Southwest Increasing EarlyBird Fees Up to $20 Round-Trip. Does This Affect You?
Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
The fees to improve your boarding position on Southwest flights are about to get more expensive. Starting tomorrow (August 29), Southwest is introducing “dynamic pricing” for EarlyBird check-in fees.
Fees will go from $15 each way for ANY flight to $15, $20, or $25 each way depending on the length of the flight and the demand for EarlyBird check-in on your route. EarlyBird is popular with certain Southwest flyers who like to get to the overhead bin space first. Or if you want to sit together with family and friends.
That said, paying for EarlyBird does NOT guarantee you an “A” boarding position. So some folks (including me) don’t think it’s worth paying extra for.
My wife and I fly Southwest all the time because we have the Companion Pass. And we’ve never paid an EarlyBird check-in fee. I just set an alarm for 24 hours prior to departure and check-in manually. It’s rare that we don’t get a boarding position in the “A” or “B” group when we check-in right at the 24-hour mark.
That said, if you’re a fan of EarlyBird check-in, you should make sure you add it to any upcoming reservations today before the new fee structure kicks in. Keep in mind, EarlyBird check-in purchases are nonrefundable. So if there’s a chance you might change your flight itinerary, I’d recommend holding off from adding it to your reservation.
While we never like to see an increase in fees, the good news is Southwest is still the only major airline that doesn’t charge for checked baggage. And Southwest has frequent fare sales, which makes it cheap to get to travel destinations on your bucket list!
Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)