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Before I earned status with Southwest last year (I’m a regular on their DC-Austin flight, the only non-stop in the market by law – thanks to the perimeter rule) I found that flight pushed me down pretty low in boarding even paying the (B60 was not uncommon).However on most flights doing so would put me in the low Bs and even occasionally high As.The result was Early Bird Check-In, which automatically checks you in for your flight While this perk generated a ton of cash for Southwest (8 million in 2017 according to an article in USAToday), it apparently wasn't enough.
Even though Southwest doesn’t have seat assignments, they make money on customers who want better seats by selling them an improved boarding position.
And while it’s pretty sneaky if you think Southwest would first charge $15 or more for early bird check-in and give a low boarding order knowing a passenger would again pay to jump the queue in the A1 – A15 position (if available), what’s going on seems a lot simpler than this.
Southwest Airlines still doesn’t operate redeye flights, something their old systems had challenges with.
Their old reservation system made it difficult to differentiate their schedule based on days of the week.
This week Southwest Airlines officially announced that, starting August 29, 2018, the company will change the pricing structure for its wildly successful Early Bird Check-In perk, which currently costs just $15 per each one-way flight. When you check in for your Southwest flight (online beginning 24 hours prior to the scheduled departure time, or in person at the airport), you're assigned to a boarding group -- A, B, or C -- and position number: 1, 2, 3, etc.
If you've ever flown Southwest (and you probably have since it carries more passengers each year than any other U. airline -- 158 million in 2017), you know that one of the airline's quirks is that you can't reserve seats. So, obviously, the sooner you can get on the airplane, the better seat and overhead bin space you'll be able to secure.
Instead it’s “first come, first served” so how early you board the aircraft determines what’s available for you to pick from.
I don’t really like this myself because it means I first need to have a low boarding number, and second that I have to board early instead of grabbing some food or working as late as possible once I get through security.
So, I’m wondering are they using big data against me?
They were flying Orlando – Phoenix on a 0 roundtrip ticket and paid for early bird check-in.