How to Get Pre Boarding on Southwest – Skip the Line with These Tricks

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How to Get Pre Boarding on Southwest – Skip the Line with These Tricks

As an avid traveler, I have discovered some clever ways to ensure I always get pre boarding on Southwest flights. Pre boarding can make a world of difference, especially if you have specific seating preferences or need extra time to settle in. In this tutorial, I will share with you some tricks that can help you skip the line and get pre boarding on your next Southwest flight. Whether you have a physical condition that requires you to board early, or simply want to secure the best seat, these tips will benefit you. I guarantee that by the end of this post, you will have the knowledge to secure pre boarding on Southwest without any hassle.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sign up for Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In: This program automatically checks you in and assigns you a boarding position 36 hours before your flight, giving you a better chance at getting a higher boarding position.
  • Get a Southwest Airlines credit card: Cardholders receive priority boarding, allowing them to skip the line and board the plane earlier than other passengers.
  • Utilize the family boarding option: If you are traveling with young children, take advantage of Southwest’s family boarding policy, which allows families with children under 6 to board after the “A” group.
  • Check in exactly 24 hours before your flight: If you don’t want to pay for EarlyBird Check-In or have a Southwest Airlines credit card, be sure to check in online exactly 24 hours before your flight to secure a better boarding position.
  • Consider purchasing upgraded boarding: If you arrive at the airport and find yourself with a late boarding position, consider purchasing upgraded boarding for a better spot on the plane.

Understanding the Pre-Boarding Process

The pre-boarding process is a privilege offered by Southwest Airlines that allows passengers with specific needs to board the aircraft before the general boarding process begins. This service is designed to accommodate individuals who require a little extra time or assistance to help make their travel experience more comfortable.

Who is Eligible for Pre-Boarding?

If you have a disability, mobility issue, or if you are a senior citizen, you may be eligible for pre-boarding on Southwest Airlines. Additionally, passengers traveling with small children or who require the use of an aisle chair to board the aircraft, are also eligible for pre-boarding. Keep in mind that the airline staff will verify your need for pre-boarding, so it’s important to have the necessary documentation or inform the staff of your situation upon arrival at the gate.

Understanding the Benefits of Pre-Boarding

The benefits of pre-boarding are numerous. Firstly, it allows you to find your seat and settle in before the rush of other passengers coming on board. This means you can take your time stowing your carry-on items, setting up your space, and getting comfortable for the flight. Additionally, pre-boarding ensures that you have access to the overhead bin space for your belongings, without having to worry about finding a spot for your luggage once the main boarding process begins. This can be especially important if you have specific medical needs or if you are traveling with children, as you will have the time and space to properly organize your seating area for the flight.

How to Get Pre-Boarding on Southwest

Even as a frequent Southwest Airlines traveler, I understand the importance of pre-boarding to secure the best possible seat. Thankfully, there are several tricks that can help you skip the line and gain pre-boarding status.

Trick 1: Purchase EarlyBird Check-In

If you want to ensure that you are one of the first to board and have the opportunity to choose your preferred seat, you can purchase EarlyBird Check-In. This option automatically assigns you a boarding position 36 hours before your flight, giving you a better chance of securing a good seat. Keep in mind that this service comes at an additional cost, but for some, the peace of mind and convenience it offers is worth the price.

Trick 2: Fly with a Companion with a Disability

If you are traveling with a companion who has a disability and requires assistance, you are eligible for pre-boarding to ensure that you can sit together and receive the necessary help. This is a great option to consider if you want to board early and have the advantage of choosing your seats together.

Trick 3: Obtain A-List or A-List Preferred Status

By achieving A-List or A-List Preferred status through Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program, you can enjoy perks such as priority boarding, which allows you to board after Business Select customers but before the general boarding group. This is an excellent way to ensure that you have early access to the aircraft and can select your preferred seat.

Trick 4: Request Pre-Boarding at the Gate

If you have a specific medical condition or require extra assistance, you can request pre-boarding at the gate. This allows you to board ahead of other passengers to ensure that you have ample time to settle in and prepare for the flight. However, it’s important to note that this option should only be utilized if you genuinely require the additional time and assistance.

