Hi there!

 

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.

 

southwest mobile check in online to get the best seat flying southwest. how to get a good seat on southwest. Tips for flying southwest airlines. open seating how does it work. domestic flights in US, best budget airlines. US travel blog

 

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!

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. southwest flight open seating window seat selection. US travel blog

 

 

So now…

Here are some tips when you’re flying Southwest Airlines for the first time!

How does Southwest open seating work?

Tips for flying southwest airlines. open seating how does it work. how much are southwest airlines baggage fees. domestic flights in US, best budget airlines. US travel blog

 

 

You get FREE checked bags on Southwest, even if you buy the cheapest tickets

There are some airlines in the US that will charge you even to bring a carry-on bag on the plane with you. (Hey United and Spirit – check the baggage policies to confirm.)

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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. how much are southwest airlines baggage fees. free checked luggage or carry-on. US travel blog

 

 

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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. Southwest check-in online to get mobile boarding pass for flight. US travel blog
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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. check-in baggage counter at airport. how much are southwest airlines baggage fees. free checked luggage or carry-on. US travel blog

 

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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. check departure gate at airport. US travel blog

 

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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. open seating - how does it work? boarding priority group for southwest flight. US travel blog

 

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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. boarding pass for boarding priority group for southwest flight. US travel blog
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.

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. open seating - how does it work? boarding priority group for southwest flight. US travel blog

Tips for flying southwest airlines. open seating - how does it work? boarding priority group for southwest flight. US travel blog

 

 

And then…

Board the flight!

Tips for flying southwest airlines. boarding priority on Southwest flight. US travel blog

Tips for flying southwest airlines. boarding priority on Southwest flight. US travel blog

Tips for flying southwest airlines. boarding priority on Southwest flight. US travel blog

Tips for flying southwest airlines. boarding priority on Southwest flight. US travel blog

 

 

Enjoy your Southwest flight!!

Tips for flying southwest airlines. southwest flight open seating window seat selection. US travel blog

Tips for flying southwest airlines. southwest flight open seating window seat selection. US travel blog

 

 

You get free snacks

Tips for flying southwest airlines. free food, snacks, drinks on Southwest flight. US travel blog

Tips for flying southwest airlines. free food, snacks, drinks on Southwest flight. US travel blog
It’s about the little things.

 

 

P.S.

Southwest Airlines is flying TO Hawaii and WITHIN Hawaii!

Tips for flying southwest airlines. southwest flight open seating window seat selection. US travel blog

 

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!

 

Southwest also flies between the different Hawaiian islands – Oahu (Honolulu HNL), Maui (Kahului OGG), Kauai (Lihue LIH), and the Big Island (Kona KOA and Hilo ITO).

 

If you’re headed to a beach destination, be sure to also see these packing tips:

 

HAPPY FLYING SOUTHWEST AIRLINES!

 

Tips for flying southwest airlines. open seating how does it work. how much are southwest airlines baggage fees. domestic flights in US, best budget airlines. US travel blog

 

 

There are affiliate links on this page. Among other partners, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

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 phone
You 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.

PLUS...

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.

ALOHA!