I flew Southwest come Havana recently, i m sorry is the very first timein five years that ns flew Southwest.

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The reason I don’t fly them has to do through me valuing timeless loyalty programs and a an international route network, quite than any issue I have actually with the airline as such. Southwest is (for the many part) extremely well run, and really the many full service airline in the U.S., as they don’t fee for confirm bags and also allow cost-free ticket changes. Furthermore, their flight attendants know how to hustle, and also could teach the crews at some other carriers a cheat or two.

But the part of the Southwest endure I discovered the most amazing was the boarding process. Civilization have long teased Southwest for your “cattle call” boarding, and also this was the very first time I’ve flown Southwest and paid fist to the process… and also I favored it a lot more than i was expecting… in part ways. It’s very facility if girlfriend haven’t competent it prior to (as mine dad can attest), so let me define how Southwest’s boarding works.

How is boarding order figured out on Southwest?

On Southwest passenger are broken up intothree teams — A, B, and C — and each passenger is offered a number in that range, generally from 1 come 60.

The airplane is boarded in order of your priority, meaning that A1 board first, and also C60 boards critical (assuming there space passengers v those numbers). Therefore while various other airlines have zones, Southwest literally has precise order in which people board.

So very first Southwest lines up the world with “A” boarding passes, and you was standing in groups of five.


30 human being from each zone was standing on the left, and 30 top top the right, and then the monitors readjust when theyare ready to board the next group.


While many human being care about boarding priority in basic to ensure they can obtain their bags in the overhead bins, it’s particularly important ~ above Southwest, offered that they have open seating, so it likewise determines wherein you sit.

How have the right to you secure early boarding on Southwest?

Assuming friend don’t desire to pay extra for priority boarding, your finest bet is come check-in online exactly 24 hours out. If you perform so, you’ll nearly always acquire an “A” boarding pass, which means you’ll be among the first third (or so) of civilization to board. That have to be an ext than enough to secure you a decent seat.

However, over there are choices to get even far better boarding positionsthan that:

If you acquisition a BusinessSelect Fare, you’ll be guarantee a seat in the A1-A15 rangeA-List members immediately get a boarding place right behind BusinessSelect customersYou have the right to pay for EarlyBird Check-In, whereSouthwest will instantly check you in 36 hours before departure, definition you’ll typically have a great boarding priority; however, this doesn’t insurance a details boarding number, and the priority still come behind A-List membersWhile no a paid option, family members get to plank after the A group and before the B group

How chaotic was Southwest boarding?

As I said above, Southwest has historically been well-known for your “cattle call” boarding. However I’m not sure that’s entirely fair, provided that this is what the door looks favor for many American flights ns take nowadays:


So ns was shocked to uncover how orderly the Southwest boarding process was. Admittedly this is a tiny sample size, but only about a third of the plane got up once boarding to be initially dubbed (those in the A group), everyone seemed to understand what to be going on, etc.

The process was extremely civilized. People lined up in their “areas,” and could quite easily tell that belonged where. In ~ most world seemed to ask one or two various other people about their place — “I’m A32, what room you?”


I assumed it was significantly an ext civilized than the pushing and shoving and also crowding I’m supplied to on various other airlines. Therefore I actually love the procedure Southwest has actually for letting civilization on the plane.

What ns don’t love, however, is the Southwest policy of not assigning seats. I obtain the idea, but in practice I uncovered it to be chaos top top both of my flights. Admittedly these were flights to and also from Havana which is probably a various experience 보다 usual, yet it to be chaos in both directions.


People to be reserving entire rows, the crew specifically announced that world couldn’t make reservation seats, but of course that didn’t stop people from acquisition it upon themselves to do so. Then towards the end of boarding everyone would certainly walk to the ago of the airplane thinking they’d obtain an aisle or home window there, only to end up coming ago to the former of the plane and getting a middle seat.

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Bottom line

Perhaps this flight was one exceptionbut I uncovered the process of boarding my Southwest trip to it is in significantly much more civilized than what I’m provided to onother airlines. I’m just not a fan of the open up seating policy, as it encourages human being to reserve seats, spread out out in means they wouldn’t otherwise in hopes of gaining an north middle, etc. But that’s simply me, and with the best Southwest credit transaction card you can at the very least ensure the you’re boarding earlier.

What execute you make of Southwest’s boarding process? was my experience typical for Southwest?