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Never get a bad seat on a Southwest flight again

A free Web service will automatically check you into your Southwest flight exactly at the 24-hour mark.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

One of the most anxiety-inducing moments you'll hear a Southwest customer talk about is the process of checking in as close to 24 hours before a flight, hoping to see a boarding priority number prefaced with an A. The lower the number, the sooner you get to board the plane and pick a seat of your choosing.

A new service, originally covered by Lifehacker, will automatically check you in at exactly the right time, ensuring that you are on the elusive A-list. The name of the service: Southwest A-List, of course.

Here's how it works:

  • After booking your flight with Southwest, you'll receive a confirmation e-mail containing an itinerary number.
  • Forward this e-mail to
  • Your e-mail will be scanned, the important information will be pulled out and the server will set a time to check you into your flight. You'll also receive a confirmation e-mail from the service outlining all of your information and giving you the time the service will check you in.

If all goes right, you'll get a boarding pass in the A group. But as the developer, Andy Jiang, pointed out this morning, the service is in its infancy, and there are going to be issues. So with that in mind, you should be ready to check yourself in should you not get an e-mail from Southwest with your boarding number immediately after the 24-hour mark.

Not having a flight in the next 24 hours, I can't confirm how well this works, so if you use the service, please leave a comment below stating what your experience was like.

You can read more about how and why the service was built, along with what happens with your information here.