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Changes to EarlyBird Pricing Model

jclarkson Employee
Employee

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.

 EarlyBirdHero_780x480.jpg

6 Comments
TheMiddleSeat
Rising Star

How will changes to flights be handled when EarlyBird is purchased and then the routing of the flight changes if the new routing has a different EarlyBird price? 

 

Thanks!

--TheMiddleSeat

MelanieGraham Employee
Employee

Hi @TheMiddleSeat – great question! If a Customer buys EarlyBird in a $15 market and then changes their flight to a $20 or $25 destination, then we will not require the Customer to pay the difference. This is the case for any scenario where the EarlyBird price goes up. However, if a Customer buys EarlyBird in a $20 market and then changes their flight to a $15 destination, then we will not refund the difference.

millerjwm
New Arrival

As long as the change you make does not change your confirmation code, this should work.  My experience is that if you do something that causes the confirmation code to change (such as changing the fare class), then you will lose your EarlyBird boarding and have to re-buy it on the new confirmation code.

kduke42
New Arrival

I'd like to know what master of corporate doublespeak conjured up:  "We’re making this change so we can continue offering a product our Customers love."

 

SAY WHAT? 

Are you trying to tell us that, if you don't increase prices for the same service, you will have to discontinue it? Except that the price is the same for SOME flights, which suggests that this has nothing to do with "product" and everything to do with blatant profiteering.

 

As the word wizard continues to say--

 

"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." 

 

Again, SAY WHAT? "Protect the value it offers." Translate that for us? It sounds like, "too many of the peons were willing to pay $15, so we're jacking the price up to $20 or $25 (on some flights-- especially if they are 'popular') to allow the upper classes to still take advantage of early boarding that the peons won't be able to afford any more." 

Is that not it?  If it isn't, then kindly tell us WHAT IT IS. Because it looks like another effort to grab more money. Your CEO resisted "booking seats" but said you had some profitable ideas coming. I know the shareholders love ther profit and bet the CEO adds another million $$ to his yearly bonus. But for ordinary working people, this comes down to "We're charging you more for exactly the same thing because we figure we can get away with it."  Nice to have the 3 tiered system so you can market test resistance. "Will they pay $20 but not $25?  Okay, we'll keep it at $20.  Are they all willing to pay $25?  Let's try $30 next year."

Shame on you, both for screwing customers, and doubly shame on you for lying about it so obtrusely. "The rubes are too stupid to figure out what we're doing-- after all, we said, 'protect a service everyone loves.'"

MajorMarket
New Arrival

I'm a guy who works in finance and I greatly appreciate Southwest's attitude of allowing the customer to decide what prodcuts he/she wants to buy in additon to the cost of airfare.

 

Yes, Southwest is also a publicly-traded company and has to please shareholders but it has still managed to do so while NOT charging the onerous change fees that other airlines do OR the first/second bag fee.  I'll gladly tolerate dynamic pricing for Early Bird in exchange for a continued ban on change fees and bag fees.

 

I used to fly another airline (rhymes with "Knighted") but I've completely changed loyalties to 100% Southwest for this pro-customer attitude.  I've even wondered about buying some shares out of love (or LUV).  Keep up the good work, Southwest, and don't listen to the haters.

MA
New Arrival

If Southwest wishes to remain open, honest, ethical, and customer friendly - THEN - 

 

...the simplest thing to do is to PUBLISH THE VARIABLE EARLY BIRD PRICE FOR EVERY FLIGHT RIGHT NEXT TO THE BASE PRICE FOR THAT EXACT FLIGHT AND TIME

 

Now it appears one must buy the ticket before finding out what the REAL price of the flight is.

 

That's one reason this otherwise rational policy seems so devious and unfair.

 

I have been flying SW for at least 30 years and have never seen a policy like this - that I can recall.

 

SW did very well to keep from using assigned seats, etc, after TSA and others demanded more specific data, so they are good at simplifying things and keeping costs low

 

But this policy and the way it has been enacted seem hidden, devious, tricky and very much NOT Southwest's typical ethical approach.

 

Of course this will raise data processing costs, but that's the problem management must face if they want to remain ethical

 

POST THE EXACT EARLY BIRD PRICE FOR EVERY FLIGHT RIGHT NEXT TO THE PRICE

 

THAT'S THE ONLY FAIR THING TO DO