We introduced our EarlyBird product in 2009, and we’ve seen the popularity of the product increase with our Customers every year. With EarlyBird, we’ll automatically check you in and assign your boarding position within 36 hours of your flight’s departure—12 hours before general boarding positions become available. With our open seating policy, EarlyBird improves your seat selection options to help you choose your favorite seat, and it’s one less thing to think about prior to travel.
Until now, the price for EarlyBird has been a flat rate for all routes—starting at $10 in 2009, and is currently $15. Beginning August 29, we are moving to a variable pricing structure with three price points: $15, $20, and $25.
The price Customers will pay for their flight will depend on a combination of two factors: the length of the flight and the popularity of EarlyBird on that particular route. The price will be the same each way on any given route and will not change by day of week or time of day. Therefore, the price of the EarlyBird product on a particular route will be set at one of the three price points. Southwest may update pricing in the future based on route popularity and as the product continues to evolve.
We’re making this change so we can continue offering a product our Customers love. Of course, an increase in the price of a product is rarely welcome news, but as EarlyBird increases in popularity, we want to protect the value it offers our Customers. Unlike our competitors, at Southwest we provide our Customers the ability to choose products they are willing to pay for—like EarlyBird—instead of punitively charging a fee to check your first or second bag or change your reservation. Those fees don’t fly on Southwest Airlines, and we have no plans to change that.
EarlyBird continues to be a popular product for our Customers, and it’s a valuable source of revenue that helps us keep our everyday fares low while not nickel-and-diming our Customers. We give our Customers the ability to choose the products they value most, and we do our best to make sure those products deliver on the Customer Experience they’ve come to know, expect, and love from Southwest Airlines.