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Southwest Boarding Group/Check-In Questions

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#1
Our upcoming flights to Orlando will be over February break (when a lot of families will be traveling and flights will be full), and will be on Southwest. We've only flown on Southwest once before, and it was years ago, when EarlyBird was a new product, Smartphones didn't exist, and checking in right at the 24-hour mark on your big desktop computer using dial-up service through your screechy modem was all you needed to guarantee a good boarding position. I know times have really changed since then!

We have purchased EarlyBird for our return flight, but not for our outbound flight (nor will we be doing so). I'll be checking in for that on the dot of 24-hours-out. I just had a few questions for those who fly Southwest more frequently:

1 - Which is faster for checking in -- the app or the computer -- or are they the same number of clicks either way?

2 - We are in a group of 5, flying a 737-700 (143 seats). Assuming that when I check in at the 24-hour mark we're able to get mid-B group or better boarding positions, and assuming we split up our group of 5 (2 people and 3 people), do you think we'll be able to find sets of 2 or 3 seats together? Our flight will be originating at our airport (so there won't be passengers onboard already). However, we still won't likely be getting on until after the disabled, the A boarding group (<60 people), uniformed military, etc. and those entitled to family boarding (I imagine that many of those going to Orlando over a school break will have a child -- or several -- 6 or under) get onboard. We'll be traveling with two children (over 6, but requiring supervision) and an elderly aunt (hard of hearing, enough that one of us really needs to sit with her, even though she is not disabled in a manner that would require early boarding), and I want to make sure that neither she nor the kids end up sitting by themselves. Am I being silly to worry about that?

(More to the point, if you've flown Southwest recently sans EarlyBird, what was your boarding position if you checked in at 24 hours, and/or what was the seating situation when you boarded?) If worse comes to worst and we get on and all the remaining sets of 2/3 seats are being "saved" by others, are we entitled to just plop down in them anyway, politely citing Southwest's "open boarding" policy? Or is that a breach of some rule, written or unwritten? (Southwest doesn't make it easy, simultaneously saying on its website that it has "no policy for or against seat-saving," but in the same breath saying you are entitled to sit in "any unoccupied seat" when you board.)
 
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Darstarr

Active Member
#2
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We fly Southwest all the time. As for the phone app vs computer, I always prefer the computer because my big thumbs wont get in the way.
Dont stress out about seating. I dont know where you are flying from but most people are nice about letting you sit with your kids. My kids are older now, but we never had a problem. Sometimes you can still snag an entire row with a boarding location in the early C’s.
Good luck! I will be down there in February as well. Flying Southwest.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#3
We fly Southwest all the time. As for the phone app vs computer, I always prefer the computer because my big thumbs wont get in the way.
Dont stress out about seating. I dont know where you are flying from but most people are nice about letting you sit with your kids. My kids are older now, but we never had a problem. Sometimes you can still snag an entire row with a boarding location in the early C’s.
Good luck! I will be down there in February as well. Flying Southwest.
Thank you! That makes me feel much better. :)
 

WWWD

Well-Known Member
#4
If you check in at the 24 hour mark, you’ll be fine. Flying SW several times over the years with a family of 5 and we never got lower than mid “B” when checking in at the 24 hour mark. Remember with SW, “A” group means you can sit Anywhere, “B” group means Back of the plane, and “C” group means you’ll be stuck in the Center seat.😀
 
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Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#8
A joke, but yet remarkably accurate.
I figured it wasn't meant to be taken literally, but as a clever guide to where you're likely to end up based on boarding group letter. Like how my Dad used to tell people with a straight face, after some bad experiences with Delta airlines, that the name stood for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport. ;) (I thought for years that he made it up himself, until the internet was born and I realized how prevalent that Delta acronym joke was...)
 
#9
Sometimes, you'll encounter the dreaded SW early-bird workaround, whereby one person in the group buys early bird, boards and proceeds to save seats for the rest of his/her party. SW doesn't really enforce it, but saving seats isn't something permitted on SW. Also, wheel chair parties board first, then A list, then early bird, then A, family boarding, B,C.
 

WWWD

Well-Known Member
#11
I figured it wasn't meant to be taken literally, but as a clever guide to where you're likely to end up based on boarding group letter. Like how my Dad used to tell people with a straight face, after some bad experiences with Delta airlines, that the name stood for Doesn't Ever Leave The Airport. ;) (I thought for years that he made it up himself, until the internet was born and I realized how prevalent that Delta acronym joke was...)
We were on a Disney cruise a few years ago and the comedian made a Delta joke during the all ages show that the kids still repeat today. He said Delta stands for “don’t expect luggage to arrive.”

During one trip to WDW, we actually had no luggage for close to two days and the airline had no idea where it was until it showed up in our hotel room - better than Christmas feeling. We now all have carryons so at least we can “survive.”
 
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