Problem is in Southwest's wording: "EarlyBird Check-In® Customers will be checked in automatically and receive a reserved boarding position 36 hours prior to their flight's scheduled local departure time. Boarding Passes can be printed beginning 24 hours prior to the flight's scheduled local departure time. You can obtain a boarding pass at the Ticket Counter, Skycap Podium (where available), or online at Southwest.com." The confusion is "will receive a reserved boarding position 36 hours prior" but we can not know what that position is for 12 more hours. Perhaps a change in the wording would help. This confused me, too.
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