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Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

kjltraveler
New Arrival

Early Bird Check in is a scam for more money.  If SWA airlines is going to offer early check-in it should guarantee an A boarding position.  If is is not going to do so then say it in BOLD print so that customers know this up front.  It should not be buried in tiny fine print that requires a magnifying glass to see it.  Perhaps it's time to have assigned seats and like other airlines charge more for the premium seats.

11 REPLIES 11

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

elijahbrantley
Rising Star
Solution

Respectfully, I believe scam is a very strong word.  The detail about not being guaranteed an A boarding position is clearly displayed on Southwest's EBCI site.  It is not at all buried in fine print.

 

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The same applies to me and others who have A List status.  We get checked in before EB folks, but we are not guaranteed any certain position.  It is impossible to do so given that there are varying numbers of A Listers and EBs flying on any given flight.  It does seem like there are more and more A Listers today, so I do believe more and more EB folks end up in the B group than in the past.  But that is a general observation from me that may or may not at all be true.

 

EB is a unique benefit from SW.  Hopefully you can continue to find value in the overall value proposition that SW offers.

 

Happy flying!

 

-A List Preferred, Companion Pass holder, Community Champion.

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

Lumberdog
New Arrival

Sorry buddy, but it is a "SCAM"

  1.  Southwest knows how many A-Listers are on a flight at any given time - they could tell you how many are on the flight BEFORE you purchase Early Bird - but they don't.
  2. Southwest system allows for A list numbers to be vacated and then "taken" by the next available customer checking in.  And it has the ability to automate Early Bird check in - so it has the ability to move you up automatically - but they don't.  
  3. Southwest has the ability to track customers and know which are scanning their boarding passes via smart phone at the gate - so they know which early bird customers are not printing their pass (meaning, they could change the boarding position without someone having a printed copy of an old boarding position).
  4. But the biggest kicker is this.  My boss had a late B boarding position from PHX to Louisville on 10/16/2019.  He walked up to the counter to complain.  They told him it was a glitch..... and gave him A1.  So...... all the A's are not taken.  Some are held back, and the complainer gets the cake.  There ya go.  

I like Southwest.  Bags free is great.  But its frustrating at the same time.  Paying more for the same thing as the next person feels really awful.  And they should rethink their canned responses for how worthless that makes a customer feel.

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

@Lumberdog wrote:

Sorry buddy, but it is a "SCAM"

  1.  Southwest knows how many A-Listers are on a flight at any given time - they could tell you how many are on the flight BEFORE you purchase Early Bird - but they don't.
  2. Southwest system allows for A list numbers to be vacated and then "taken" by the next available customer checking in.  And it has the ability to automate Early Bird check in - so it has the ability to move you up automatically - but they don't.  
  3. Southwest has the ability to track customers and know which are scanning their boarding passes via smart phone at the gate - so they know which early bird customers are not printing their pass (meaning, they could change the boarding position without someone having a printed copy of an old boarding position).
  4. But the biggest kicker is this.  My boss had a late B boarding position from PHX to Louisville on 10/16/2019.  He walked up to the counter to complain.  They told him it was a glitch..... and gave him A1.  So...... all the A's are not taken.  Some are held back, and the complainer gets the cake.  There ya go.  

 

 

So Southwest doesn't do things such as informing people how many A-List flyers there are (which changes constantly) or adjust boarding positions to fill vacated ones (and create chaos when people realize their boarding position is changing) and therefore it's a scam? This sounds like you're desperate to find a conspiracy when there isn't one. 

 

A1-A15 are reserved for Business Select tickets and then sold as upgraded boarding positions at the gate if not all allocated to Business Select flyers. It's quite common for many of these positions to go unpurchased/unused, that isn't some nefarious act of holding back those positions as you indicate. All other non Business Select flyers start at A16. Your boss got A1 because there were no Business Select flyers and no one purchased upgrading boarding at the gate so the gate agent found a creative way to please an unhappy customer. 

