Did you know there may be a way you can automatically check yourself in on a Southwest flight online without having to agonize (me!) about remembering to check in exactly 24 hours ahead of your flight’s departure time in order to get the best boarding order?

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How to Automatically Check in for a Southwest Flight

Southwest flight check in

Would you rather automatically check in for your Southwest flight instead of trying to remember to check in the INSTANT you’re allowed (24 hours ahead of departure)?

The Art of Travel Hacking blog  offers a small bit of code you can install in your browser that will automatically check you in!

Once checked in, the code also works to send your boarding pass by text to your phone :).

The script works for browsers, including:

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Some Android browsers


Step by Step How It Works

Southwest wing over water vertical

Once you have added the script following his steps here, you will go to Southwest.com, click on Check In before the 24-hour mark of your flight but no more than two weeks beforehand.

You’ll try to check in for your Southwest flight and then you’ll get an error message that it’s too early.

BUT, you will also see a box below that lets you enter the check-in date and time you’d like, the phone number you want your boarding pass texted to, and then click on Auto Check in.

My readers recommend setting the check-in time to at least 4-5 seconds AFTER your 24-hour mark ahead of departure to ensure it doesn’t try to check you in too early.

The blog also notes to make sure your computer’s clock is accurate, make adjustments for time zones in your departing and arrival destinations, and you may need to keep your computer from “falling asleep.”

Read his post for suggestions on how to fix these issues.

It also works for international flights, BUT you need to have your passport and emergency contact information filled in beforehand. You can do that on Southwest’s Manage Reservations page.

What Others Have to Say About This Technique

Big caveat here: I HAVE NOT TRIED THIS.

But I think it sounds like such a good idea I wanted to share it with you.

Here is one reader’s review:

I tried the Chrome extension to check in to Southwest. I followed the steps, and it seemed to set up correctly. I put 2 seconds beyond my check-in time as recommended. I also was right by my laptop in case of any glitches. Well, it didn’t work. At the time, it said that it was checking in, but “the wheel kept spinning” so I just manually checked in. Possibly even the 2 seconds was not enough time, and I should have put 5 seconds. 
Maybe I would try the extension again, but only if I was with my laptop to manually do it in case of any problems. And I would extend the time by 5 seconds instead of 2.
I have other readers who’ve confirmed this definitely worked for them!

More tips on Southwest flight check-in and how to get the best seat on a Southwest flight.


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  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.

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