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Early bird checkin

cnllandon
New Arrival

so i am confused by all these forums ont his subject in that does ebci really get you in like say to b sections that would get u on board earlier versus someone that just waits for the 24 hour check in process

6 REPLIES 6

Re: Early bird checkin

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

EarlyBird Check-In automatically checks you in. That's really the only guaranteed benefit.

 

Positions are based on the date you purchase EBCI, so those who add it to their itinerary the farthest in advance of travel will get the lowest numbered (best) positions. Those who buy it late can find themselves with B (or even C) positions.

 

EBCI positions will always be behind those who bought Business Select, or paid $30/$40 at the gate for Upgraded Boarding, or who are Southwest's most frequent flyers -- "A-List" and "A-List Preferred."

 

Glitches and bad policies* not withstanding, those who buy EBCI will always be ahead of those who didn't and just check themselves in at t-24.

 

*Southwest re-uses the positions of people who are checked in but then cancel their flight before departure. Since these are often A-Listers, those positions can be very good -- low A's. Any random person checking themselves in manually, even at the last minute, can get one of those great positions if they happen to be the next person to check in after the other person cancels. It's unfair to those who pay the extra EBCI fee, but that's how Southwest does it.

 

 

Re: Early bird checkin

davidf
New Arrival

I paid $15 for position C40, on a full flight from Las Vegas to Phoenix, last night. I had purchased the Early Bird about 10 days before the flight. Southwest is a very customer-centric airline/company, but their policy and methodology around this is flawed. Given that this is an automated process, based on some data processing and electronic communication to customers, Southwest should do one of a couple things: 1) communicate the boarding position via text or email, and give the customer the option of declining once they see their lousy boarding position, or 2) simply shut off acceptance of Early Bird purchases once they are "awarding" C positions. Does Southwest really think that ANY customer feels good about their $15 purchase when they get a C position in return? No one does - it's a no-brainer. So don't insult the customers by continuing this practice. Change it. It's just information technology and communication. Just change it Southwest. You do a great job in so many things - this is not one of them. And I did call Southwest about this last night, while I was waiting to board my connecting flight. I spoke to Customer Service, nice agent, didn't know how to answer my questions around Early Bird policies/practices, put me on hold for 5 minutes while she chased down an answer, came back, apologized and provided something that did not resemble an answer. I said that was unsatisfactory, she said I could call Customer Relations, which is different from Customer Service - they handle the tough stuff. But she couldn't transfer me, they were closed. So I called Customer Relations this morning, automated message advised me that I could wait on hold for 20 minutes, or write an email. So, the customer experience is diminishing by the second with Southwest. Not expected at all, and I am concerned. I am also a shareholder. Like Warren Buffett recommends, buy the stock of the companies you love to do business with. So I did. Conversely, I guess you should sell the stock of the companies that disappoint. 

Re: Early bird checkin

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

First, are you sure you actually received EarlyBird Check-In? While people often get B and even C positions after paying the fee, C40 when purchased 10 days prior to departure would be unusual. To verify it was received, your boarding pass must have said "EarlyBird Check-In" on it. Due to the infamous Southwest "glitch," many people pay the fee but don't actually receive the service. If you didn't get it, Southwest will refund your fee.

 

Second, your suggestions may make sense to you but aren't really workable for Southwest, who've never been known for great technology. Aside from the IT limitations, they're unlikely to be implemented because there's no incentive for Southwest. EBCI was created to generate revenue. Last year Southwest earned well over $250 million on EBCI alone. As long as that cash cow continues to make milk I can't see them making changes to the program -- aside from yet another potential fee increase, which is the method they use to manage it.

 

Due to how it's structured, EBCI is self-limiting, so ultimately it will reach a point where the fee can't be increased, and returns begin to decrease. At that point Southwest will likely address their boarding system and how best to monetize it with a complete overhaul, which many expect will include assigned seating.

Re: Early bird checkin

davidf
New Arrival

Thanks for the response. Yes, I did confirm that I had Early Bird - it printed on my boarding pass. Your explanations for why SW does it this way are all business/financial reasons. I get it. But I believe they want to separate themselves on the basis of customer centric policies/practices, and this one fails the test. If the service provided at least equals the value expected by the customer, they are fine to keep the same practices. But when the value to the customer isn't there, customers recognize it and change their behavior because of it. SW doesn't want that. Then they become all the other airlines that they take pleasure in mocking as part of their ad campaigns/branding. So they take a 1% hit on the $250 million revenue stream to get this right. I say that makes good business sense.

Re: Early bird checkin

DancingDavidE
Top Contributor

The idea to refund EB if you don't at least get into the B's makes sense. You'll be fighting with @TheMiddleSeat for one of those choice center positions whether you have EB C or "regular" C positions.

Home airport MDW, frequent visitor to MCO to see the mouse.

Re: Early bird checkin

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

It's sweet that you think Southwest values anything as much as the bottom line these days. 😉

 

While I wish that were still true, evidence continues to indicate that it's sadly not.

 

Of course, I'm could be completely wrong, and Southwest will prove me so by implementing any of the great suggestions made in this thread.

 

Do let me know when that happens. 😉