Best Southwest Boarding Pass Position

Southwest Airlines is a bit unorthodox in that there’s no assigned seating. Upon check-in, you get a letter and number on your boarding pass which corresponds to the order for which you board the plane. Once on board you can pick any seat you want.

The order is A1-60, B1-60, and C1-60.


Now, they always say the earlier you check-in, the better the boarding pass number. I find this generally true, I’ll usually get a A, with a high number if I check-in online about 24 hours before the flight. A few hours after usually I get a B boarding pass.

Sometimes though, if I check-in a bit later I’ll get an A boarding pass with a low number. For example, I checked into a flight around 11pm for a 945am flight and got A16…which is actually the first boarding pass you can get since A1-15 reserved for business tickets.

How did I get this number? I have no idea except that it seems random. One time a few months ago I did the same, check-in only a few hours before my flight and got something around A16 as well.

My theory? After all the other boarding pass numbers were given away so they give you the better ones that they usually ask you to buy? I really have no idea but I know it’s not 100% true if you check in exactly 24 hours before your flight that you’ll get the best boarding position.

Next time I’m going to try checking in kinda late again online and see if I get a better boarding position. Generally I would suggest checking in 24 hrs or as close as possible to that. But if a bunch of time has already passed, you might want to roll the dice and wait later to check in and try to secure a better boarding position.

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