Southwest Airlines Check-in

You can check in for your Southwest Airlines flight using the following options: 

  1. Online (web check-in) 
  2. Mobile app check-in
    (Android or iOS app)  
  3. Airport self-service kiosk check-in 
  4. EarlyBird check-in
    (automatic, 36-hours-in-advance check-in for a fee)
  5. Airport curbside check-in 
  6. Airport counter check-in

Southwest Airlines Check-in and Cut-off Times

  1. Online Check-in and Cut-off Time
    You can check in online for your Southwest Airlines flight from 24 hours to 60, 90, 120, or 180 minutes before your flight’s departure time—depending on your departure and destination city. For the exact check-in and cut-off times, visit the Airport Information page.
  1. Mobile App Checkin and Cut-off Time
    You can check in with your mobile app from 24 hours to 60, 90, 120, or 180 minutes before your flight’s departure time—depending on your departure and destination city. For the exact check-in and cut-off times, visit the Airport Information page.
  1. Airport Self-Service Kiosk Check-in and Cut-off Time

You can check in from the airport kiosk (self-check-in) from 3 hours to 30, 60, or 90 minutes before your flight’s departure time—depending on your departure and destination city. For the exact check-in and cut-off times, visit the Airport Information page.

  1. EarlyBird Check-in and Cut-off Time

The EarlyBird option checks you in automatically 36 hours before the scheduled departure time—which means you don’t have to check in. You’re automatically assigned a position for boarding earlier, so you get earlier overhead bin access for your carry-on bags. 

  1. Airport Curbside Check-in and Cut-off Time

You can check in for domestic flights from the airport’s curbside at most U.S. airports—from 3 hours to 60 minutes before the scheduled departure time (depending on your departure and destination city). For the exact check-in and cut-off times, visit the Airport Information page.

  1. Airport Check-in and Cut-off Time 

You can check in physically at the airport and collect your boarding pass from 3 hours to 30, 60, or 90 minutes before your flight’s departure time—depending on your departure and destination city. 

Note

  • Be sure to collect your boarding pass and reach the gate area at least 10 minutes before your flight’s scheduled departure time. If you’re late, your reservation may be canceled, and you may be denied compensation.
  • For exact times, refer to the Airport Information page.  
  • Download, print or email your boarding pass.
  • If you forget or lose your boarding pass, use the airport’s check-in kiosk to print it.
  • Keep enough buffer time for security checks, checking in baggage, etc.

Southwest Airlines Check-in Online

To check in online from Southwest Airlines’ website:

  1. Go to Southwest.com
  2. Select the Check in tab
  3. Enter your confirmation number and name (first and last) 
  4. Click on the Check in button 
  5. Complete your check in 

Southwest Airlines Mobile App Check-in

You can use Southwest Airlines’ mobile app to: 

  • Make reservations, check-in, cancel or change domestic and international flights
  • Check your flight status, gate information, and boarding position
  • Download your mobile boarding pass
    (iPhone and iPad users: save to Apple Wallet; Android users can save to Google Pay)
  • Share your flight status with others 
  • Make or cancel your car reservation
  • Access your Rapid Rewards account
  • View weather and travel alerts
  • Access useful airport information
  • Use express check out 

Southwest Airlines Airport (Self-Service) Kiosk Check-in


You can check in physically at the airport’s kiosk. This facility is available at all non-U.S. airports except Nassau. You can use any one of these methods to check in:

  • Enter your confirmation number 
  • Enter your Rapid Rewards number
  • Swipe any major credit card bearing your name 
  • Swipe your Rapid Rewards Membership Card

You will also be able to do the following things at the airport’s self-service check-in kiosk: 

  1. Check luggage
  1. Only the kiosks located at the ticket counter can be used to check luggage
  2. Kiosks located in the lobby area cannot be used to issue bag tags
  1. Print your boarding pass 
  2. Add a Rapid Rewards number to your reservation
  3. Upgrade to a Business Select Fare
  4. Change your flight
  5. Enter your name to the standby list
  6. Print your itinerary receipt

