Can I Pick My Seat On Southwest?

A flight's boarding process can be highly hectic. Thus, a lot of individuals are interested in learning how to secure a better seat. If you intend to travel by Southwest Airlines, you might be curious about its seating procedure. Want to know if this airline allows you to select your seat? Well, we've researched this matter thoroughly to give you the response you require.

There are no assigned seats on Southwest-operated aircraft. 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.

In this article, we'll learn in greater depth about the Southwest Airlines seating system. Also, we show you the plane's configurations to see a better seat in advance and more. So keep on reading.

Airlines takes off from McCarran in Las Vegas, NV, Can I Pick My Seat On Southwest?

Boarding At Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines begins the boarding procedure roughly 30 minutes prior to takeoff, just like many other airlines. However, the similarities mostly end there due to Southwest's unique boarding procedure, which sets them apart from other airlines. 

Because of the airline's open seating philosophy, you can essentially sit wherever you want: in the front, all the way back, or in the center. Even in the very front of the plane, there are no assigned seats. First come, first seated applies.

Southwest Airlines divides its passengers into three categories: A, B, and C. Each group's members are given a number between 1 and 60. You will board first if you are in the A group and have number 1, and C60 will board last. 

Your group and number, which will appear on your boarding pass, are both provided at check-in. You'll see numbered posts at the gate of your aircraft directing you to the appropriate place in line. When your group is called, take a position in the boarding line by number.

A-List members, Rapid Rewards A-List Preferred members, and people who booked an EarlyBird Check-In, as well as those who are on a reservation with an A-List member, will automatically have their boarding place reserved 36 hours before departure. 

You will still need to check in within 24 hours of departure to get your boarding permit, and this does not guarantee you an "A" boarding slot.

Rather, you will get the earliest one that is open. After checking in, positions will be assigned to the remaining passengers. So the earlier you get there, the sooner you may board the aircraft.

How Can I Change Seats On Southwest Airlines?

With so many passengers attempting to board the plane at once, things can get rather chaotic. Everyone simply wants to stow their carry-on in the overhead bin and sit down.

The majority of passengers choose front-row seats because they are closer to the front exits and make it easier to exit the aircraft more quickly after landing. 

The quick answer to the frequently asked question, "How can I change my seat on Southwest Airlines?" is that Southwest does not allocate seats. Once on board, there is open seating, allowing passengers to choose wherever they want to sit.

Southwest does designate boarding groups, so if you want the seat you want, you will need to be among the first ones to enter the aircraft. Additionally, the age and physical requirements set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) still apply if you want to seat in an exit row.

Except for children under the age of two, it should go without saying that you cannot sit on another person's lap. You'll need to choose another seat if the one you desire is currently occupied by someone else.

When Can Passengers with Disabilities and Parents of Young Children Board?

When Can Passengers with Disabilities and Parents of Young Children Board Serious aged Caucasian male tourist in a disposable protective mask sitting in a transport chair

If you have a disability, you must inform the ticket counter or gate agent so they can issue you a preboarding pass, regardless of whether you need help boarding the aircraft. You are permitted to preboard with one additional passenger as your attendant. 

The mother and daughter are watching airplanes out

However, if you need special seats, you must inform a representative before passengers begin boarding the aircraft so that your needs can be met.

Passengers with disabilities will embark right after the A group. Families comprising two people traveling with at least one kid under the age of six may board the aircraft after the disabled have done so, and the B group can then take off. 

What Are Southwest’s Plane Configurations?

Southwest planes don't have assigned seats, so whoever boards the aircraft first gets to choose their seat. Since nobody particularly appreciates being in the middle seat, those are normally saved for Group C's lone boarding passengers.

You are free to choose any seat after you go onto the aircraft. Deciding where you'll spend your entire flight on the fly, though, might be difficult.

When selecting which seat is ideal, having a basic understanding of Southwest's plane arrangements is really helpful to find out which seats to aim for in advance. Southwest currently has three different Boeing 737 models, as shown in the schematics below.

1. Boeing 737 MAX 8

  • No. of Aircraft: 34 
  • Seats: 175 standard seats
  • Seat Width: 17.8”
  • Seat Pitch: 32-33

2. Boeing 737-700

  • No. of Aircraft: 506 
  • Seats: 143 standard seats
  • Seat Width: 17”
  • Seat Pitch: 31”

3. Boeing 737-800

  • No. of Aircraft: 207 
  • Seats: 175 standard seats
  • Seat Width: 17”
  • Seat Pitch: 32-33”

Which Southwest Seat Is The Best?

Which Southwest Seat Is The Best ? Empty airplane

Given the layout of the aircraft, which seat on Southwest is the best? Of course, the response is extremely subjective. The back row, in the opinion of many others, is the very worst position.

If a trip isn't completely filled, there will probably be fewer passengers in the back of the aircraft, which could keep the seat next to you empty. Suppose you are in Group A and have free reign of the aircraft. What should you do next? Here are a few choices, if you want:

Empty Middle Seats

Empty Middle Seats - Interior of the New Boeing 787

All Southwest planes are configured with three-and-three seats, so if you are traveling in a group of three, you should take the full row. Nobody will be seated next to you as a result of this.

A window seat is recommended if you don't fit that description. The most privacy will be yours in this situation, and no one will have to squeeze by you to take a seat or exit.

Additionally, no other passengers or members of the cabin crew will be moving about in your immediate vicinity.

The decision of whether to seat in the front or the back is then up in the air. Both have advantages and disadvantages. 

Being in the front means that everyone entering the aircraft after you will pass you as they choose their seat. But it also means that as soon as it's time to exit, you'll be among the first passengers to do so.

On the other side, there might be fewer people in the back of the aircraft. People often choose the first available seat(s) aboard Southwest aircraft, which results in the first half of the aircraft typically having more passengers than the second. 

On a flight that is not full, there is also a higher chance that the seat next to you will be vacant. Having said that, the Boeing 737-800 has one restroom in the front and two in the back.

Therefore, if more passengers need to use the restroom, they are more likely to go to the back of the aircraft.


Legroom - Virgin Australia's new Boeing 737 'Economy X' cabin offers guests extra legroom at bulkhead seats for an extra cost

If you are facing the back of the plane on a Southwest Boeing 737-700. Look for seat 12A, the window seat in row 12's right side. The fortunate traveler in seat 12A has two seats' worth of legroom, which is a blessing for tall passengers.

Seat 11A is "missing" because row 11 is an "edit" row with only two seats on the right side. The nicest seats on Southwest's more recent -800 and MAX8 planes are located in rows 14 and 15, though.

Exit The Aircraft Fast

Pick Row 1. There is no storage underneath the seat in front of you, but as a reward for packing lightly, you'll be among the first to exit the aircraft with more legroom. As soon as you board, head straight towards your left or right.

Only One Seatmate

Pick seats B and C in Row 11. This is a two-seat row on Southwest's Boeing 737-700s, thus you won't have to worry about a third passenger taking up space.


For some who are unfamiliar with it, Southwest's boarding procedure may be intimidating or even infuriating, but if you get the hang of it, there is much to appreciate. 

Due to Southwest's liberal free checked bag policy and open seating, passengers typically have lesser carry-on items to fit in the overhead bins. Additionally, due to open seating, passengers can arrange themselves as they board the aircraft.

So, open up this guide the next time you fly Southwest and you'll know which seats to aim for and how to get there quickly.

Before leaving, check out some flying tips below, so you will be guided.

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