Trick 5: Utilize the Family Boarding Option

If you are traveling with young children aged 6 and under, Southwest offers a Family Boarding option. This allows families to board between the A and B boarding groups, giving you the opportunity to find seats together and ensure that your children are comfortable and settled before the general boarding begins.

Tips for a Smooth Pre-Boarding Experience

Unlike other airlines, Southwest offers a unique pre-boarding experience that allows passengers with certain needs to board the aircraft before general boarding begins. Here are some tricks to ensure a smooth and stress-free pre-boarding experience:

  • Check-in online or via the Southwest app as soon as the 24-hour window opens to secure an A boarding group
  • Arrive at the gate early to inform Southwest staff about your special needs
  • Keep all necessary documentation and medical equipment easily accessible
  • Be polite and respectful when communicating with Southwest staff

The key to a smooth pre-boarding experience is to be prepared and communicate your needs effectively with Southwest staff.

Arriving Early at the Gate

When flying with Southwest and needing to pre-board, arriving early at the gate is crucial. I recommend arriving at the gate at least 30 minutes before general boarding begins. This will give you enough time to inform Southwest staff about your need for pre-boarding and ensure that everything is in order for a stress-free boarding process.

Communicating with Southwest Staff

When it comes to pre-boarding with Southwest, effective communication with Southwest staff is key. I recommend approaching the gate agent or boarding personnel politely and clearly expressing your need for pre-boarding. It’s important to have all necessary documentation and medical equipment ready to show if requested. By communicating your needs effectively, you can help ensure a smooth pre-boarding process.

How to Get Pre Boarding on Southwest – Skip the Line with These Tricks

With these considerations in mind, you now have a few tricks up your sleeve to secure pre-boarding on Southwest flights. By utilizing the EarlyBird Check-In option, obtaining A-List or A-List Preferred status, or simply taking advantage of family boarding, you can skip the lines and ensure a more comfortable boarding process. Additionally, staying informed about Southwest’s boarding policies and keeping an eye out for any updates or changes will also help you stay ahead of the game and maximize your chances of pre-boarding. By understanding the options available to you and being proactive in your approach, you can make the most of your Southwest travel experience.


Q: What is pre boarding on Southwest?

A: Pre boarding on Southwest is a policy that allows certain passengers to board the aircraft before the general boarding process begins. This includes passengers with disabilities, those needing assistance, and families traveling with children under the age of six.

Q: How can I qualify for pre boarding on Southwest?

A: To qualify for pre boarding on Southwest, you must meet one of the following criteria: have a mobility impairment, require a seat belt extension, have a specific seating need to accommodate a disability, or be traveling with a child under six years old. You may also be allowed to pre board if you require assistance from a gate agent.

Q: Can I request pre boarding at the gate if I don’t qualify based on the above criteria?

A: If you do not meet the criteria for pre boarding on Southwest, you may still request pre boarding at the gate if you need extra time or assistance to board the aircraft. Simply speak to a gate agent and explain your situation, and they will assess your need for pre boarding.

Q: Are there any tricks to increase my chances of getting pre boarding on Southwest?

A: One trick to increase your chances of getting pre boarding on Southwest is to indicate your need for pre boarding when booking your ticket or during the online check-in process. You can also arrive early at the gate and speak to a gate agent to request pre boarding. Additionally, if you have a visible disability, using mobility aids or carrying a medical device, it may increase your chances of being granted pre boarding.

Q: What should I do if I encounter any issues with pre boarding on Southwest?

A: If you encounter any issues with pre boarding on Southwest, such as being denied pre boarding when you believe you qualify, or if you have any questions or concerns, you can speak to a gate agent or a customer service representative for assistance. They will be able to address your situation and provide guidance on how to proceed.

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Mark Twain

Mark Twain stands at the helm of Create More Flow, infusing every sentence with the wisdom of his 15-year expeience through the seas of SEO and content creation. A former BBC Writer, Mark has a knack for weaving simplicity and clarity into a tapestry of engaging narratives. In the realm of content, he is both a guardian and a guide, helping words find their flow and stories find their homes in the hearts of readers. Mark's approach is grounded in the belief that the best content feels like a chat with an old friend: warm, inviting, and always memorable. Let Mark's expertise light up your website with content that's as friendly to Google as it is to your audience. Each word is chosen with care, each sentence crafted with skill - all to give your message the human touch that both readers and search engines love.

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