I’n not a big fan of Southwest. They do offer cheap fares and have lots of sales, but maybe since I’m in the East Coast I look more at JetBlue for cheap travel. But many people love Southwest and they were voted as the best airline in North America from customers. One of their quirks is that they do not offer assigned seats. But they do have the option to choose a seat, for a fee. It’s called an early boarding fee and Southwest plans to increase that fee on some flights.
EarlyBird Check-In, which gives travelers a better boarding position in Southwest’s unique open seating system, will go from a flat $15 per person each way to $15, $20 or $25 depending on the length of the flight and the popularity of EarlyBird Check-In on the route. The switch to variable pricing, was unveiled to employees last Friday and is due to be formally announced Monday, begins Aug. 29.
Southwest introduced Early-Bird Check-In in 2009, charging $10 each way. Since then it first went up to $12.50 and then to $15 in 2016.
Southwest has likely made made about $200 million from EarlyBird Check-In so far this year (up from $358 million for all of 2017) according to Inc.com. And, with this change ti the fee structure, I’m sure they are aiming to earn even more. People who are willing to pay $15 to board early, will probably pay that extra $5 or $10 as well.