I Scored an A18 Boarding Position on Southwest Without Paying Anything – Here’s How You Can Improve Yours

Southwest is like that reliable restaurant you frequent. It may not be the fanciest or have a broad menu, but it’s predictable. I like predictable, even if the glam-factor is lacking. Boarding Southwest and getting a good seat can be either smooth or dreadful, you just need to follow these check-in steps to get you on-board sooner.

 

All-aboard

I’ve checked-in for 9 Southwest flights this year, each time perfecting my skill. You see, Southwest is one of the few airlines that does not assign seats, your check-in time quickness determines your boarding priority. Love it or hate it, it works for them.

This go-around, I managed to set my “personal best” record for boarding position, A18.

 

boarding
Southwest boarding area

 

I was here first

You can read more here about the in’s & out’s of Southwest’s boarding order. Basically, Business-Select, A-lister’s, and EarlyBird’s are given priority. After those passengers are auto-checked-in, it becomes a free-for-all for the rest of us to check-in as soon as we can. (24 hours before departure)

Boarding group A1-A15 is reserved for folks who purchase a Business-Select fare. If no passengers are flying in Business-Select, A1-A15 will be empty.

Next come A-lister’s and EarlyBird flyers. If any of them are flying they will automatically be reserved an A16 + boarding position, based on the order they purchased their ticket or purchased EarlyBird ($15 each way)

 

24 Hours

Now comes everyone else. Your Southwest boarding position is based on how soon you check-in, that is it. You can check-in EXACTLY 24 hours before departure.

If your flight is set to depart at 10:15AM on Tuesday, you can check-in starting at 10:15AM on Monday.  Using my simple, yet effective, check-in method, I’ve snagged an A position EVERY TIME!

Atomic time

They say it’s only crazy if it doesn’t work. So what I do is pull up a separate window with the atomic time. This makes it easy to click the “check-in” button right on the money.

This will give you an idea of how fast you have to be when pulling this off. I was checking-in Alyssa and I this morning on a desktop. In the time it took between clicking “check-in” on one window and moving my mouse cursor to the other window (I have two monitors), Alyssa got A18 and I got A26. It took maybe one second to move my mouse and click “check-in” on the second window.

That means within that one second of moving my mouse SEVEN other people had already checked in. It is very important to be fast and have a good internet connection if you want to score the best boarding position.

 

boarding
boarding position with atomic clock

 

Recap:

By hitting an A18 boarding position, that means only TWO passengers are boarding ahead of me, not including Business-Select ticket holders. Those two other passengers could be A-list, paid for EarlyBird, or they clicked the button faster than me.

Assuming there are about 100 passengers who will check-in around the 24 hour mark, I was faster than 98% of them (I could have been the fastest if the two in front of me were A-list or EarlyBird)

Action list:

.5. Set an alarm so you don’t forget to check-in, that is a given
1. Open clock in side window
2. Have your confirmation number and name entered on the check-in page (I don’t recommend using a phone as page loading is slower than a PC)
3. Click that check-in button ON THE DOT
4. The page will load with your flight details and then you’ll click “check-in” one more time as quickly as possible.
5. Once you see your boarding position you can breathe and pat yourself on the back