Southwest EarlyBird Check-In Gets More Expensive
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Many families love flying on Southwest Airlines for a number of reasons such as free checked bags, the ability to change flights without a fee, free award redeposits, the super awesome Companion Pass, and the open seating policy where you don’t have to pay extra fees to get seats together since there are no assigned seats. Of course, the open seating policy can also backfire if you don’t end up with a boarding pass in one of the first groups as there often aren’t multiple seats together by the time you get to some of the B, and certainly the C boarding groups.
As I pointed out in this post on How to Seats Together as a Family on Southwest, families with children six years old and younger do get to board during family boarding between the A and B groups in the event the boarding passes numbers they secured at check-in are B or C numbers. However, everyone else must either be an elite A-List customer, on a higher BusinessSelect fare that secures an earlier boarding spot, or super diligent about checking in exactly at 24 hours before departure and hoping that is enough to get a “good” A boarding pass. Or, you can pony up some extra money and splurge on “EarlyBird Check-In” and not worry about any of the other stuff.
Southwest EarlyBird Check-In automatically checks you in 36 hours before your flight and secures you a better boarding pass number than you would have been able to get on your own since this check-in occurs 12 hours before the standard 24 hours before travel. This earlier boarding pass allows you to not only have a larger selection of empty seats to pick from, but also more overhead space for your carry-on bags.
Of course airlines are a for-profit enterprise, so this extra convenience comes at a price. Originally EarlyBird Check-In was $10, then in recent years the price was $12.50, and as of this week the EarlyBird Check-In price has increased to $15 one-way (origin to destination) per passenger.
In the grand scheme a $2.50 increase isn’t huge, but that does now represent a 50% increase of the price since the service was increased in 2009. However, since there is no cap on the number of people on a flight who can purchase EarlyBird Check-In, if the whole plane purchased the service it would essentially be useless to everyone except the ones making money off the airline. Because of that, the price does have to be just high enough where not everyone will purchase it in order for it to be of value to any passengers.
I don’t know if a $2.50 increase does much to change demand one way or another, but either way you should be aware that EarlyBird Check-In will now cost you $15 per person instead of the $12.50 it would have cost you last week. Also worth a mention that if you purchase EarlyBird Check-In at the time of booking your tickets you either have to purchase it for none or all passengers on the itinerary, but if you add it later you can add it for just select passengers if you choose.
Do you use EarlyBird Check-In? What boarding pass numbers do you typically get with the service?
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees