Southwest Airlines is a little different from the rest of the major airlines in the US, as well as other budget airlines in the US.
It’s nothing to be considered a reason not to fly with them (I don’t think so anyway), but just things to be aware of!
Most importantly – so you will be happy with your seat during the flight.
And to give yourself the best chance at having the seat you want.
So below, basically this will include…
How to get a good seat on Southwest!
Like a window seat if you’re flying to a scenic destination!
Here are some tips when you’re flying Southwest Airlines for the first time!
How does Southwest open seating work?
You get FREE checked bags on Southwest, even if you buy the cheapest tickets
With Southwest, even if you buy the cheapest tickets available, 2 bags are included for free with your ticket. Check current policies before you fly.
But if you do prefer to bring along a carry-on suitcase so you don’t have to bother with baggage claim, you can do that too.
Southwest has open seating
What does THAT mean?!
It means there are no assigned seats.
It means seating is first-come, first-serve.
It means that the sooner you get on the plane, the more of a choice you have for getting the seat you want! (And for a better chance of being able to sit with those you’re traveling with!)
Naturally, aisle seats and window seats get filled up the quickest.
That could possibly leave you with one of those unwanted middle seats.
But, there’s a way to give yourself a better chance to get your seat of choice!
Order of boarding is determined by the order of check-in
So then naturally, it means you want to check in as soon as it’s possible!
And that’s 24 hours prior to your flight.
If you have 2 Southwest flights that are on the same flight itinerary, you’ll be able to check in for both at the same time.
This means that some people are able to secure that boarding order more than 24 hours in advance.
Because of that…
Set your alarm clock for 24 hours prior to your flight for online check-in!
You don’t want to risk forgetting until the time you leave for the airport!
By then there’s probably a good chance you’re going to end up boarding close to last.
Have your confirmation number handy
You don’t need to download an app, you can just google “southwest check-in” and it’ll come up.
So this means that you can also easily do it from a desktop too.
The information you need for a quick online check-in!
You can find your confirmation number in the confirmation e-mail for when you booked your flight.
Checking in your bags at the airport
If you want to check in your bags, you can go to the Southwest counter to check those bags in.
Different airports may have slightly different procedures but it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out.
You can also get a printed boarding pass at the counter if you didn’t go for the mobile boarding pass option when you checked in online.
What to do at the boarding gate
So after you’ve gone through security check, you can check the departure flight screens to confirms what gate your flight is at.
Then once you are at the gate, you’ll basically just wait until the gate agents announce that it’s time to board. There will be an estimated boarding time listed on your boarding pass.
So when you look at your boarding pass, you will also see that there is no seat number.
Instead, there’s a boarding group letter.
So once it’s time to line up, you’ll be called by group.
Boarding group B.
And then basically…
When your group is called, you line up in order!
Also on your boarding pass, along with the group letter, is the boarding number or “position.”
You’re supposed to also line up in the order of number, not just be in the section.
Once you’re in the group of numbers where you’re supposed to be, you can ask the people around what number they are so you can better know who to be ahead of and behind.
Board the flight!
Enjoy your Southwest flight!!
You get free snacks
It’s about the little things.
Southwest Airlines is flying TO Hawaii and WITHIN Hawaii!
In 2019, Southwest started offering flights to Hawaii.
Among the first Southwest flights to Hawaii are from California.
But even if you don’t live in California, it could turn out that the cheapest flight available includes a connecting flight through California.
If there’s a Southwest hub at your home airport, see how much Southwest flights to Hawaii are for you!
And with more competition on flights, it can make for a cheaper flight with other airlines too. So be sure to check the cost of other flights to Hawaii too!
If you’re headed to a beach destination, be sure to also see these packing tips:
- Top things to pack for Hawaii
- The perfect shirt for swimming
- A cheapo waterproof phone case that works
- Do you need water shoes?
- The sunscreen ingredients to avoid for a snorkeling destination
- Top things to pack for a snorkeling trip
HAPPY FLYING SOUTHWEST AIRLINES!
Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
For a Hawaii experience you are sure to remember, get out on the open water to sail the ocean!Look for the reviews!
- OAHU: Take a look at a morning sailing trip like this one that includes snorkeling and sailing with the iconic Waikiki skyline as your backdrop. (It comes with a good chance that you'll be swimming with turtles!)
- MAUI: Take a look at a catamaran cruise like this one from West Maui to the coast of Lanai that can include snorkeling, seeing the West Maui Mountains and Lanai cliffs from the boat, and maybe even seeing some turtles and dolphins!
- BIG ISLAND: Take a look at a catamaran cruise like this one off the Kona coast for the chance to swim with manta rays at night. (One of THE most popular types of tours in Kona!) Or for a daytime boat ride, take a look at a sailing trip like this one off the Kona coast to go snorkeling at one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island.
- KAUAI: Take a look at a catamaran sunset sailing trip like this one along the famous Na Pali coast.