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Southwest Airlines Community

Re: Early bird

Tinker1
New Arrival

I really like the idea of Southwest limiting EBCI to just A positions and not allowing people to purchase EBCI if there are no A boarding positions left.  I agree it is very disappointing to pay extra for EBCI only to get a B boarding pass.  

Re: Early bird

wynno
New Arrival

Read before you buy. It works as advertised.

 

How could anyone think it guarantees you an A position? There's ~140 seats on a 737. The first 45 (not counting A1-15) check-ins according to the algorithm will get in the A group. The closer your purchase is to flight time the lower your odds are of getting an A position. If you wait until T-minus 48 hours know that you are paying $15 to throw a pair of dice. If B-45 is the next open seat then YOU WIN...you beat the person who got B-46.

 

I have been flying SW-only since 2014 (after growing to HATE every other airline), and every one of my Early Bird purchases (probably 60 flights) got me an A slot. I think my highest one was ~A50. To increase your odds for a positive outcome buy your tickets EARLY (months not days in advance), and buy your Early Bird along with your tickets.

It is another crap shoot, but if there are A1-15 seats available you can buy those just before boarding for...40?? bucks maybe. I've done that twice because my A position was too high, and I was so exhausted that I was willing to throw money at anyone who would take it to get on and

off ASAP.

Re: Early bird

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

EarlyBird checks you in automatically (most of the time, anyway), and not much else. You are always paying $15 to throw a pair of dice. 

 

The amount of complaints corresponds to the amount B (and even C) positions being issued. And it's increased recently. I'd expect another price increase will follow.

Re: Early bird

Jozzmenia
New Arrival
I can agree it wouldn't necessarily give you A position if you purchased last minute, but it definitely should put you before people who checked in manually.

Re: Early bird

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Jozzmenia wrote:
I can agree it wouldn't necessarily give you A position if you purchased last minute, but it definitely should put you before people who checked in manually.

But of course, as we've discussed, sometimes it doesn't.

 

Southwest re-allocates the boarding positions of passengers who are checked in but then cancel or change their flight. Often these are A-Lister's, meaning the positions are quite frequently very low. The next person to check-in manually, regardless of time, gets this low position, leapfrogging them ahead of everyone who has paid the extra EarlyBird Check-In fee.

 

It's an unfair system, and despite frequent complaints, Southwest does nothing about it. Most likely because EarlyBird Check-in earns them well over $250 million annually.

 

 

Re: Early bird

StAugustine
Active Member

I agree that buying EBCI and getting a B position is annoying. It has happened to me. But rather than closing the EBCI all together, I would like to see a popup come up that says something like

 

"All A positions are gone. Your boarding position will be in the B or C group. Do you still want to continue? YES NO"

 

Given the choice, some might want to take their chances, some may not. Personally, I buy EBCI as much for the convenience of not having to check in at a certain time (especially when I am out of town) than for the seat assignment. 

Re: Early bird

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Southwest earned over $250 million last year on EarlyBird Check-In fees alone.

 

As long as people keep buying it, there will be no changes to how it functions -- with the possible exception of another fee increase ($10 > $12.50 > $15 > ?) if customer complaints regarding receiving B (and even C) positions increase to the point that there is a decrease in sales.