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Flying Southwest? Passenger says, EarlyBird is Worth It

April 12, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,Southwest

southwest earlybird

My editor recently flew roundtrip from Los Angeles to Indianapolis on Southwest and used the EarlyBird Check-in system for the first time. Here’s her account:

Southwest is a fine airline, but normally it just doesn’t do it for me – in the same way that “going out to brunch” doesn’t do it for me. With the latter, I don’t like buffets – I want to order my food, not hunt for it. Same with airlines – let me order my seat, not hunt for one.

Clearly I am not a “do-it-yourselfer”.

But I found myself on Southwest recently – it had the schedule I wanted – and I thought, I’ll give thisĀ EarlyBird check-in a whirl. And am I glad I did.

It’s pretty cheap – $10 each way. Not a budget-buster.

Here’s how it worked for me on the four flights of my trip: I got an “A” boarding card in the 20′s (the lowest was 20, the highest was 24), and I could have sat in the front row bulk-head seats every time if I wanted to (I did in one instance, but usually I like having my “kitchen sink” purse by my feet, in case I need a pen or an emery board or my printout of the “Best of Rick” ABC columns – you know, useful stuff).

Anyway, it was great and I highly recommend it, and no, Southwest isn’t paying me a dime for this testimonial, more’s the pity.

Oh, wait. Now that I have shot off my mouth, what if everyone takes advantage of this from now on? Could that mean there will be so many of us EarlyBirder’s that we’ll be relegated to the dreaded C-list for boarding? Hmm. What I said above? Never mind.

3 Responses to “Flying Southwest? Passenger says, EarlyBird is Worth It”

  1. rainyb says:

    Can someone explain what the early-bird procedure is??

  2. CM says:

    I did this recently for my elderly parents when they were flying to Florida. You sign up online for the service, pay the additional $10, and 24 hours before your flight you get assigned a boarding “group” not a boarding pass or seat assignment. My parents would never have purchased tickets online without me helping them. When it came to the day before their flight, I was not available to get their group assignment, but my Dad called Southwest with his confirmation number and got them to fax it, instead. I’m not sure how they managed on the return flight, which ended up being canceled due to flooding anyway. I’ll bet the link at EarlyBird, above, can explain it.

  3. Rick Seaney says:


    Just go to Southwest’s website at http://www.southwest.com/ and they’ll be happy to answer all your questions; it’s simply a fee you pay that gets you a better spot in the boarding line. You sign up for it and pay for it when you make your online reservations – then, you don’t have to be ready to print your boarding pass at exactly 24 hours before boarding to get the best possible position in line because your “better position” is saved for you, and will be reflected on your boarding pass when you print it out.

    Hope this helps,

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