before departure or consider purchasing an upgraded boarding position at the gate.

4. Utilize the Family Boarding Option

Traveling with children aged six and under on Southwest grants you access to Family Boarding after the A group. Take advantage of this opportunity to board early and find seats together. Even if you’re not traveling with kids, consider positioning yourself strategically in line after the Family Boarding group to grab some of the available premium seats.

5. Be Strategic with Seating Preferences

Each traveler has unique preferences—some seek extra legroom, while others prefer proximity to the front for quicker disembarkation. Window or aisle? Consider your priorities when selecting seats. Aim for exit rows for extra space or front-row seats for a quicker exit upon arrival. Use the seat map provided during online check-in to plan and select your preferred spot wisely.

6. Flexibility is Key

Remaining flexible can work in your favor. If you’re not fixated on a specific seat, consider being open to various options. While boarding, scan the available seats quickly and choose the best one available at that moment. Remaining flexible might just lead you to discover a hidden gem of a seat.

7. Engage with Fellow Passengers

Sometimes, a polite conversation can work wonders. If you have a specific seat in mind and notice someone sitting there, politely inquire if they would be willing to swap seats. Many passengers are accommodating and might agree to switch if it suits them better, granting you the seat you desire.


Securing the best seats on Southwest Airlines involves a combination of strategy, timing, and flexibility. From leveraging early check-in and boarding positions to considering fare options and engaging with fellow travelers, these tips can significantly enhance your chances of claiming the perfect seat for a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience.

Remember, while these strategies can increase your chances, they’re not foolproof. However, armed with these tips, you’re better equipped to navigate the open seating policy and maximize your chances of snagging that coveted seat on your next Southwest Airlines flight. Happy flying!