 

EarlyBird Check-In does what it promises, checks you in automatically with a boarding position assigned 36 hours before the flight. That's it. Hardly a scam or conspiracy of any kind.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

dfwskier
Rising Star

Sorry, you don't like EBCI.

 

Southwest really can't guarantee an A boarding position.

 

1) There are only 45 per plane

2) A List Preferred and A-List get first shot

3) EBCIers get whats left (if any)

 

EBCI allows people to get the best position that's available 36 hours before flight time. Those that buy it early get better positions than those that buy it later. They all get better positions than those people that check themselves in.

 

If you don't like it, just don't buy it, and check yourself in.

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

It is interesting how many people incorrectly translate "Better Boarding Position" into "Guaranteed A Boarding".

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

Passenger1C
Active Member

@kjltraveler I totally get your frustration. I would be upset if I paid for a better boarding position and did not get what I expected. Just know that to my knowledge, most of those who do purchase EBCI do receive a better boarding position than they would have without. 


SWA Passenger, Community Champion
Highlighted

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

jksobonya
Active Member

It's not a scam, but I have found less value in it over time. I bought it a few times when it was $25 ($12.50 each way) but when they increased it to $35 I have used it less. (That $10 makes a difference lol.) For most of my flights when I check in right at the 24 hour mark I am in the As or high Bs most of the time -- there have been times when I am at the end of the B group and I am still able to get a window or aisle seat towards the front of the plane - so I'll save my money unless it's REALLY inconvenient to check in 24 hours in advance - which hasn't happened yet!

 

:edits: 

 

Wow, I just checked some of my SWA reservations and Early Bird is $25 for ONE way only! $50 for both flights! Crazy! I see on the site it says that EB can range between $15-$25. I am not sure how you get the cheaper option, but for my flights (I have 7 one-way flights booked from now until the end of the year) they are all $25 each.

 

I also checked my e-mail history and the last time I purchased EB was in 2013, and it was $25 for both flights (roundtrip). Back in 2011, it was just $20 total. 

 

--Jessica

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

chidog
New Arrival

I just don't get it, I brought an early bird ticket in the first week of August. My wife decided in the first week of September to come with me and she brought an early bird ticket for the same flight. Two weeks later her sister decided to come and she brought an early bird ticket on the same flight. When we checked in, my wife's position is A37 and her sister is A29 me B25. I was under the impression if you purchase tickets earlier with early bird options you would in a better position than people who purchased early bird tickets later than you.

Re: Early Bird Check in is a SCAM!!!

chgoflyer
Top Contributor
Solution

@chidog wrote:

I just don't get it, I brought an early bird ticket in the first week of August. My wife decided in the first week of September to come with me and she brought an early bird ticket for the same flight. Two weeks later her sister decided to come and she brought an early bird ticket on the same flight. When we checked in, my wife's position is A37 and her sister is A29 me B25. I was under the impression if you purchase tickets earlier with early bird options you would in a better position than people who purchased early bird tickets later than you.

 

First, just to clarify, do you mean they bought a ticket and also added EarlyBird Check-In to that ticket? (EBCI is an add-on, not a fare type.)

 

Here's my best guess, but it makes some assumptions:

 

A37 is a pretty standard position with the purchase of EBCI. So that makes sense.

 

A29 sounds to me like what people often refer to as "SEB", or "serendipitous early boarding." This happens because, when someone cancels their flight after their position has been assigned, their now available position is given to the next person to check in. This explains how someone who did not pay for Early Bird can leapfrog ahead of those that did. It's not an ideal setup, but with Southwest's current system it happens.

 

For this to be true in your particular case, your wife's sister would have actually had to have not purchased EBCI.

 

B25 is generally not a position associated with the purchase of EBCI. (Those who buy Early Bird can occasionally get B and even late B positions but it's rare.)

 

For this to be true in your situation, either Early Bird was not initially added to the reservation, or perhaps a change was made to the reservation that caused it to drop off. Or, it could have been a Southwest "glitch."

 

To verify whether or not Early Bird was actually still attached to any particular reservation, look at your printed boarding pass. If so, it will say on it "EarlyBird Check-In."

 

Hope this helps.