Travel Tips

My First Experience with Southwest Airlines

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Advertising Disclosure: The following review is my own opinion entirely. I was not sponsored, paid, or given any incentive to make this review. This post contains affiliate links, which if you click on them, give me a small commission at no cost to you. 

Prior to this flight, I had never flown with Southwest Airlines. My hesitation has always been my lack of understanding the unassigned seats. People are at their worst when flying and the sheer thought of fighting for seats with my family sounded horrible. However, based on the price and flight times, Southwest looked really desirable for this trip, so a I popped a Xanax and booked it!

Boarding Process

As previously stated, Southwest Airlines does not assign seats. Instead, they assign a boarding group and number to each ticket holder (even children); for example, you may be assigned B10 (boarding group B/10th in line). This assignment is provided when you complete your 24 hour check-in.

Group A is the first to board and then ticket holders 1-60 get on the plane. After group A is on the plane, then Southwest calls families traveling together. If you are a family with children and didn’t board in group A, this is your chance to board. At this time, you have plenty of seats available to ensure your family is all together. No sweat!! After families are on, they call B1-60 and then C1-60.

*An exception to the boarding process. On our return flight, they took our tickets and boarded us in the exact same way as mentioned above. But then, they had us board a bus to shuttle us down to the airplane. We could have walked to the plane and kept our boarding order, but, we didn’t know. If this happens to you, be sure to ASK if you can walk instead of wait on a bus.

Early-Bird Check-In

Not knowing that families would board after group A, we purchased the Early-Bird Check-In. This cost us $15 per ticket. For this price, Southwest will automatically check you in 36 hours prior to the flight. No extra effort on your part is needed. You will get an email with your ticket and boarding assignment. Since you are checked in prior to everyone else, this is your best chance to get a earlier boarding group. However, this really depends on how many people signed up to Early-Bird prior to you. We signed up 3 weeks prior and were at the beginning of group B – not bad. If not traveling with kids, this check-in would be an anxiety reducing move!

Airplane and Crew

Southwest’s airplane was clean and comfortable. The seats were leather and we had plenty of leg room and under seat storage. The plane did not have any TVs in the head rest, but was equipped with onboard Wi-Fi!  We had downloaded a movie from Netflix for SP to watch – but Wi-Fi gave us the added flexibility to watch other stuff if necessary.

The flight crew was very pleasant and efficient. The drinks were flowing like water on our flight and they kept up with the demand with a smile on their face. I’d love to sip a glass of champagne on a flight, but my anxiety just gets the best of me and I am much better off sipping 7Up. We were given two snacks – peanuts and wheat thins.

Would I fly Southwest again? Absolutely, I am looking forward to it 🙂

Happy Travels!!

Have you ever wondered about Southwest Airline's boarding process? Read more!

Check out more on Travel Plus Family:

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15 Comments

  1. I flew with them over ten years ago, and I remember a similar boarding system. I really enjoyed my flights and would fly with them again. I’ve really only flown once since then, and it was last year to NYC. I didn’t choose the airline, since I went with a group of teachers and students. It was Delta, and it was fine. I liked Southwest a little more, though.

  2. interesting. i was wondering how that worked for families. its not like they are going to let a minor sit by themselves! My parents fly SW alot and they always set their alarm at when they can go and check in so they get group A!

  3. I love Southwest and use it all the time! Sometimes I pay for the upgrade to board first, but usually just make sure I check in right at 24 hours, and I usually get a great seat!

  4. That’s wonderful that you had a good experience with them. I’ve never flown Southwest, I don’t think but I have seen TLC’s show Airline a number of times. Definitely a turn-off. So, it’s good to hear a positive experience from them. 🙂

  5. I love flying with Southwest, after Delta they are my favorite airlines. I hate that they are considered a budget airline because most of them get a bad rep. But, Southwest is amazing. Two free bags, choose your own seat and they have free snacks – whats not to love!

  6. I absolutely love SW. I really wish they flew more places, especially near me. My favorite thing, which is so dumb, is that their agents wear casual clothes! I think the days of formal wear for airport employees are long gone. I also love the self seating. It goes so much faster. I just wish they had power outlets in the seats!

  7. Glad you enjoyed it! Southwest is our primary airline, and we love it! Another note, once you get A List status, you can also board between A and B groups with the family regardless of your boarding pass spot. They also do a companion pass which we’ve been able to get for 2 years in a row. It lets me fly free every time I’m traveling with my husband.

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