HOWTO: Board Southwest Airlines Faster

Southwest Airlines has passengers board in three groups, A, B and C, with A’s going first. Here’s an at-home hack we spotted for if your boarding pass says B or C.

1) View your boarding pass in Firefox.
2) Click “File” then “Save Page As”. Choose the “Save as Type” as Web Page, Complete.
3) Save the graphic at right.
4) Open the saved page with any HTML editor. Change the boardingB.gif or boardingC.gif to your saved file.
5) Print out your modified boarding pass and bring it to the airport.

This of course only works if you’ve purchased your ticket online.


Edit Your Comment

  1. The_Truth says:

    haha, yes that right, you can ‘haX0rz’ the system, pissing off others in the process, but


    which I happen to be. So it doesent matter how early I book my flight, nor how much I pay, I cant check in online, I have to go to the counter, which pushes me back, to the C group, occasionaly if I get lucky I get the B group.

    So, yeah, great hack and all, but if you guys could come up with something so that I could atleast participate in the regular system then that would be cool.

  2. Pelagius says:

    Here’s another idea. Even if you aren’t handicapped, show up at the
    gate in a wheelchair. You’ll get on before those other suckers! Screw

  3. JAFO says:

    Thanks alot for screwing those of us who take the time and make the effort to legitimately get an “A” boarding pass!

  4. bambino says:

    Yeah, this sucks for real. Grow up.

  5. Drinker Nisti says:

    Doesn’t altering a boarding pass make you a terrorist? I think that’s in the Patriot Act somewhere…

  6. Pelagius says:

    From the comments section of the referring blog:
    “I fly Southwest all the time. Their policy on this is that, if you or someone else modifies your boarding pass in any way, then it’s void. This is on the ticket when you print it out, so you have been warned.”

    Have a nice walk, pseudo A-listers!

  7. TedSez says:

    If the TSA discovered you had altered your boarding pass, they might very well find you suspicious… with all that entails. I wouldn’t do this in a million years.

  8. Lemurs says:

    They’d have no way to prove it in a million years. It’s on paper at that point. This is a great way to make Southwest go to a real boarding system. I hate flying them sometimes. It’s like being on the subway with slightly less smelly people.

  9. any such name says:

    I’m not sure what’s funnier – this post, or the fact that some people seem pissy about it.

  10. Smoking Pope says:

    2 words for anyone thinking about altering your ticket: Cavity search.

  11. bambino says:

    Any Such Name, posters are pissy because it’s is showing people how to screw the law-abiding customer, who is the same person that this site purports to help.

  12. kostia says:

    With the same technique (check in online, edit the source code, reprint boarding pass) you could change the registered passenger’s name to your own name and make it past the ID check at the airport with a ticket that isn’t yours.

    Still sound like an innocent hack?

  13. LTS! says:

    Of course it’s an innocent hack. After all the only people guilty are the one’s who do it right?

    Up until now someone was doing this and getting away with it. Putting it up here it will be sure to draw attention which means the hole will be closed and the potential hacking problem resolved.

    Of course you could just send an email to Southwest. It’s events like these that make companies hate customers even more.

  14. any such name says:

    bambino – not getting a good seat on a cheap flight get you riled up that much?

    kostia – are we a lil’ paranoid over there? i flew with a knife in my bag within the past 6 months, and yet, the world still turns.

  15. billhelm says:

    seems like it would be easy enough for them to add a check to the computer that scans your barcode to foil this.

  16. Lemurs,

    If you hate flying them, then stop doing it. I’ll happily take my cheap ticket and print out my boarding pass at midnight. Anything’s better than America West.

  17. This is a solution in search of a problem. Frankly, anyone savvy enough to do this should be able to just print the damned thing at the appropriate time.

  18. Also, as a near religious A-boarder (in fact, most of my online tickets have a little #1 on the page, showing that I was the VERY FIRST PERSON TO PRINT MY TICKET!) I must say this is pretty shady.

    Here’s another ‘hack’ – find out how your local nightclub marks the hands of patrons who have to leave the bar and put it on your hand! You can get in without paying cover!

  19. LLH says:

    here’a an idea – DON’T FLY SOUTHWEST. for like say, 15 bucks more you can fly a real airline, that you can pick out your seat at the time of purchase on-line. then you can only blame yourself if you suck at picking seats.

