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Southwest Airlines moves cattle call online

Hate standing in line? Try sitting on line instead: Southwest is changing its cattle call seating plan.

Frequent fliers on budget Southwest Airlines are used to standing in lines. It's the only way you can guarantee yourself a good seat. Even with the coveted "A" boarding pass (which you get by checking in online before lazier people get around to it), you still have to stand in line at the airport to get a good A-class seat. No more.

Your new, more granular boarding pass. Southwest

Southwest is moving the anxiety and line-jumping from the airport to your home. Now, instead of just hoping for an "A" pass when you check in online, you get a number on your pass, like "A15." That number is your position in the boarding line. New Southwest boarding lines will be segmented into groups of five. When you get to the airport, you stand next to the pylon that has the range of numbers your ticket is in, and board with the five other people in that group. As always, online check-in for your flight opens up 24 hours before your scheduled departure. If you're not going to be near a computer at that time, you can also check in via mobile at

The new procedure is on-line (sorry) in San Antonio, and will be rolling out in other airports soon. There's a whole "boarding school" on the site.

So set your clocks and watches to the correct atomic time, and be sure to flood the Southwest servers precisely at the appointed hour, minute, and second.

This new process will make the airport more civilized and save on standing-around time, but for control freaks like me, open seating is stressful no matter where the line is. There's a free Webware T-Shirt to the first person who shows me a Southwest Airlines boarding pass sniping service (like they have for eBay auctions) that causes the airline to finally give up this archaic practice.