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Re: Early Bird didn't work?

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

Keep in mind that A List, A List Preferred, and Business Select passengers don't pay "extra" for early boarding and would all be ahead of EarlyBird customers. So if you asked them, they would say "no", they hadn't paid. At least EarlyBird customers are ahead of all other non-status customers. It works great for situations where you may not be able to check in at 24 hours prior to flight or just don't want to worry about it. 

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Sadly, EarlyBird customers aren't always "ahead of all other non-status customers."

 

Because Southwest re-issues the positions of those who are checked in but then cancel or change their flight, frequently someone with no status and who has not paid the extra EarlyBird fee will receive a premium position simply by checking themselves in manually.

 

EarlyBird Check-In should be seen as a fee-based way to be automatically checked in, and nothing more.

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

You know @chgoflyer, as I wrote that I thought, "well, there's the occasional person checking in late and getting A16", but thought "nah, too much to explain." But you did a nice job explaining.

 

I've suggested this late check-in loophole to ALP folks suffering with the recent lack of automatic check in as a potential way to get an A position. 

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

camatuse
Active Member

Unfortunately, EarlyBird Check-In does not promise an A boarding pass. EarlyBird Check-In will automatically check you in to your flight and you will receive a better boarding pass letter than the other customers who have to check-in manually. You may receive A letter boarding but you may also receive B or C letter boarding; it is dependent on how full the flight is.

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

rberkley1947
New Arrival

Problem is in Southwest's wording: "EarlyBird Check-In® Customers will be checked in automatically and receive a reserved boarding position 36 hours prior to their flight's scheduled local departure time. Boarding Passes can be printed beginning 24 hours prior to the flight's scheduled local departure time. You can obtain a boarding pass at the Ticket Counter, Skycap Podium (where available), or online at Southwest.com."

 

The confusion is "will receive a reserved boarding position 36 hours prior" but we can not know what that position is for 12 more hours. 

 

Perhaps a change in the wording would help. This confused me, too.

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

ober7212
New Arrival

I have to say, I feel Early Bird sometimes does not function properly.  

Example: I paid for early bird and received a B position. Okay, I get that can ACTUALLY happen.

However, the next time I flew, I did NOT purchase early bird.  When I checked in, I had A16.  Seriously, so not one passenger on a full 737-700 booked early bird.  I find that hard to believe.

 

I like the system, but I can almost guarantee it is not perfect.

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

BullsFan
Active Member

I have seen people- my traveling partners- get low A's on almost sold out flighhts in the hours before bvoarding when they changed to it- I was told that when someone cancels their reservation(say A 22) the next person to check in gets it.

 

I wish the system would give those freed-up low numbers to A listers, etc!

 

 

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

IJM
New Arrival

Hi there OBER7212,

 

I'm a Customer Service Agent at Southwest and I can most likely shed light on your situation. EarlyBird will automatically assign boarding positions A16-whatever number it takes based on how many Customers qualify for EarlyBird. EarlyBird is complementary for A-List members who receive priority in the assignments. Then Customers who purchase EarlyBird are assigned postions. It is certainly possible to receive a B position with EarlyBird working as designed. This is more likely on long flights, flights to family oriented destinations, and flights on our larger -800 series aircraft where more Customers typically purchase EarlyBird. When checking in only a few hours before flight time, we start to see Customers receiving earlier boarding positions than some of the EarlyBird checkins because those positions are freed up when Customers take earlier flights, cancel their reservations, or are rerouted. The computer system just assigns the first available boarding position by default. So if you received A16, that would mean that the person who had A16 originally ended up taking a different flight and their position became available and was assigned to the next lucky person who checked in. In this case, that was you. I hope this helps.

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

buencamino
New Arrival

I recently sent an email to Customer Service suggesting that some passengers are starting to game the early bird priority boarding option. The case in point I mentioned was a flight from Denver to Las Vegas where a young woman boarded on A boarding and presumably on early bird. She then went on to held up 2 rows of seats explaining to other passengers that she was holding the seats for her 5 companions. I suggested that perhaps the Flight Attendance apparently was taking a blind eye to it. My response from Customer Service in short that it was Ok to do this as this is open seating. I suppose if this is OK - a way to game the system in the future would be to just buy one early bird option and split the cost with your other travelling companions.

The file reference number for my  email and response from custome service is 2155064036569.

Re: Early Bird didn't work?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

You're absolutely correct. Many customers have now discovered that they need only buy one Early Bird Check In and can then save as many seats for their traveling partners as needed. Southwest allows seat saving. And last year, Southwest earned over $240 million on Early Bird Check In alone. So, it's unlikely anything will change anytime soon, policy-wise. Expect more and more seat saving.