Southwest Raised Upgraded Boarding Fees — But Won’t Say Where

Feb 22, 2018

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Southwest has increased the fee for upgraded boarding for some of its flights. The fee is normally $30 or $40 each way, depending on the flight. Now, the airline has added a $50 possibility as well.

A Southwest spokeswoman told USA Today the $50 fee will only apply to several “high demand” markets, but she would not say how exactly how many markets it affects or name them specifically.

The airline also sent this statement to TPG:

“Every few years, we review the price of our services in order to align with market and operational conditions as well as uphold the quality of our offerings. Southwest has increased the price of purchasing Upgraded Boarding to $50 in a handful of our markets while others remain $30 or $40 for the service.”

Upgraded boarding is an add-on option that gives Southwest customers spots in the airline’s coveted A1-A15 boarding positions, which are first to board and get first crack at choosing a seat. These positions are sometimes reserved for Business Select passengers, but on flights with no Business Select, A1-A15 are offered as an upgraded boarding add-on.

Southwest, known for its unassigned seats, also offers EarlyBird Check-In as an option for a shot at a better boarding position. That $15 fee alone made the airline $358 million last year. But, EarlyBirds are not always guaranteed a position in the A boarding group because Business Select passengers and frequent fliers with status board first.

The new fee is now listed on the airline’s fee chart.

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