Picking the best seat on a Southwest flight can be a daunting task, especially for travelers who are unfamiliar with the airline's policies and procedures. Fortunately, there are several hacks and strategies that you can use to increase your chances of getting the seat that you want. Let's explore some of the best hacks for picking the best seats on a Southwest flight.
Check in early:
Southwest operates on a first-come, first-served basis when it comes to seat assignments, so it's important to check in as early as possible. You can check in online starting 24 hours before your flight, and you'll be able to choose your seat at that time. If you're hoping to get a particular seat, it's a good idea to check in as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting it.
Consider purchasing early bird check-in:
Southwest offers a service called "early bird check-in," which allows you to automatically check in and choose your seat 36 hours before your flight. This service costs $15-25 per one-way flight, depending on the route, and it can be a good option if you're particularly picky about your seat or if you're traveling during a busy period.
Use the Southwest seat map:
Southwest's website has a seat map that shows you which seats are available on your flight. You can use this map to see which seats are still available and choose the one that you want. Keep in mind that the seat map is only updated periodically, so it's possible that a seat that appears to be available may have been taken by the time you check in.
Choose your seat based on your needs:
Different seats on a Southwest plane offer different benefits and drawbacks. For example, seats at the front of the plane are usually the first to board, but they also tend to be noisier due to the proximity to the engines. Similarly, seats in the back of the plane are often more peaceful, but they're also the last to board. Consider your personal needs and preferences when choosing your seat. If you're tall, for example, you might want to choose an aisle seat with extra legroom. If you're traveling with young children, you might want to choose seats near the restrooms or the galley for easy access.
Check for open seats at the gate:
If you didn't get the seat that you wanted when you checked in online, you might still have a chance to snag a better seat at the gate. Southwest often releases additional seats just before the flight, and you can ask the gate agent if any of these seats are available. Keep in mind that you're more likely to get a good seat this way if you're willing to be flexible about your seat assignment.
Consider purchasing a Business Select fare:
Southwest's Business Select fare includes a number of perks, including priority boarding and a free drink. It also allows you to choose any seat on the plane, including the coveted "A" boarding group seats. While Business Select fares are more expensive than standard fares, they can be a good option if you're willing to splurge for a more comfortable and convenient travel experience.
Join Southwest's Rapid Rewards program:
Southwest's loyalty program, Rapid Rewards, offers a number of benefits to its members, including the ability to earn points for flights and access to exclusive deals and promotions. One of the biggest perks of Rapid Rewards is the ability to earn tier status, which gives you access to more favorable boarding positions. Members with A-List and A-List Preferred status, for example, get to board before everyone else, which can increase your chances of getting a good seat.
In conclusion, there are several hacks and strategies that you can use to increase your chances of getting the best seat on a Southwest flight. By checking in early, considering purchasing early bird check-in, using the seat map, choosing a seat based on your needs, checking for open seats at the gate, and considering a Business Select fare, you can increase your chances of getting the seat that you want. Additionally, joining Southwest's Rapid Rewards program can give you access to more favorable boarding positions and increase your chances of getting a good seat. By following these tips, you can have a more comfortable and enjoyable travel experience on Southwest.