  20. Ben Popken says:

    Flexo writes:

    “Why would anyone want to board a plane faster? The only benefit is
    getting your luggage in an overhead rack, but there’s almost always room
    anyway. By sitting down sooner, you’ll be sitting in the uncomfortable
    seats longer, and if you don’t have a window seat, you’ll be standing up
    to let people in and out. Unless a flight is overbooked, I’d rather board
    towards the end.”

  21. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    The payoff here doesn’t seem to fit the risk.

    Payoff: You get to cram your posterier into an airline seat 5..possibly 10 minutes sooner than your B and C section suckers.

    Risk: Being detained, cavity searched and interrogated by TSA agents and spending the night in a prison cell with a big drunk and lonely trucker named “Jake.” And, possibly spending the remainder of the Bush administration having your mail read, your bank records watched, and your phone tapped.

  22. joeamerlot says:

    I am a healthy 73 y. o. and I often travel with my 65 y .o. healthy wife. We plan and book our trips well ahead but this does not help us if we continue to use Soutwest Airline.

    During our recent Islip- Fort Lauderdale and back, we were forced to sit separately each and every time. The “24 hours ahead” boarding-card request via the internet was refused because of our “senior status.” And believe me, we were exactly the same two people when we were “checked” in Islip and “re-checked” in Ft. Lauderdale. We ended up on “Waiting Line C.” both times.

    One airline employee advised us to ask for “pre-boarding” next time.

    This is INCREDIBLE ! Southwest Airline discriminates against NON-HANDICAPPED SENIORS !

  23. ChiSoxFan says:

    @LLH, thanks but I’ll continue to fly Southwest with their great staff and customer service. I fly them weekly for work and have nothing but great experience and think your “real airline” comment is quite ignorant. Have fun picking out your seat before hand and sitting next to a screaming baby or gaggle of loud teenagers. I will continue getting A seating by checking in online (legitimately) and choosing who I sit by. I have flown many airlines over the years and there is no comparison to the great customer service frequent flyers get with Southwest. I hope your ego continues to be stroked by overpaying for bad service and late flights with your “real” airlines. :rolleyes:

  24. mconfoy says:

    Use the unmodified one to get through security. Use modified one to board.

  25. FreakyStyley says:

    This would be disastrous for me. I get pulled for ‘random screenings’ enough as it is. Six times in a row at last count. Like I need to hand them another reason to grope me.

  26. grouse says:

    See what happened to someone else who decided it would be a good idea to alter boarding passes.

  27. sr105 says:

    I knew a guy (pre 9/11) who would always show up just in time for boarding an SWA flight and would pay a child $1 to swap numbered boarding cards with him. Families always arrived early enough to get the low numbers, and they didn’t need them since families travelling with small children always board first, anyway.

  28. perfectfire says:

    This definitely does not (or at least should not) work since it is a violation of federal law to mark luggage as containing a firearm. I always print out a copy of this: to take with me to the airport in case some idiot airline employee tries to mark my luggage. That’s just asking to get robbed.

  29. This hack has been around since.. oh I don’t know… the advent of the Xerox machine?

  30. Mark001 says:

    I have an idea for the issue of artificially getting group A, but I need assistance from someone who flies using Southwest Airlines and prints boarding passes online. Boarding passes can only be printed starting *exactly* 24 hours before the flight, at which point the boarding-pass access page becomes accessible. Could someone please post/attach for me here, the Web page (URL + HTML code) of the Web page that comes up directly *after* logging in with the Confirmation number & first/last name to “Check in online”?

    On the main SWA page,, you will see a link on the right called “Check In Online”, which will prompt for the following three items: Confirmation number, Passenger first name, and Passenger last name. What I need is the HTML code of the page that comes up after logging into this — but it needs to be within the 24-hour limit. This is the intermediary page that allows you to mark a checkbox next to each passenger’s name and then press “Submit” to access the boarding pass. Therefore, if anyone is about to fly Southwest, please save this page for me and post the HTML code here — you can delete any personal information such as passenger names, etc. (You can replace such items with just so I know.) I just need the code of the page.

    The URL of the page should be one of these or something similar: