System Glitch Causes Southwest Elites to Lose Priority Boarding

Aug 15, 2017

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Southwest is known for its customer-friendly approach to flying, and its most loyal members of the Rapid Rewards program — A-List and A-List Preferred members — are used to priority check-in. This perk is arguably the most valuable for Southwest flyers because the carrier doesn’t assign seats, but rather allows passengers to board the aircraft based on the time they check-in.

However, in the past couple of days, Southwest elites have been experiencing some major issues with their priority check-in benefit, which automatically checks them in 36 hours in advance. As a result, A-List and A-List Preferred members have had to manually check in 24 hours in advance of their flight, resulting in B and C boarding positions. Southwest has since sent out an email to its elite members, reading in part:

“We are currently experiencing challenges with priority check-in (automatic check-in 36 hours before your flight). This has resulted in boarding positions that are less typical than what our A-List and A-List Preferred Members have come to expect. For any adverse impacts to your travel because of this issue, we sincerely apologize. Our Technology teams are working feverishly to restore priority check-in as soon as possible.”

TPG reader Andy L. alerted us that Southwest was having issue with its reservations for elites. He said that statuses for elites have been removed from all future reservations, and A-List and A-List Preferred members have had to manually add their status back to future reservations in order to make sure they earn points correctly. However, the priority check-in issue still persists.

If you’re a Southwest elite member and are traveling within the next several days, the carrier is advising you to manually check-in 24 hours in advance of your scheduled departure time. If, by manually checking in, you’re given a position in the B or C group, remember that A-List and A-List Preferred status allows you to always board between Groups A and B. The carrier said that if your status isn’t printed on your boarding pass, make sure you see a gate agent who can reprint it with the accurate information.

At this point, there’s no timeline for when this issue will be resolved, however, the Dallas-based airline said it’s working toward a solution. This is an especially unfortunate glitch, as priority check-in is especially valuable for Southwest’s most loyal flyers. As a reminder, A-List status requires 25 one-way qualifying segments or 35,000 tier qualifying points and A-List Preferred status requires 50 one-way qualifying segments or 70,000 tier qualifying points in a qualifying year.

Are you a Southwest elite? Have you experienced this issue on a recent flight?

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