The Complete Guide to Check-In on Southwest Airlines and Get a Boarding Pass Online

Checking in for your journey is important if you want to have a hassle-free journey with Southwest Airlines. When you check in properly, you may reserve a seat, get your boarding card, and control several aspects of your trip, such as your food and drinks. In the comprehensive information guide, you will go through the entire process, from understanding the rules mentioned under Southwest check-in policy to obtaining the boarding pass and making the most out of the early bird check-in option.

Southwest Airlines check-in process

Southwest Airlines offers multiple check-in options, some of which are listed here for you as follows. 

  • Online web check-in
  • Mobile app check-in
  • Offline check-in at Counter 
  • Kiosk Machine check-in

Passengers can proceed with the seat selection process during check-in using the abovementioned method. However, they have to pay the seat selection charges to choose the preferred seat.

Instructions for online check-in in detail

The steps to proceed with the check-in through all possible methods are mentioned and explained in detail for better understanding. 

Southwest Online Web check-in process

The steps that need to be followed for the online Southwest Airlines check-in process through the official website are mentioned here for you as follows. 

  • Access the Southwest Airlines website 
  • Ensure your booking confirmation number and the passenger's name are handy.
  • Enter your booking confirmation number and the passenger's first and last name.
  • Your reservation details will be retrieved by the system. Verify that they're correct.
  • On the website's homepage, locate the "Check-In" option at the top tab given on your screen.
  • Select the ones you want to check in for if you're checking in multiple passengers.
  • You will be given a choice of available seats based on availability. Pick the one you prefer.
  • Review your selected passengers and seats before confirming.
  • Once checked in, you'll receive a digital boarding pass. You can print it or save it on your phone. 

Southwest Airlines check-in app

You need to download and set up the Southwest Mobile app.

  • In the app, look for the "Check-In" tab in the menu. 
  • Enter your confirmation number or the passenger's last name, or you can also proceed by entering the account credentials.
  • Once you're on the account details page, proceed with the check-in by following the prompts on the screen. 
  • Review and update your flight details if needed.
  • Select your preferred seating from the available options, as per the availability.
  • Pay the price for the seat selection if you have made the seat selection.
  • Confirm your check-in to generate your boarding pass on the airline's mobile app.
  • They will send you the boarding pass on your registered email. 

Southwest Airlines Kiosk Machine Check-in

  • Locate a Southwest Airlines kiosk machine at the airport from where you board the flight ticket.
  • Enter your booking information or swipe your credit card to retrieve your reservation.
  • Follow the prompts to check in, select seats, and print boarding passes.
  • Remember, online check-in typically opens 24 hours before your flight's departure time. Make sure to complete the process before the designated time to secure your preferred seat and ensure a smooth travel experience.

Southwest Offline check-in at Counter 

Passengers can proceed with the offline check-in at the airport counter, for they have to reach the airport at the time designated to them at the airport. If you have to go to the airport, follow the check-in Instructions and give all the required paperwork to the agent at the check-in counter. They will proceed with check-in for you and even ask you to book a preferred seat for which you must pay extra charges. When everything is done, they will give you your boarding card and instruct you to go through security and check your bags. 

Southwest Airlines Check-in Policy

Before travelers begin the check-in process, the airline highlights a few guidelines. With these rules, you also get ideas about the Southwest Airlines check-in documents and all the other necessary details. The rules are mentioned below to give you a better understanding. 

  • Online check-in is available for passengers 24 hours before the scheduled departure time of their flight; It closes 60 minutes before take-off.
  • Check-in is available online through the Southwest Airlines website or mobile app. As a result, passengers can avoid waiting in huge queues at the airport and enjoy ease.
  • For a fee, passengers can purchase EarlyBird Check-In, automatically assigning them a boarding position within the first 36 hours of departure. This increases the chances of getting a better boarding position and choice of seats.
  • The boarding procedure used by Southwest Airlines is distinct. Passengers are divided into groups (A, B, and C), each with a number. The earlier you check-in, the better your boarding position within your group.
  • Unlike many other airlines, Southwest doesn't assign seats. Passengers select their own seats on a first-come, first-served basis during boarding.
  • After the A group has boarded, families with children under six years old are allowed to board before the B group.
  • If you don't check in before the flight's scheduled departure time, your reservation may be canceled, and you could lose your fare. It's important to check in as early as possible.
  • While electronic boarding passes are widely accepted, passengers can choose to print their boarding passes if preferred.
  • If you cannot check in online, Southwest provides self-service kiosks at the airport where you can print your boarding pass and check in for your flight.
  • You can also indicate whether you'll be checking in any baggage during check-in. Baggage fees may apply, depending on your fare type and destination.
  • Overall, Southwest Airlines' check-in policy emphasizes early online check-in, offers the option of purchasing an upgraded boarding position, and prioritizes families for a smoother boarding experience. Passengers must know the 24-hour window and the unique boarding process to ensure a seamless journey.

How early do I need to check in at Southwest Airlines?

While traveling with Southwest Airlines, you need to get through the check-in check-in process before boarding the flight. It is mandatory because after completing this process, you will get the boarding pass under which the flight departure terminal is mentioned. 

The time for check-in at Southwest Airlines depends on the flight on which you have made the reservation.

  •  If you are traveling on Southwest Airlines' domestic flight, you can check in online 24 hours before the departure of the flight and check in close to 60 minutes before the flight departure.
  • You can check in at the airport 2 hours before the flight departure, and it will close 30 minutes before the flight departure if you are traveling with a domestic flight.
  • For international flights, you can do an online check-in 12 hours before the flight's departure, and it will close 45 minutes before the flight's departure.

 How does check-in work for Southwest?

You can use the online process for the check-in. For Southwest Airlines online check-in, you need to follow the steps as per described below:

  • Access the official website of Southwest Airlines.
  • On the homepage, you will get the Check-in option. Click on that tab.
  •  Enter the Booking Confirmation Number and the passenger's last name.
  • Click on the continue option.
  • Now you will have the details of the flight and tap on the Check-in option.
  • You will get the confirmation message on the registered email.

What do you need to check in on Southwest?

If you are checking in with Southwest Airlines, then you must have a booking confirmation number and last name. If you still need to check about how to check in online Southwest, then you can also contact the customer service representative.

What is the fastest way to check in on Southwest?

There are many ticket holders who are not aware of Southwest Airlines' check-in procedure. If you also possess Southwest tickets and you're looking for the fastest medium to check in for your flight, then you can check in online via mobile application. For that, you must follow a certain set of instructions given below: 

Southwest Airlines check-in procedure via mobile application:

Since this is the fastest way, it is used by a number of travelers to process the check-in. They are required to follow the steps given below to use this option:

  • Open the mobile application of Southwest Airlines.
  • Now, you will find the check-in button; tap on the option to continue.
  • Flight confirmation number along with the passenger's last and first name must be inserted, and finally, click on the check-in button.
  • Now, you can also select your preferred seat on the aircraft or simply save your boarding pass. 

How early can you check in for Southwest?

There are many travelers who are often confused about how early they can check-in for a Southwest flight. If you are also wondering how early the Southwest check-in process begins, then you must remember that if you wish to use the online procedure, you are allowed to check in at least 24 hours before your flight departure. If any passenger has purchased early bird check-in, then he is eligible for the process before 36 hours of flight departure. 

Why won't Southwest let me check in online?

There are many cases in which ticket holders are puzzled about why Southwest Airlines online check-in procedure is not supported for them. They must note that though Southwest allows passengers to make online check-in before 24-hour flight departure, in some specific cases, it is not available. In all those scenarios, travelers are expected to reach the airport check-in counters to proceed further. Some of those cases are:

  • If you have made a reservation using a military discount.
  • If you are traveling with Southwest using a student discount.
  • If any passenger has made a booking using a senior citizen discount, etc..

Does Southwest allow online check-in?

There are many customers who want to check in online for their upcoming flight, and they wonder whether check-in online Southwest is supported or not; those customers must note that yes, they can simply follow the below-mentioned series of instructions to check in and save their time:

  • Go to the website of Southwest Airlines.
  • Now, you can either log into your existing account or simply head to the check-in section.
  • You must now enter your flight confirmation code and ticket holder's first and last name, followed by clicking on the check-in button.
  • Finally, you can get our boarding pass and seat information.
  • If you want, you can send boarding pass details to your linked email address. 

