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Travel Companions Can Now Board With Southwest A-List and A-List Preferred Members

Anyone on the SAME RESERVATION (that means you’ll have the same confirmation number) on Southwest Airlines as someone who holds elite status with Southwest (called A-List or A-List Preferred) can now board with the elite status member.

Those who hold elite status with Southwest are checked in ahead of everyone else (36 hours ahead of the flight departure time) aside from Business Select passengers who are guaranteed A 1-15 boarding orders, meaning they get a higher boarding order and thus first pick of seats on the plane.

Southwest check-in


Does This Apply to Companions?

Yes! According to Southwest’s rules and regulations, this does apply to a Companion, who is flying with you on your Southwest Companion Pass, except if the Companion Pass holder: 

  • Purchased a Business Select® fare
  • Purchased Upgraded Boarding
  • Added the Companion after they had been assigned a boarding position
  • Changed a flight on their day of travel
  • Was impacted by a flight delay or cancellation

You can find more information about getting onboard together here.

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Does This Mean That Those Who Buy EarlyBird Will Board Southwest Planes Even Later?

Southwest Boarding Gate

A question I’m already seeing floating around is about the impact this will have on those who buy “EarlyBird” seating. You can purchase “EarlyBird” for $15-$25 per way on Southwest to be checked in ahead of the general public, who can’t check in until 24 hours ahead of departure.


Everything You Want to Know About EarlyBird


Yes, this will push EarlyBird purchasers BEHIND those who board with elite status members.

But… I don’t think that’s a HUGE deal. There are usually only a handful of elite status members on most Southwest flights, as elite status is difficult to achieve except for those who fly frequently (usually for business and honestly other airlines have better perks for business travelers).

So, yes, that’s a bummer, but not the end of the world. 

This does make EarlyBird less valuable, however, and it’s already a bit of a gamble, because you’re not guaranteed any particular boarding order (you could still end up in B). Plus, you’re “checked in” in the order in which you purchase EarlyBird, so if you wait until close to your flight date to purchase it, it might not be very helpful or a good spend.


Why Are They Doing This?

I think Southwest is trying to encourage more people to “pay” for flights, which is the primary way you earn this elite status. By adding more “perks” for holding elite status, they are hoping you’ll see the benefit of trying to earn it :).

What do you think of this new “perk” for elite status members?


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2 thoughts on “Travel Companions Can Now Board With Southwest A-List and A-List Preferred Members”

  1. I am one of those elite travelers. Did you know that a business can book up to 7 others on that same reservation … not related to traveler … even just colleagues and they will all board in front of elite travelers? This means for A Listers that if you have 2 A list in front of you with 7 people on their reservation you could have 14 people board on front of you that are NOT A list. I confirmed this with Southwest yesterday. They said the research said people would not be upset with this policy. The research is wrong. This does not enhance my A list status. It diminishes it. Very disappointed in SWA.

    • Hi Debbie,
      Very interesting! I did not realize that about business travel and not good news for the rest of us. But truly other airlines have much better perks for business travelers for the same cost or less usually (I compared this once for my dad who travels on business a lot), so hopefully not too many business travelers will be on each Southwest flight.


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