South West Airlines is known as the airline that has no seat assignment. Instead of picking a seat (or getting a random seat assignment), Southwest operates with a vacancies policy that passengers love or hate.
The earlier you check in, the better boarding position you can expect. Sounds simple, right?
Well, even if you check in exactly 24 hours before your flight, you probably won’t receive that coveted A1 boarding spot. This is because travelers traveling on more expensive Business Select fares automatically get an A1 through A15 designation. Then, travelers with Southwest A-list or Preferred A-list elite status gets priority seats, followed by those who buy Early check-in.
There is improved boarding stations also available for purchase, but for this option you have to hope that some of the coveted A1 to A15 slots will still be available within 24 hours of your flight departure time.
This latest failed back-up plan to get on the plane earlier so you have a wider choice of available seats just got more expensive.
Previously, the cost of upgraded boarding started at $30 per segment, per person and capped at $60 per segment, per person.
However, as originally stated on Wing view, Southwest has increased the maximum price for upgraded boarding to $80 per segment, per person effective May 15. You read correctly. It can now cost up to $80 for a shot at a better sitting position on Southwest.
Variable upgrade boarding pricing is based on the duration and demand of a particular flight; the service may not be available on all flights if all seats A1 to A15 have already been allocated.
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Southwest shared a statement on the awards with TPG:
“Upgrade Boarding is one of Southwest’s most popular ancillary products, allowing customers to purchase an upgraded boarding position in the A1-A15 group (where applicable). We have shared with our employees that the Upgraded boarding will now be offered in a variable range from $30 to $80. Upgraded boarding prices will work the same as today, with prices varying depending on the duration and popularity of each vol. Pricing in the new range is subject to change at any time, as is the case today. We hope our customers will continue to enjoy this product.”
In front of higher airfare prices this summerthis extra increase can make it harder to decide if it’s worth buying upgraded boarding when traveling on Southwest.
Fortunately, there is good news for those who have the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Corporate Credit Card. Both cards come with up to four upgraded boarding spots per year.
Using these upgrades is not tied to a specific cost for the upgrade, so you can continue to use them as normal if there is an A1 to A15 boarding slot available. You will receive a credit on your account statement regardless of the sale price.