Southwest Airlines finally lets customers pick their seats before their flight

Southwest's new seating upgrade.
Southwest plane taking off


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Southwest Airlines has long been known for its first-come-first-serve seating arrangements. Now, the company is changing its tune and letting customers choose their seats ahead of time.

The airline’s longstanding policy used to be that customers could only purchase upgraded seats at the airport. Now, Southwest customers can skip the airport line and simply upgrade through the airline’s website or mobile app. 

The new feature starts at a cost of $30 and gives flyers the chance to be the first group to board the aircraft and therefore the first to pick prime seats. While the feature is already technically available for purchase for all fare types, the key change is that travelers no longer have to be at the airport to upgrade.

Another way the airline is giving customers the chance to get into earlier boarding groups is by offering up an “EarlyBird Check-In” upgrade. For $15 one way, this feature automatically checks travelers in for their flight up to 36 hours ahead of their scheduled flight.

It seems the airline might have even more customer-centric features on the way. A spokesperson shared, “We announced our commitment in May to enhance our entire Customer Experience, from shopping and booking flights to check-in, traveling onboard, and to the arrival at the destination.”

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