Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

No boarding priority for service members

New Arrival

Today was my first and I think will be my last time traveling with southwest since they don’t offer boarding priority, for service members on active duty, like others airlines. 


Re: No boarding priority for service members

Active Member

They do offer it to those that are in uniform.  Isn't the point of being in the military to serve our country and not get special treatment anyway?


Re: No boarding priority for service members

New Arrival

Good morning!


Allow me to start by saying thank you for your service. Southwest Airlines and all of its passengers, I assure you, are forever grateful for the daily sacrifices you make for our country. That being said, I feel it is important to provide a little business context behind why SWA doesn't offer pre-boarding to service members.


I work for another major airline which does offer pre-boarding to active duty military; however, this other airline provides seat assignments to each of its passengers prior to boarding, as do all other major airlines in the United States. Southwest Airlines is the one notable exception. They offer people the flexibility of choosing their own seat once onboard the aircraft in lieu of prepaying for seat or of subjecting themselves to the mercy of what few less-than-ideal seats may be available at time of check-in upon arrival at the airport.


Because of this feature, SWA technically loses millions of dollars every year by not charging passengers for prepaid seats. They make up potential losses, however, by allowing passengers the opportunity to pay for Early Bird Check-In ($15 - $30 per one way), pay for a Business Select ticket (often $500+ per one way), or pay nothing at all if they wish to live adventurously and try to check in as close to the 24 hour mark as possible to aim for a good boarding position.


Because of this practice, SWA has made the decision to not offer pre-boarding for non-uniformed military personnel, largely to preserve the integrity of the current anciliary product they offer their passengers. Other airlines typically offer priority boarding coupled with the purchase of a better seat, but rest assured there is still a monetary transaction included behind that.


I'm sorry if you felt disrespected. Please understand, SWA did not make this decision lightly. They wish to extend their true sense of LUV to every passenger on board each of their flights. On a happier note, as an active duty Military Passenger, you are exempt from the two-piece baggage limit and will not be subject to excess, oversize, or overweight baggage charges, provided that none of the pieces of baggage exceeds 100 pounds in weight and 80 inches in size (L+W+H). This policy also applies if you are traveling with permanent change of station orders.


I hope you've had a safe, pleasant flight. On behalf of the entire community, we all hope you give SWA another chance to impress you with their Warrior Spirit, Caring Heart, and Fun-LUVing attitude.


And again, thank you for your service!



Re: No boarding priority for service members

New Arrival

As a veteran, I do understand the sacrifices.


I also understand how many other careers have significant sacrifices and dangers.  I always wonder if we should have this long list of people that should get special treatment?   For example, our local Lowes has military parking spaces.  I do not use them.