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Is Early Bird Worth It?

New Arrival

I just checked in for a flight. Despite having Early Bird, my wife and I got the B group. I am wondering if EB is worth it any more. Plus you have all those families with kids, those needing “special assistance”, etc. and you end up with terrible seats despite paying more for Early Bird. The Southwest open seating policy is only made bearable with Early Bird. If that no longer works it may be time to look at another airline...

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Re: Is Early Bird Worth It?

Top Contributor

@smltennis wrote:

I just checked in for a flight. Despite having Early Bird, my wife and I got the B group. I am wondering if EB is worth it any more. Plus you have all those families with kids, those needing “special assistance”, etc. and you end up with terrible seats despite paying more for Early Bird. The Southwest open seating policy is only made bearable with Early Bird. If that no longer works it may be time to look at another airline...


The answer to your question is "It depends on when you buy it."

 

Early bird boarding positions are assigned to EBCI passengers in the order that they were purchased, and are assigned 36 hours prior to flight time. So EBCI bought two days before departure probably isn't worth much (besides not having to log in to secure a boarding position). On the other hand one bought a month or two before departure might be worth a bunch.

 

Early bird   almost always gives a better position than checking yourself in (unless you check in after someone with a "good" boarding position cancels the flight just before you check in and you are lucky enough to get that persons  position.

 

As to whether or not you decide to go with another airline, you  have to decide on the importance

of this issue versus things like "bags fly free" and "no charges to change or cancel a flight.

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Re: Is Early Bird Worth It?

New Arrival

I find it annoying that one person can pay for the early bird and save seats for other passengers who have not paid.  (Also, passengers can board out of order and nothing is said to them.)  No, early bird is not worth it.

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Re: Is Early Bird Worth It?

Active Member

@lindag,

I have not seen many people being allowed to board wildly out of order (with the exception of A-Listers being able to board before the B group).  Most gate agents do not get too concerned if B18 boards before B16, but they typically would not let a C5 board when A1-A30 get called. 

 

I often buy the Early Bird for family members on early flights so they can get a wall on which to prop their head for a nap, so even though a B10 boarding pass isn’t great, it would likely still get them a wall further back.  

 

I like the open seating policy because of allergies, and I will move back if something triggers my nose (pets, perfumes), but I can understand how it might vex those who are not used to it.  But the full price SWA flights with early bird are typically less expensive than the basic fares on other airlines, so that is the main thing that keeps me coming back, even if I occasionally get a middle seat.  But I understand others want to have the opportunity to buy a specific seat; it is just not my mindset.

 

I also try try to give the seat savers the benefit of the doubt, hoping they are  together for some fun event versus just taking a regular old business trip like me.  They can have some fun, and we all get to the same place at the same time.  

 

I hope your future travels go well, regardless of what seat on what airline.