How do I obtain my Southwest boarding pass?

There are many ticket holders who do not have information regarding obtaining Southwest boarding passes. If you are also one such customer, then you must note that once you check in online, you get the option to download your boarding pass. Apart from this, you can also get it by following ways:

Reach the Airport check-in counter to get your boarding pass:

You can request a Southwest representative to help you with the check-in procedure, mentioning your booking details, and finally, they will handle your boarding pass, which consists of details like boarding gate, seat-number, traveler's name, etc. 

Obtain your boarding pass from the self-check-in Kiosk:

If any traveler has already reached the airport and is worried about a boarding pass, then he can directly head to the self-check-in counter. He can simply insert his booking details and follow the displayed instructions to complete the check-in procedure. After obeying all the instructions, they will be displayed an option to print their boarding passes. Simply, they can take a copy of their boarding pass.

Is early bird check-in for Southwest worth it?

Yes, if you make an early bird check-in at Southwest Airlines, then you do not need to wait in the long queue, and you will get priority boarding.

Early bird check-in explain and its advantages

It is an option given to Southwest passengers to proceed with the automatic check-in process through the official website. Early Bird check-in is an optional service that can be purchased for a fee, and the airlines will complete the check-in process for the passengers 24 hours before the scheduled departure. 

  • It automatically checks you in ahead of the standard 24-hour window.
  • Advantages include improved boarding position, better seat selection, and peace of mind.
  • You can also get early access to the overhead bin storage of your carry-on baggage. 
  • The passengers have to pay up to $15, which may vary as per the popularity and length of each flight and the flight class in which you have made the reservation. 
  • The charges paid by travelers to purchase early bird check-in are non-refundable if the passengers miss their flight or proceed with the cancellation. 

How do I obtain my Southwest Airlines boarding pass?

The passengers can get their boarding passes as soon as they check-in. The check-in can be done by following any of the methods given and explained above.

  • Once you complete check-in, your boarding pass is generated.
  • It can be received via email, text, or the Southwest mobile app.
  • Print the boarding pass or save it digitally on your device.

Southwest Airlines check-in times

The passengers can proceed with the online check-in process 24 hours before the scheduled departure online through the airline's official website. 

If they proceed for the airport check-in, in that case, they have to reach the airport three hours before the domestic flight or four hours before the international flight departure. 

Southwest's mobile boarding pass feature and benefits

Customers of Southwest Airlines can easily and paperlessly manage their travel plans with the use of the airline's mobile boarding pass tool.
There is no need for printed tickets with this functionality because users may view their boarding cards instantly on their mobile devices. Benefits of Southwest's mobile boarding pass include:

  • Ease of Access: Passengers can easily access their boarding passes on their smartphones, saving time and reducing the hassle of managing physical documents.
  • Convenience: The mobile boarding pass can be accessed at any time, allowing travelers to make last-minute changes or updates without the need for a printer.
  • Environmental Friendliness: Going paperless contributes to a reduction in paper waste and supports eco-friendly travel practices.
  • Real-time Updates: To keep passengers aware of gate changes, aircraft delays, and other important information, the mobile pass offers prompt updates.
  • Quick Check-In: Seamless integration with Southwest's mobile app allows for easy check-in and access to boarding passes, streamlining the airport experience.
  • Digital Security: Passes are stored securely on the device, reducing the risk of misplaced or stolen paper boarding passes.
  • Compatibility: The mobile boarding pass can be saved in various formats, including QR codes, making scanning at security checkpoints and boarding gates easy.
  • Southwest's mobile boarding pass feature offers a range of benefits that enhance the overall travel experience by combining convenience, efficiency, and sustainability.

Can I Get my Boarding Pass When I check in?

Yes, upon completing the check-in process, your boarding pass will be generated. You can choose to receive it via email, text, or within the Southwest mobile app. Having your boarding pass ready before arriving at the airport is recommended to streamline your journey through security and boarding procedures.


For more information about Southwest boarding pass check-in, you can connect with the airline's customer service team and get the necessary help and assistance. 

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