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first time flying

chardumond
New Arrival

hello everyone 

 

so in november im going to georgia and i live in south west florida and i wanted to know whats the process from arriving to the airport to where do i check in and get my bags checked to and etc. i'm a little nervous - it's just and me and my sister and the last time we were on a plane we were under the age of 6. so any tips would be great!

6 REPLIES 6

Re: first time flying

bec102896
Top Contributor
Solution

You should arrive at the airport about 2 hours before your flight. 

 

For checking bags you can do it at the self service kiosk or at the full service ticket counter. You can also get your boarding pass here or use the mobile boarding pass on your phone. 

 

Once you check your bag head to security have your ID and boarding pass handy. 

 

Once your though security you can go to your gate or grab a bite to eat if you have time. 

 

Be sure you check in for your flight 24 hours before departure to get the best boarding position as southwest boards by groups ABC the earlier you check in the better your chance of being in the A or B group. 

 

Boarding starts 30min before departure so be sure to be at the gate by that time. 

 

-Blake

Re: first time flying

chardumond
New Arrival

What do you mean by checking in 24 hrs before departure ? is that where i check in through the app or in person ? and thank you so much for your tips and directions lol. also would i need a passport if im traveling from FL to GA ?

Re: first time flying

bec102896
Top Contributor
Solution

You check in 24 hours before the flight on the app or website. 

 

You won't need a passport to go from FL to GA. 

 

Southwest has open seating so your boarding group A B or C will show up on your boarding pass when you check in and the position 1-60 will determine where you stand in line to board. Once on board you can pick any open seat (so if you check in early at the 24 hour mark you can most likely avoid the middle seat unless you like the middle seat) 

 

-Blake

Re: first time flying

chardumond
New Arrival

you also mentioned groups, so how do i know what group im in i just purchased the tickets and i dont see any seatings ?

Re: first time flying

Goforwand1
Active Member
Solution

@chardumond

 

So welcome to Southwest "love it or hate it" boarding process!

 

So, the first thing to understand is that unlike other airlines where you typically choose your seats when you purchase your tickets (and in many cases pay additional fees to choose that seat), Southwest has no assigned seating.

 

You are instead given a place in the boarding line! So essentially, you take whatever seat you want!

 

So here is the caveat! Southwest boards in a very orderly fashion (unless you are flying from the Dominican Republic LOL...another story!) where the "A group" lines up on one side of the column (you will see the columns when you get to the gate so you will know what I mean)  from 1-30 and the other side 30-60..so  the A group will have the choice of the 1st 60 seats. The B groups lines up in the same fashion and will have the next choice of the remaining seats, again, sitting anywhere they would like..C group is last group to baord

 

There is a way to insure that you will get a "decent" choice of seats (typically high A group to mid B group) which is to pay for Early-Bird check in where Southwest will automatically check you in and you will be assigned your place in the boarding line based on when you purchased your Early Bird ticket.

 

The other option is to check yourself in EXACTLY 24 hours before your flight and see what place in the boarding line you are assigned. Depending on how full the flight is, you could still get a decent place in line for boarding or you could be assigned Group C and possibly have no way to sit with a travel companion...which sucks...

 

Finally, if you elect to check in 24 hours before and get a crappy place in the boarding line you can upgrade to the A group at the gate for a slightly higher price than Early Bird, but it is subject to availability..

 

My advice (especially if you are traveling with someone you want to sit with) is to pay the extra for Early Bird, take the stress out of check-in as SWA does it for you, print your tickets or download to your phone, get there early, take a carry on (unless you have to check luggage)  and have a fun flight! Also, i would talk to the gate agent and let them know this is your first time flying and they will typically keep an eye out to make sure things go well!

Re: first time flying

chardumond
New Arrival

thank you