Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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If you’re a regular flyer of Southwest, you know that the airline has a much different boarding procedure than other airlines and that in order to be one of the very first to board the plane, you either need to be on a Business Select fare or purchase an Upgraded Boarding group. These first few positions on the plane have first dibs on seats on the plane. Southwest has now increased the fee to pay for these first spots in line, as first reported by View from the Wing.
Southwest’s Boarding Procedure
On Southwest, you’re not assigned a specific seat on the plane when you book your ticket. Instead, you’re assigned a boarding group number when you check in, anywhere from A15 to C60, and this indicates the time you’re allowed to board the plane. Those that board first get the first chance at the best seats on the plane, such as the bulkhead or exit rows, and those in later boarding groups likely will have no choice but to sit in a middle seat.
The first few boarding groups, A1-15 are reserved for Business Select, Southwest’s version of a business-class type fare, where it’s assumed you’ll get a decent seat on the plane. Seats that don’t sell for Business Select are sold to other passengers, and you could (prior to May 15, 2023) purchase one of the Upgraded Boarding positions from between $15 and $60, depending on the flight length.Hot Tip:
One of the downsides of Southwest’s boarding procedure is that you miss out if you’re late to boarding. If you arrive after your boarding group has been called, you board with whatever group that is currently boarding and will likely lose out on the best seats onboard.
Southwest is raising the cost to purchase one of these Upgraded Boarding positions to between $30 and $80, a significant increase over previous amounts. This means that you’ll pay double on short routes, such as Boston (BOS) to Baltimore (BWI), and even more for long routes, such as Baltimore (BWI) to Los Angeles (LAX).
If you’re interested in complimentary Upgraded Boarding passes, consider the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card as both offer 4 Upgraded Boarding certificates per year as a card benefit.
These Upgraded Boarding spots are super valuable as you essentially have the best pick of seats on the plane, but it will now cost even more to secure one of these seats. Prepare to pay more if you want a better seat on Southwest.
Featured Image Credit: Southwest Airlines
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