Note

Passengers with the following types of reservations are not eligible for self-service check-inand will need to check in at the airport ticket counter:

  • Passengers traveling with paper tickets 
  • Unaccompanied minors
  • Passengers traveling with pets
  • Passengers traveling on age-qualifying fares 
  • Passengers requiring special assistance 

Southwest Airlines EarlyBird Check-in

The EarlyBird option (USD 15–25 one-way per passenger) checks you in automatically before the traditional 24-hour period—up to 36 hours before departure. 

An EarlyBird check-in doesn’t require you to check in because you’ll be automatically checked-in and assigned a position for boarding earlier—plus you’ll get earlier access to the overhead bin for your carry-on bags. 

How to Purchase the EarlyBird Check-in 

You can purchase the EarlyBird check-in option up to 36 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time in any of the following ways. 

  • Online from Southwest.com 
  • Over the phone 
  • From Southwest Airlines’ mobile site
  • From the official Android or iOS app 

You can buy it as part of your original flight purchase, or add it later—at least 36 hours before your flight’s departure.

Southwest Airlines Curbside Check-in

You can check in for domestic flights from the airport’s curbside at most U.S. airports (but not for international flights). To check in from the curbside, you will need:

  • Your photo ID 
  • Your flight reservation code
  • Your flight number or electronic ticket number 

For the exact check-in and cut-off times, visit the Airport Information page.

Southwest Airlines Airport Check-in 

You can also check in physically at the Southwest Airlines’ airport counter. After you show your valid travel documents at the airport counter:

  • You’ll be able to check in your bags 
  • You’ll be assigned a seat 
  • You’ll be given your boarding pass 

For more information on Southwest Airlines’ check-in times and counters, visit the Airport Information page.

Southwest Airlines Boarding Process

When you check-in, you’ll be assigned a boarding group (A, B, or C) and position (1-60+). Your boarding pass will display a combination of your group and position (say A2). This represents a reserved spot in the boarding group at the gate. The numbered posts at each gate area indicate where you must line up. When your boarding group is called, you will have to find your designated spot in line and board the aircraft in numerical order with your group.

Southwest Airlines Boarding Order 

Southwest Airlines’ boarding order is as follows:

  1. Preboarding
  1. Passengers authorized to preboard get to go before everyone else—including Group A. 
  2. Preboarding passengers include those with specific seating needs—such as those who have a disability or need assistance in getting to their seats or stowing assistive devices. 
  3. Preboarding passengers can board with a travel companion for assistance, but they are not allowed to sit in an exit row.
  1. Group A 1–60+
  2. Family Boarding, Active Military and A-List/A-List Preferred
  3. Group B 1–60+
  4. Group C 1–60+

Frequently Asked Questions on Southwest Airlines Check-in Policy

Southwest Airlines flight check-in time for web and mobile app check-in starts 24 hours before departure and closes 60, 90, 120, or 180 minutes before departure—depending on your departure and destination city. For the exact check-in and cut-off times, visit the Airport Information page.

You can check in at an airport self-service kiosk from 3 hours to 30, 60, or 90 minutes before your flight’s departure time—depending on your departure and destination city. 

Southwest Airlines EarlyBird check-in will automatically check you in 36 hours before flight departs, so you won’t have to check in for your flight yourself.

Southwest Airlines curbside check-in is available at most U.S. airports. You can check in at the curbside from 3 hours to 1 hour before departure, depending on your departure and destination city. 

You can check in physically at the airport counter for your Southwest Airlines flight and collect your boarding pass from 3 hours to 30, 60, or 90 minutes before departure, depending on your departure and destination city.

