The Single Worst Mistake You Can Make When Flying Southwest
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – View the current offers here – Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I chose to fly Southwest’s new Newark (EWR) to Las Vegas (LAS) route. I’ve flown Southwest a few times in the past so I am familiar with the airline’s boarding process and how you need to check in exactly 24 hours before your flight to get a decent position in the boarding line. If you don’t, it’s likely you’ll only get to choose between middle seats or something perhaps a bit more desirable at the back of the plane.
On this trip, however, I only checked in 22 hours before my flight was scheduled to depart — and boy did I pay the price for that misstep. I was designated position B34, which put me boarding the aircraft at about half way through the process. I was optimistic that I’d be able to find a window or aisle seat near the middle of the plane. Upon boarding, however, I walked by row after row of passengers seated at the window and the aisle, with just the middle seat open. Determined to avoid the middle seat, I kept walking towards the back of the plane until I found a window seat — in the very last row.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to avoid the situation I got myself into. Flyers who have A-List status with the airline are entitled to priority boarding on every flight. Another option is purchasing the Business Select fare, which comes bundled with a guaranteed A1 – A15 boarding position. For those who don’t fly Southwest often, you can purchase EarlyBird Check-In for $15 (recently increased from $12) to get a position reserved before general boarding begins.
If you fly Southwest often, consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card, which is currently offering a 40,000-point sign-up bonus after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. Those bonus points count toward the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows you to bring along a companion for free each time you travel (plus taxes), even when redeeming points.
What’s your strategy for securing a good spot in the Southwest boarding line?
With the Southwest Plus credit card you'll earn 3,000 points each year after your cardmember anniversary. Southwest also offers one of the most lucrative airline perks - the Companion Pass. Once you earn 110,000 points in a calendar year, you can add a companion to your flight for the cost of the taxes and fees for the remainder of the first year plus, the entire following calendar year.
- Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
- 3,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
- 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® hotel and car rental partner purchases.
- 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- All points earned count towards Companion Pass.
- No blackout dates or seat restrictions.
- Redeem your points for flights, hotel stays, gift cards, access to events, and more.