Southwest Air, which is the airline I consider when I feel like saving upwards of 50% off the price of a ticket, today introduced a new option for boarding before other people.
If you’ve never flown Southwest before, you may not know that they don’t assign seats like, well, every other airline I can think of. You get put in a group, and something between the honor system and common courtesy then decides exactly when you board, and subsequently, where you sit.
Southwest also offers “Business Select” and “A-List Customer” designations, but now the rest of us also have the opportunity, if we want to spend an extra $10, of boarding early. From their Web site:
EarlyBird Check-in is designed for passengers who have purchased electronic tickets at the Wanna Get Away Fare, Anytime Fare, Senior Fare or DING! Fare
EarlyBird boarding positions are automatically assigned and confirmed 36 hours prior to your scheduled departure time
With EarlyBird Check-in, you’ll receive a better boarding position that is confirmed for your trip. Since you’re boarding earlier, there will be more open seats and overhead bin space from which to choose. Then you can sit back and relax as the other passengers board.
(Photo by adotjdotsmith.)
Unlike other airlines, which have recently begun charging for any and all baggage (pretending, I guess, that it wasn’t already included in the price of the ticket, and that they were voluntarily losing money on the proposition for the past few decades), Southwest is offering a somewhat-innovative service for the extra fee.
Southwest Air to charge $10 to board early, Deepa Seetharaman, Reuters, Sep. 2, 2009