Southwest Airlines raises fee to board early at some airports

Travelers ask about their flights at a Southwest Airlines counter at Los Angeles International Airport. A fee to board early has been raised from $30 and $40 to $50 at certain airports.
(Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images)

At Southwest Airlines, passengers who want to board early to pick a window seat or be assured of room in the overhead compartment for their luggage must pay a fee.

The Dallas-based carrier has quietly raised that fee at some airports for passengers who decide after they get to the terminal that they want to be among the first to get a seat.

In the past, Southwest charged either $30 or $40 to board early, depending on the airport. That fee has been increased to $50 in a “handful of markets,” the airline said in a statement Friday. A spokeswoman declined to elaborate which airports are involved.

“Every few years, we review the price of our services in order to align with market and operational conditions as well as uphold the quality of our offerings,” the statement said.


There are two other ways to board early on Southwest: Fliers can buy a “Business Select” ticket, which includes early boarding privileges, plus a free drink and extra loyalty reward points. Passengers also can pay $15 when they buy the “Early Bird Check-in” service during booking.

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