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Southwest Airlines recently made changes to its pre-flight
boarding policies by limiting the options for passengers to purchase a better
spot in line for an extra fee.
According to The
Associated Press, Southwest officials revealed the carrier’s EarlyBird
option would be limited on “certain flights, routes or days” as the company
continues to assess product enhancements.
The airline said passengers can still purchase the EarlyBird
service, but the option is “unavailable for some customers looking to purchase
it.” The changes went into effect on August 15.
Since Southwest doesn’t offer assigned seats, priority
boarding allows travelers to jump ahead of other passengers to get the best available
seats. The EarlyBird option starts at $15 and increases based on “the length of
the flight and demand for seats.”
The airline offers other services that allow travelers to
board early, including the high-priced Business Select fares, which boast a guaranteed
top-15 spot in line with purchase.
Regarding the financial impact on the carrier, Southwest
executives revealed during a quarterly earnings call that EarlyBird fees accounted
for more than $100 million during the second quarter, around 1.4 percent of the
carrier’s total revenue.
Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green said that
while the EarlyBird option fell below standards as the travel industry bounced
back from the pandemic, the service “performed very well in the second
Earlier this month, the airline extended its flight schedule
through April 8, 2024. To meet seasonal demand and travel patterns, Southwest added
nonstop options for the busy spring break period, including travel on peak
days when new time-saving nonstop service corresponds with a complementary
schedule of daily connecting or same-plane flights.
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Donald Wood is TravelPulse’s senior writer in the breaking news department, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the desk....
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CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC
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