No, you won’t have to check in online if you’ve purchased an EarlyBird check-in, because you’ll be automatically checked in. You will receive a reserved boarding position 36 hours before your flight’s departure time. Plus, you’ll be able to print your boarding pass starting 24 hours before departure, after which you can obtain your boarding pass from the Ticket Counter, Skycap Podium (if available), or online.

You can check in for a Southwest Airlines flight online via Southwest.com, with the mobile app, via EarlyBird check-in, or at the airport (curbside, self-service kiosk, or counter).

Checking in 24 hours before your flight’s departure may not get you a good boarding position (and seat), because the best spots (A1–15) either go to Business Select passengers or those who pay to upgrade to a better boarding group. 

Southwest Airlines EarlyBird check-in may be worth it if: 

  • You’re taking a long flight and seat selection is important. 
  • You want to sit with your family or group and you don’t qualify for family boarding. 
  • You’re busy and may forget to check in on time. 

You can get a free EarlyBird check-in if you have one of these credit cards: 

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card 
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

Both of these credit cards entitle you to four A 1–15 slots every year. 

You can check in for your Southwest flight starting 24 hours before departure. However, if you’ve purchased an EarlyBird check-in, you’ll be automatically checked in for your flight 36 hours before departure. 

You can check in for your Southwest Airlines flight online, with the mobile app, via (automatic) EarlyBird check-in, or at the airport (curbside, self-service kiosk, or airport counter).

The Southwest Airlines check-in procedure involves the following steps: 

  1. Check in for your flight in any of these ways:
    1. Online via Southwest.com
      (starting 24 hours before departure)
    2. With the mobile app
      (starting 24 hours before departure)
    3. Via EaryBird check-in
      (starting 36 hours before departure)
    4. At the airport (curbside, kiosk, counter)
      (starting 3 hours before departure)
  2. Reach the airport ticket counter at least: 
    1. 2 hours before departure for domestic flight 
    2. 3 hours before departure for international flights 
  3. After reaching the airport:
    1. Get your passport/travel documents verified
    2. Check in your luggage at least 60 minutes before departure 
    3. Receive your boarding pass
    4. Reach the boarding gate at least 30 minutes before departure

Southwest Airlines’ automatic check-in is available to Business Select passengers and passengers holding a Rapid Reward A-List Preferred status and A-List members. It starts 36 hours before departure and checks you in and assigns an early boarding position a full 12 hours before general boarding positions open up to other passengers, thus offering you priority boarding privileges.

If you’ve been automatically checked in, you can print your boarding pass starting 24 hours before departure. 

No, you cannot, but you can check your bags at an airport curbside, Bag Drop kiosk, or airport ticket counter.

You can use the Southwest Airlines app to check in with your mobile device from 24 hours to 60 minutes before departure, depending on where you’re departing from and where you’re headed. After you check in, your mobile boarding pass will be sent to your mobile device. 

You can use check in with the mobile app if you have an e-ticket, you have your confirmation code/e-ticket number/frequent flyer number to access your flight booking, you’re not a special needs passenger, your airport accepts mobile boarding passes, or you’re not travelling to or from the United States on an international flight. 

No, Southwest Airlines does not assign seats at check-in or later.

Yes, you can check in your bags at Southwest Airlines self-service check-in kiosk?

Yes, you can pay your bag fee at Southwest Airlines self-service check-in kiosk.

No, Southwest Airlines does not charge any fee for seat assignments fee—because it does not assign seats.

Southwest Airlines recommends that you reach the airport at least:

  • 2 hours before departure to catch a domestic flight within the U.S. 
  • 3 hours before departure to catch an international flight from or to the U.S. 

The recommended check-in time if you’re travelling with carry-on baggage is at least:

  • 30 minutes before departure to catch a domestic flight within the U.S.
  • 60 minutes before departure to catch an international flight from or to the U.S. 

The recommended check-in time if you’re travelling with checked baggage is at least:

  • 60 minutes before departure to catch a domestic flight within the U.S. 
  • 60 minutes before departure to catch an international flight from or to the U.S.

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