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Price Hike for Southwest EarlyBird Check-In and Upgraded Boarding

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Southwest EarlyBird Check-In and Upgraded Boarding Price Goes Up

Southwest Airlines has a quirky boarding process. Passengers don’t get assigned seats, but instead they get to seat on whatever seat is open when they board. So boarding early is crucial to find a good spot on the plane and also to find space for your carry-ons.

In order to board early, most people try to check in as soon as it is available, which is 24 prior to departure. If you do it exactly 24 hours ahead, you have a good chance of boarding in Group A or B.

But Southwest also offers paid options for those who don’t want to chance it. The carrier has an EarlyBird Check-In which automatically reserves your place in line 36 hours before departure. Checking in 12 hours before everyone else guarantees you a good boarding spot. EarlyBird Check-In varied in price, between $15 and $25 each way, per customer. Now the price range has jumped up between $15 and $99.

Upgraded Boarding boarding has also gotten more expensive. This is an option for those who want a guaranteed spot between A1 and A15, meaning you are one of the first people to board. When available, Upgraded Boarding has a price between $30 and $80 for every leg of your trip. The price range is now between $30 and $149.

These price increases will likely affect the most popular routes, where now you have to pay $99 instead of $25 for EarlyBird Check-In for example. And that’s the price per customer, one-way. So for a round-trip for two people, you end up paying $296 more.

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Based in NYC. Points/miles enthusiast for years and actively writing about it for the last 6+ years at Danny the Deal Guru. I'm always looking out for deals. Making a few bucks is always nice, but the traveling is by far the best part of this business.

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  1. Pay $99, get A 31 and end up being the 58th person to board the plane? Hard pass. Just start assigning seats already.


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