There are no assigned seats on Southwest-operated aircraft, as the airline supports the open-seating system. Simply take any seat that is available once you board the aircraft, then place your carry-on luggage in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. Let’s understand how the Southwest seat selection works.
What are the seating options available with Southwest Airlines?
Southwest Airlines seating offers three types of seating options:
- Business Select: This is Southwest’s premium class of seating, which offers passengers priority boarding, extra legroom, and a complimentary premium drink and snack onboard. Business Select passengers also receive additional Rapid Rewards points and have the flexibility to change their flight without paying any fees.
- Anytime: Anytime is Southwest’s middle-tier seating option, which offers passengers the flexibility to change their flight without paying any fees, and priority boarding. While there is no extra legroom, passengers are allowed to choose their preferred seat.
- Wanna Get Away: This is Southwest’s lowest-priced seating option, which offers passengers a lower fare in exchange for fewer amenities. Passengers are assigned a seat at the time of Southwest flight check-in and are allowed to bring one personal item and one carry-on bag. They do not receive any other perks such as priority boarding or the ability to change their flight without paying fees.
What is the seating map with Southwest Airlines?
Southwest Airlines solely operates Boeing 737 aircraft. Southwest currently operates three different 737 models: the Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-800, and Boeing 737 MAX 8. The Boeing 737 MAX 7 will replace some of the more dated 737-700 aircraft in the future years as the fourth type of aircraft.
- Boeing 737-700 – 60% of Southwest Airlines’ fleet consists of the 143-seater Boeing 737-700. Each seat is 17 inches wide and 31 inches tall.
- Boeing 737-800 – The 175 seats on the slightly bigger Boeing 737-800 have a 17-inch width and a 32 to 33-inch pitch.
- Boeing 737 MAX 8 – The newest aircraft to join Southwest’s fleet is the Boeing 737 MAX 8 model. There are 175 seats on each plane, each measuring 17.8 inches wide and 32 to 33 inches tall.
How can I select the best seats on board Southwest Airlines?
The information in this guide was gathered from a variety of Southwest Airlines flights. Remember that even if you have an A1 boarding position on Southwest Airlines, a specific seat is never guaranteed because of the Southwest open seating policy.
Here are some recommendations under Southwest seat selection policy –
The Ideal seating for passengers traveling with small children
Select the seats at the back of the plane if you are traveling with children on Southwest. You should do this for a number of reasons.
- You’ll probably be able to find seats next to each other in the back of the aircraft where there are the most vacant seats.
- You can make use of family boarding if you are traveling with children aged six and younger.
- You’ll be close to the restrooms and flight attendants if you sit in one of the very last rows. The last rows are ideal for passengers who availed Southwest unaccompanied minor policy.
The Ideal seating for passengers who seek more legroom
If a passenger is looking for more legroom, they can choose to sit in the exit row, which generally provides more space for legroom.
- However, there are certain requirements that passengers must meet in order to sit in the exit row, such as being at least 15 years old, able-bodied, and able to assist in an emergency.
- Passengers can also choose to sit in the first few rows of the plane, as these seats typically have more legroom than seats toward the back of the plane.
- These seats are also usually available for an additional fee through Southwest’s “Upgraded Boarding” option.
The Ideal seating for passengers if traveling with a large group
When traveling with a larger group on Southwest Airlines, the ideal seating arrangement will depend on a few factors such as the size of the group, the purpose of the trip, and personal preferences. However, here are a few Southwest plane seating options that can work well for different group sizes:
- Groups of 2-3 -In this case, you may prefer to sit together in a row of three seats. As per the Southwest seat selection process, the aircraft has three seats on either side of the aisle, so you can choose to sit in the same row or across the aisle from each other.
- Groups of 4-5 – For slightly larger groups, you may want to consider sitting in two rows next to each other. You can choose to sit in a row of three seats and a row of two seats, or two rows of two seats each, depending on your preference.
- Groups of 6-7 – For larger groups, Southwest’s planes have a few rows of seats at the back of the plane that are arranged in groups of three. These can be a good option if you want to all sit together in one area of the plane.
- Groups of 8 or more – If you’re traveling with a very large group, you may want to consider booking EarlyBird Check-In for everyone in the group to increase your chances of getting seats together. You could also try to board the plane early as a group to ensure you can all sit together. Consider requesting a bulkhead row or upgrading to Business Select or EarlyBird Priority to have more seating options.
The Ideal seating for passengers if you have a quick connection
Here are some Southwest plane seating options to consider:
- Aisle Seat – If you’re in a rush, an aisle seat can be the best option for a quick exit from the plane. You’ll be able to quickly get up and move towards the front of the aircraft without waiting for others to stand up and gather their belongings.
- Front of the plane – Try to select a seat towards the front of the plane as it can save you some precious time as you won’t have to walk as far to get off the plane.
