Southwest Airlines recently said they plan to up the cost for Early Bird Check-In from $10 to $12.50 sometime this year and now, the airline has announced a way for customers to buy into the “A” boarding group on the day of travel. For $40, Southwest Airlines is offering customers an early boarding position. Beginning 45 minutes before the flight departs, this new option will be announced at the gate and customers can purchase an available boarding position via credit card from a Southwest customer service agent. The opportunity to purchase these positions will only be offered if the positions are available. According to an announcement from Southwest, this new boarding option was successfully tested in San Diego and received positive feedback before being rolled out for all Southwest flights.
Bottom line: Rapid Rewards A-List status members (members earning 25 qualifying one-way flights or earning 35,000 tier qualifying points in a calendar year) receive priority boarding 36 hours prior to a Southwest flight, provided the member has added his or her Rapid Rewards membership number to their reservation and made the reservation at least 36 hours prior to the flight. The A-List member must then also obtain their boarding pass and be present and available for boarding at the departure gate area at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time or their “A” boarding group status may be forfeited, and now, sold for $40. This means that A-List members are still ahead of the pack who purchase Early Bird Check-In which clears 24 hours before a flight and those who pony up $40, 45 minutes before a flight.