Tips For Flying Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has recently been my airline of choice. The fares have been good and they have been flying to where I am going. There’s one thing I’ve noticed and it’s the fact that many ticket holders do not understand how Southwest Airlines works.

Southwest plane

#1:You Choose Your Own Seat

When you board the plane, you choose your seat. While boarding a couple weeks ago, a passenger argued over where she should sit for quite some time. It held everyone else up from choosing their seat and it also caused a delayed departure. It’s a simple process. Board the plane, find a seat and buckle up. On a recent flight I had the opportunity to travel with my sister, now that makes for an even sweeter experience!

Southwest plane seats

#2: You Can Check Up To Two Bags For Free

There are no fees when you fly with Southwest Airlines when it comes to checking two bag(s). Have a carry on that borders on size? This is the ideal time to check a bag. You don’t want to be “that” one person who is trying to cram a borderline carry on into the overhead compartment, do you?

#3: No Change Fees

Need to change your flight? You can rebook for free, when you fly Southwest Airlines. If the destination fare is more, you will have to pay that amount; but you will not be charged to make the change.

#4: Simple Boarding Process

Your boarding pass will say something like A35. This means that you will line up in the “A” line in the number 35 position. For a small fee, you can board A1-15, which means you will be one of the first 15 people to board the plane. I usually check in 24 hours before my flight departs and am seated in the second 1/2 of the A section or the first 1/2 of the B section. It’s also important to pay attention to the signs that say A, B & C. I have seen people try to board in the A section, when their tickets said C, which in turn holds the line up. The later you check in online, the later you will board the plane. You will have a seat on the plane, but your choice of seating will be limited.

I love flying Southwest Airlines and once I “got” their system, it’s been fun to watch. It works. When flyers understand how to board, the process is a smooth one. So, the lesson here. If you are flying Southwest Airlines, pay attention to what group you are boarding in and choose your seat. Most importantly, remember to pack your patience before you even zip up your suitcase and head out to the airport. Have you flown Southwest Airlines? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.



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A traveler at heart with a passion for travel in the Midwest. SaraB

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16 thoughts on “Tips For Flying Southwest Airlines

  1. Southwest Airlines is the only airline I will fly! I love their customer service and good prices…. in fact, I have 3 round-trip flights on Southwest already booked for the next 4 months! I am so glad they are expanding their market! 🙂

  2. I’ve never flown Southwest. They must not go on my normal routes. But, I really appreciate this info…I would definitely have been one to hold up the line, lol!

  3. Glad you solved the problem. I don’t know of many kids that would want to sit between two strangers.

  4. I had not flown Southwest in at least 15 years, so when I flew with them in January, it was a different experience. Still mostly positive, except if you want to sit next to someone, you have to be in an early group. My five year old didn’t fancy sitting in the middle seat between strangers. Thankfully, after an awkwardly looong pause, a very tall gentleman offered to switch seats for our sake. On the flight home I took advantage of the offer to preboard families with young children. Lesson learned!

  5. I love airlines that don’t have change fees. I flew with Sri Lankan Airlines a couple of times and they too allow free changes if the same fare class is available.

  6. I met a lot of people the past week that had not flown in the past fifteen years, while waiting in line to board Southwest Airlines. We just assume that everyone knows, and in all reality, they do not.

  7. Great information! It’s easy to forget that not everyone knows these steps to flying Southwest. Your tips will definitely help people who are not used to this process.

  8. It’s a great airline, once you learn how it works! Good luck in the baseball tournament and happy travels.

  9. I just booked flights for my husband and son on Southwest to meet us in Yosemite this summer since a baseball tourney was scheduled for after we leave on our long road trip. A direct flight from Columbus to Oakland, CA was only $200! And I love that baggage is free. I will pass this post along to them so they are aware of how boarding on SW works. Thanks for the tips!

  10. I’ve never flown Southwest, but would be more apt to look into since you shared these tips! I always had a bad impression of them! Thanks for sharing!!

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