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Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

ATY
New Arrival

Paid the $40 for Early Bird and got boarding # C-15.   It seems most everyone on this flight also bought Early Bird and so all ~150 of us were randomly assigned to A-16 to C-15 or higher at the 36 hours advance point, and I was unlucky in this lottery.  
The Early Bird policy promises hassle-free automatic check-in 12 hours before the schmucks in general boarding whose earliest check-in option is 24 hours.  It does deliver on this promise, but when the majority of passengers buy Early Bird, the program FAILS to deliver on their promise to “improve your seat selection options to help you get your favorite seat” (quote from the SWA website).  
I certainly will not be finding my favorite seat with a C-15 boarding position, and so am super frustrated with the way SWA describes this program.  It is truly false advertising and I will be demanding a refund at the airport today.  

19 REPLIES 19

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

dfwskier
Top Contributor
Solution

@ATY wrote:

Paid the $40 for Early Bird and got boarding # C-15.   It seems most everyone on this flight also bought Early Bird and so all ~150 of us were randomly assigned to A-16 to C-15 or higher at the 36 hours advance point, and I was unlucky in this lottery.  

 

Well that is not accurate. Nothing about EB is random. The earliest EB purchaser get's the best available seat and the last EB purchaser gets the worst EB seat.


The Early Bird policy promises hassle-free automatic check-in 12 hours before the schmucks in general boarding whose earliest check-in option is 24 hours.  It does deliver on this promise, but when the majority of passengers buy Early Bird, the program FAILS to deliver on their promise to “improve your seat selection options to help you get your favorite seat” (quote from the SWA website).  

 

But is DOES deliver on that promise. EVERY ONE of those EB purchasers got better boarding positions than EVERY ONE of those people that checked themselves in at t+24. hours.


I certainly will not be finding my favorite seat with a C-15 boarding position, and so am super frustrated with the way SWA describes this program.  It is truly false advertising and I will be demanding a refund at the airport today.  

 

You don't deserve, and won't get , a refund for the reasons stated above.


 

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@ATY wrote:

the program FAILS to deliver on their promise to “improve your seat selection options to help you get your favorite seat” (quote from the SWA website).  


You got a better selection of seats than the people that did not purchase EarlyBird and boarded after you, that is what is promised. Seems that you did not understand what EarlyBird is. Always good to seek clarification before complaining.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

FlyWithLUV
Active Member

I'm curious as to what flight this is where everyone purchases Early Bird...

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

parpitt1
Active Member

I am sorry to hear about your frustration. That being said Early Bird Check-in is probably one of SWA's biggest money makers that costs the airline nothing and delivers almost zero value to the customer. The SWA employee who thought the concept up was a business genius.

Again sorry for your frustration and I hope you have safe travels

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@parpitt1 wrote:

 and delivers almost zero value to the customer.


100% disagree.  The problem is people expect things that it does not promise.  It checks you in so you don't have to, that's it.  That can be incredibly valuable if you are not available at check-in time, but people have this vision of guaranteed A boarding positions that is completely incorrect.  Almost every complaint I have seen about it is because the customer assumed something or didn't understand something, not an actual failure of the product.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

denno
Active Member

The best and truest application of a customer-friendly "Early Bird" process would be that when you buy your ticket you get your boarding sequence number.  Bingo, problem solved!  WN can still require actual check-in within 24 hours if that's necessary, but it doesn't have to cost you your place in line if you're driving, swimming or sitting in the dentist's chair the day before your flight.

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@denno wrote:

The best and truest application of a customer-friendly "Early Bird" process would be that when you buy your ticket you get your boarding sequence number.  Bingo, problem solved!  WN can still require actual check-in within 24 hours if that's necessary, but it doesn't have to cost you your place in line if you're driving, swimming or sitting in the dentist's chair the day before your flight.


That fails to account for A-List passengers who will always be ahead of EBCI.  The exact point of EBCI is you don't have to worry if you are driving, etc... you will get checked in.  That's what it offers, nothing else, no magical pass to the front of the line.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

denno
Active Member

No, MiddleSeat, numbering at time of purchase can accommodate A listers because they can be sequenced before the “hoi polloi,” since Southwest knows who they are.   Within 24 hours of the flight the sequence order can be adjusted for passenger cancellations and then commence issuance of boarding passes.  MS, your “Southwest can do no wrong” chauvinism is showing again.  If all the people who complained on this thread about early bird check in thinking it’s a scam feel that way, even if the company’s always right, something needs to be done to address the lack of customer satisfaction on this issue.

Re: Early Bird Check-in: NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, FALSE ADVERTISING

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@denno what?

Are you saying an EarlyBird customer is assigned their boarding position at purchase, let's say A20, then when an A-List passenger purchases their ticket what position would they receive?

 

If instead you are suggesting that all EarlyBird purchasers should be put in a queue based on when they purchase and then boarding positions are assigned 24 hours prior based on that position in queue, that is exactly what happens now. The EarlyBird queue is assigned positions after all A-List passengers and their companions are assigned positions. 

 

Again, your lack of knowledge regarding the process is showing.

 

--TheMiddleSeat