EarlyBird Check-in: A Convenient Way to Travel


Once again, Southwest Airlines is introducing a new product to make traveling a little easier for our Customers.  Many of you have told us how important it is to get an early boarding position so you can find that coveted seat without having to watch the clock for your 24-hour window to check in.  Today, I am excited to introduce EarlyBird Check-in – one more way Southwest is providing convenience during your travel experience.  For just $10 (one-way), EarlyBird Check-in Customers will automatically obtain a reserved boarding position before general check-in begins.  You no longer have to worry about checking in for your flight as we will do the work for you to help you get a better boarding position, which of course leads to improved seat selection and earlier access to overhead bin space. 


This project is one of many that we have been working on to bring you more options.  The process has been fast and furious, but with the help of several Southwest Teams, we were able to bring this new product to life in just a matter of months.  It started with just an idea on the whiteboard, but quickly went from an idea to a creative concept online that is now EarlyBird Check-in.  The fun part was coming up with the name for the product.  Check out just a few that didn’t make the final cut, and let us know what you might have called the new product.


  • Shotgun                                                                      
  • Leapfrog Check-in
  • Jet Ahead                                                                   
  • Gimme a Lift
  • First Dibs                                                                   
  • Jump Seat


Of course, we continue to offer Customers our premium Business Select product, which guarantees that you will be one of the first Passengers onboard your flight—with a drink; extra Rapid Rewards credit; and FlyBy Security Lane access (at select airports) as added benefits!  EarlyBird Check-in Customers will begin boarding the plane after our Business Select and Rapid Rewards A-List Customers. For more information about EarlyBird Check-in, visit our web site:  


  1. Had purchased EarlyBird check in last week for a Mon flight (#2051) from Phoenix to Las Vegas that was cancelled and was relegated to the C group on another flight. Was told by the SWA rep rebooking me that the $10 would automatically be refunded to my credit card. Of course, it was not and I was just informed by someone with an attitude named Dawn at customer relations that it is not automatically refunded and that a call is necessary. She reluctantly refunded my $10 after skeptically stating that it had been used according to her records.

    Just a heads up, that if you are on a cancelled flight and are unable to use the EarlyBird boarding pass you paid for, you must call for a refund.

    Seems like the once customer service friendly culture at Southwest has all but disappeared. Very sad. I had been a big advocate since the 1980’s…

  2. This is a lie. EB check in does not automatically check you in. I was involuntarily denied boarding with an EB check in. They said I never checked in. Not so automatic.


  3. It doesn’t work all the time anyway. I just flew from Las Vegas to Columbus with EarlyBird. I get to the airport and they hand me a security document because I’m not checked it. I get to the gate – they say: so sorry! We have a computer problem! They mark my boarding ticket XT and tell be to go between the A’s and B’s. The agent at the Gate tells the dozen or so of us that didn’t get automatically checked in that XT is for people with disabilities. She doesn’t want to let is on! We finally get on and I call customer service. Same story – so sorry, we will give you your $10 back. I don’t want my $10 back – I want what was promised. They suggest that in the future I check in 24 hours in advance. Then why the heck am I paying the fee? I never got the refund either.

    Southwest used to be the no BS airline – now they are a corporate monstrosity.

  4. I fly weekly for work — usually US Airways. I just had my first trip on Southwest, a vacation weekend in Las Vegas. The experience left much to be desired, and unfortunately all of the disappointments were due to other passengers and a lack of vigilance by the Southwest flight crew.

    The “cattle car” method of boarding ads tension as everyone is jockeying for their place in line to get the best seat available.

    People traveling with friends often try to save seats or entire rows, completely defeating the purpose of staged boarding. I was traveling with my wife as was denied access to two adjacent seats by a passenger who was saving the seats for his friends. He wouldn’t budge and the flight attendants did nothing. My wife and I had to move back toward the front of the plane and sit apart from each other for the 4 hour flight.

    Passengers almost never abide by the “one bag under your seat” rule — making it harder to take advantage of the bags fly free claim.

    Southwest; you could go from worst to first simply by vigorously enforcing your own rules and by insisting that passengers behave.

    I’ll not fly SW again. Paying a few dollars more for a predictable experience is worth it.

  5. Hi LV–EarlyBird Check-in should reserve consecutive boarding passes for you and your family. Since you’ll be some of the first to board after Business Select and our Rapid Rewards A-List Members, you shouldn’t have any problems finding seats together.