Southwest Airlines Flight Travel Tips

Southwest Airlines flight from Portland, OR offered a beautiful view of Mt. Hood!
The more I fly Southwest Airlines, the more I learn about how to have the best flight experience possible.  This week I want to share with my readers some tips I recently learned. 

When we traveled from Dallas Love Field to Portland, Oregon for our Pacific Northwest family vacation in the summer of 2017 we experienced something new.  Even though we checked in for our Southwest flight exactly 24 hours prior to our flight we were not able to sit together even though our boarding passes were B18-B20. How could this happen on a plane that seats 150+ people?  As we discovered in flight, our plane to Portland, Oregon was a connecting flight from Chicago, Illinois.  By the time we got on the plane in Dallas it was already filled with people from Chicago making it impossible for us to sit together.  

My son & I were lucky as we were able to get an aisle seat next to nice people.  My husband was... well... not so lucky.  A mom & 4 small children under the age of 6 were sitting next to & in front of my husband.  If children crying was the only problem he had, it would not have been so bad.  But the FOUR hour flight was worse, much worse. It seems one of the children gets motion sickness & threw up everywhere causing spatter to hit my husband.  This occurred at the beginning of the flight. To say the least my husband did not enjoy his flight to Portland. 

The question is HOW can we avoid this in the future? 
I believe one possible way to avoid this in the future would be purchase Southwest Airlines Early Bird Check-in so we could get on the plane first & get seats together. Southwest Airlines boards in groups & you can choose to sit anywhere you like. I have read several blogs about Early Bird Check-in.  I used to think you had to purchase it when you purchased your tickets however I have since learned you can purchase them AFTER you buy tickets as well.  Another benefit is if you purchase the Early Bird Check-in after ticket purchase you do not have to buy it for all members of your group. I started thinking, what if we only purchased Early Bird Check-in for one member in our group? Can that person hold seats for the other members of the group?  I have seen people on flights doing this so I thought, next time we will give it a try. We are lucky that we only need 3 seats on a Southwest flight it would be easy to save enough seats so we can sit together. Our upcoming flight to Washington DC I purchased Early Bird Check-in for myself.  My husband & son plan to check-in at the 24 hour mark as we have previously done & I will save them seats. Check back in the coming months to see how this plan worked for our family. 

By the way if you are a family with children under the age of 6, active military, or a minor travelling alone you will get to board after the A group boarding & do not need to purchase Early Bird Check-in.

The next question I had was, is my Southwest flight connecting from another city? 
This was the problem we experienced going to Portland, Oregon.  How would I know if my Southwest flight was connecting from another city in advance?  After doing research I found a website that tells me the flight plan for my flight start to finish. I could then decide if I needed to purchase Early Bird Check-in.  The website I used was Flightview. You simply enter your airline, flight number, & date & it will show you the entire flight schedule.  For my upcoming Washington DC flight I was able to determine the flight originated both directions with my flight meaning I should not encounter a plane full of people when I board. I highly recommend using Flightview to check your flight schedule. 
Portland, Oregon

Thank you for visiting my blog. In the coming weeks I will post more about our family vacation to the Pacific Northwest in July 2017.  Upcoming itineraries include Seattle, WA, Olympic National Park, Astoria, OR, & Seaside, OR. Make sure you subscribe to my blog so you don't miss any of my posts from our family vacation on a budget. 

May God bless on your next getaway!