- Overwing Exit Row – These seats are ideal as they provide you with ample legroom and are usually located near the front of the plane, allowing for a quick exit.
- EarlyBird Check-In – If you want to guarantee a good seat, consider purchasing EarlyBird Check-In, which allows you to check in before general boarding and gives you priority boarding. This way, you’ll have a better chance of getting a preferred seat and a quick exit.
The ideal seating for passengers if you need empty seats next to you
There are a few strategies you can try to request Southwest seat assignment as per your needs –
- Book a flight during less busy times
- Choose a seat at the back of the plane
- Choose a middle seat
- Check-in early
The ideal seating for passengers if you want to recline
Under the Southwest seating policy, the following rows of the aircraft may recline only partially or not at all:
- Boeing 737-700: Rows 10, 11, and 24
- Boeing 737-800: Rows 13, 14, 15, and 30
- Boeing 737 MAX 8: Rows 13, 14, 15, and 30
What are the passenger seat dimensions (width/pitch, etc.) on Southwest aircraft?
The table below summarizes essential seat specifications for each Boeing 737 model that we fly, including passenger capacity, average pitch, and seat width.
Southwest Airlines’ aircraft has a single aisle and a single cabin with three seats on each side. The first row of seats on each side is bulkhead seating.
|Aircraft||Widest Seat Width||Average Seat Pitch*||Movable Aisle Armrests||Passenger Capacity||Lavatories||Narrowest Seat Width|
|Boeing 737-700||17.0”||31”||All rows||143||One forward and one rear||15.5”|
|Boeing 737-800 Boeing 737-MAX 8||17.8”||32”||All rows except bulkhead (front)||175||One forward and two rear||15.5”|
The distance from any place on a seat to the same position on the seat next to it, as specified by our aircraft manufacturer, is used to calculate seat pitch.
How to select the seats on Southwest Airlines?
Southwest Airlines has an open seating policy, which means that you do not select a specific seat when you purchase your ticket. Instead, you will be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a boarding position (1-60) when you check in for your flight.
The boarding process for Southwest seat assignment is as follows:
- When you arrive at the gate, you will line up according to your boarding group (A, B, or C) and boarding position (1-60).
- Boarding will begin with the A group, starting with position 1 and moving sequentially to position 60. Once all A positions have boarded, the B group will board in the same way, followed by the C group.
- You can choose any available seat on the plane once you board. There are no assigned seats, so you can sit wherever you like.
To increase your chances of getting a good seat, you should check in as early as possible. Southwest Airlines seating allows online check-in up to 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time. The earlier you check-in, the better your boarding position will be, which will give you a better chance of getting the seat you want.
Is there a fee to request seat selection with Southwest airlines?
Southwest Airlines generally does not charge a fee for seat selection. Passengers are able to select their seat for free at the time of booking or during the check-in process, which typically opens 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.
Contact Southwest Via social media
To contact Southwest Airlines via social media, you can follow these steps:
- Twitter: Send a tweet to Southwest Airlines’ official Twitter handle, which is @SouthwestAir. You can also send a direct message (DM) to them if you’re following each other.
- Facebook: Go to Southwest Airlines’ official Facebook page and send them a message. You can also post on their page, and they will typically respond to comments and messages within a few hours.
- Instagram: Send a direct message to Southwest Airlines’ official Instagram account, which is @southwestair. They typically respond within a few hours.
When contacting Southwest Airlines via social media, make sure to include your confirmation number or any other relevant information about your flight or reservation. This will help them assist you more quickly and efficiently.
In conclusion, Southwest Airlines offers a unique and customer-friendly approach to seat selection. With Southwest seat selection policy, passengers have the flexibility to choose their own seats and can even upgrade to priority boarding for an additional fee. This system encourages passengers to board quickly and efficiently, while also allowing families and groups to sit together without paying extra fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Passengers board the plane in numerical order within their boarding group, and can choose any available seat on a first-come, first-served basis.
It follows a unique boarding process called “open seating” or “open boarding.” This means that passengers are free to choose their seats on a first-come, first-served basis
No. Passengers are assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and a number within that group (1-60) based on when they check in for their flight. This means that if you want to sit next to someone, you should board together and try to get in the same boarding group and number range.
Southwest Airlines does not assign seats because it follows a unique boarding process called “open seating” or “open boarding.” This means that passengers are free to choose their seats on a first-come, first-served basis when they board the plane.
Passengers line up according to their boarding group and number, and they can choose any available seat on the plane.
First, it allows for faster boarding times since there is no need to wait for passengers to find their assigned seats. This can help reduce turnaround times between flights and ultimately allow Southwest to operate more efficiently.
If you selected a specific seat during the booking process, your seat assignment will be displayed on your confirmation page and in your confirmation email.
Yes. Passengers can choose any available seat on the aircraft during their boarding group’s turn.
The reason for open seating is that it helps Southwest maintain a faster turnaround time between flights.