It’s looking like the early bird may not get the worm if that bird is flying with Southwest. The budget airline just increased the price for its EarlyBird Check-In product on some routes. Southwest had been offering its EarlyBird option for $15 on every one-way flight across its entire network. However, rates increased this week. Travelers can now expect to pay a variable rate instead of one static rate. The EarlyBird Check-In feature now costs $15, $20 or $25.
What will determine EarlyBird pricing? Route lengths and demand are the two main variables that will determine how much Southwest customers pay for the EarlyBird option. One piece of information that’s good to know is that the price you pay for EarlyBird one way will be the same price that you pay for the other way. However, there is always the possibility of rate changes at any time if demand increases on a route.
What’s the advantage of purchasing the EarlyBird option when flying with Southwest? This product gives Southwest customers the option to complete the check-in process 36 hours prior to a flight’s departure instead of 24 hours. This is important to some travelers because completing the check-in process early can give them early boarding positions. That’s a big deal when you consider that Southwest does not offer assigned seating on flights. The EarlyBird option is really one of the only options available if getting a good seat is important to you. You can purchase this option when you book your reservation or add it after the fact. EarlyBird Check-In can be purchased using any of the following methods:
- Over the phone with a Southwest reservation agent.
- Using Southwest’s mobile site or app.
You’re not imagining things if you think that EarlyBird by Southwest is starting to look more and more like Southwest’s Upgraded Boarding option. That product guarantees customers the ability to choose one of the first 15 boarding positions available on flights. Passengers can purchase the Upgraded Boarding product for $30, $40 or $50. The pricing of this product depends on factors like route price and availability. Upgraded Boarding can only be purchased at the airport on the departure date.
There are some important things to know before committing to EarlyBird Check-In. EarlyBird Check-In purchases are always nonrefundable. Passengers will only be refunded if a flight is cancelled. A customer who cancels their reservation will not receive a refund for EarlyBird Check-In. You can only purchase EarlyBird Check-In using a credit card.