Southwest is currently not raising fares or charging bag fees but they are raising the fee of their EarlyBird Check-in service. Originally starting at $12.50, it now could cost $15 to $25 each way. The cost to the traveler will depend on the length of the flight and popularity of EarlyBird on that route.
What is EarlyBird Check-in?
EarlyBird Check-in is a Southwest service that automatically checks travelers in before the standard 24-hour time frame. By paying for this additional service, the traveler has the opportunity of being one of the first on the plane. If you are unfamiliar with Southwest’s boarding system, the seats are claimed on a first come, first serve basis. The boarding passes are arranged with different boarding groups (A, B, or C) and a boarding position (1-60). Passengers line up and board the plane based on the group and position. By paying an additional EarlyBird check-in fee, there is additional opportunity of being assigned in the boarding groups A or B, with a higher position number. This gives ample opportunity of grabbing the best seat and first access to the overhead bins.
This is not the first EarlyBird fee increase from Southwest
Originally, EarlyBird was introduced in 2009, charging only $10 each way. It later increased to $12.50, and then to $15 in 2016 (at the time of the original posting of this post). Another criticism of the service is there is no guarantee of being in boarding group A, or with a top boarding position number. It will be interesting to see if the service is as successful with this fee increase with no upgrades to the service itself.
Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company, specializing in business travel. We have been in the travel business for over 60 years, and provide custom mobile technology tools and superior customer service. Contact us for more information on our services or traveler assistance dashboards.