Open seating for Southwest Airlines
Seat assignments are not part of Southwest Airlines’ procedure; instead, passengers select their own seats based on their boarding position. Southwest uses A-C and 1-60+ to determine the commuter pecking order. The person with A 1 boards first and C 60+ enters last. Group A passengers select the best seats and have access to empty overhead bins. Often, Southwest bases this A status on cost.
“Wanna Get Away,” “Anytime,” and “Business Select” fare comparison
This chart compares the three fares for a random booking from Philadelphia to Atlanta. The lowest, “Wanna Get Away,” is nonrefundable, but per eligibility, credit may be issued toward a future reservation. However, Wanna Get Away may cost hundreds less that the “Anytime,” fare. “Business Select” is the priciest but guarantees priority emplaning with the A 1 – A 15 group.
Five Southwest money-saving tips and travel tricks
- Within 24 hours before departure, Southwest passengers can conveniently check in online with the Southwest mobile app or on their computer; or they can pay $15 for EarlyBird Check-In, and the airline assigns boarding groups 36 hours before departure. With Earlybird, if the traveler pays a higher fare, Southwest gives that passenger a higher boarding status.
- EarlyBird Check-In does not guarantee an “A” boarding zone. I purchased EarlyBird and received group B. Unknowingly, my husband’s administrator checked me in 24 hours before departure, and I received an A. Therefore, you may get a better seat if you check yourself in.
- To maximize boarding priority while saving money, purchase the ticket at the lowest price, and pay $30-$40 to upgrade to an “A” position at the gate. I was flying on a packed flight, and I had group B boarding assignment. I upgraded at the gate to A 6. They apparently save A positions hoping to sell them at the last minute. Unfortunately, if the flight is filled, you may not be able to change your standing.
- Southwest doesn’t charge fees to change your flight, like their competition.
- Sign up for Click ‘N Save to receive emails for the latest Southwest travel deals for flights, hotels, car rentals, and vacation packages.
I hope that these money-saving tips improve your travel experience.
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