Jump to content
FloridaCruiseGirl1210

Southwest Early Bird Checkin

Recommended Posts

Hello All, 

Has anyone done Southwest Airlines Early Bird Checkin? We (BF and I) aren't getting the internet package and would preferably like to sit together... 

Do those who get it get to board in the first group? It also says Automatic Check In... 

Just curious on experiences ya'll have had with it...

TIA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have early bird you will be on early enough to sit together.  I fly Southwest all the time and sometimes we get it and sometimes we don't.  Depending on how many people book it will depend your boarding number.  I have never not found seats together if we had early bird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @FloridaCruiseGirl1210. I always do early bird check-in since SW reserves your spot within who purchased early bird first. So if you were the 30th person to buy early bird check-in you would be 45th to board. (The first 15 are reserved for business and those who want to pay even more) For me it's worth it not to watch the clock and try to get a low number based on the time I check in.  

Do note that there are still preboarders such as folks with wheel chairs so my scenario might not be absolutely true. Still, I have always felt that I had more than 2/3s of the plane available to to me at the worst using the early bird option. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Irieman said:

Hi @FloridaCruiseGirl1210. I always do early bird check-in since SW reserves your spot within who purchased early bird first. So if you were the 30th person to buy early bird check-in you would be 45th to board. (The first 15 are reserved for business and those who want to pay even more) For me it's worth it not to watch the clock and try to get a low number based on the time I check in.  

Do note that there are still preboarders such as folks with wheel chairs so my scenario might not be absolutely true. Still, I have always felt that I had more than 2/3s of the plane available to to me at the worst using the early bird option. 

Thank you for the insight. We aren't getting the internet package so for us to try to check in the night before would be nearly impossible. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's more likely you will have a boarding number between A-10 and A-30...I think it's over rated, and intended to generate revenue.

If everyone in your group is on the spot for online check-in exactly 24 hours before your flight, the likelihood of sitting together is pretty good with a B1-30 slot. Those odds go down if your plane has passengers from the previous flight flying through.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you have someone back home not cruising with you then have them check you in at the 24 hr mark before your flight. I do this a lot for my daughter. Usually she ends up with a late A group or early B. Just need to make sure they do it at the 24 hour mark. Do not wait to check in at the airport. You will literally be the last to board. Another option, befriend someone on the cruise that has the internet package and check in via your new found friend. Just remember to buy them a drink. I actually did this for someone on a cruise and was happy to help. Just need to ask.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve flown with my 2 kids and have been able to get 3 seats together towards the end of B group (SWA is one of my favorite airlines, but I refuse to pay for Early Bird). Granted, they were in the last row... but they were still together. 😉 My concern, now that our kids are a bit older - 11 and 13 - is making sure we get overhead space. We’re cool with not sitting together, if need be. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, DRLPP said:

if you have someone back home not cruising with you then have them check you in at the 24 hr mark before your flight. I do this a lot for my daughter. Usually she ends up with a late A group or early B. Just need to make sure they do it at the 24 hour mark. Do not wait to check in at the airport. You will literally be the last to board. Another option, befriend someone on the cruise that has the internet package and check in via your new found friend. Just remember to buy them a drink. I actually did this for someone on a cruise and was happy to help. Just need to ask.

Early bird used to allow you to check in at the 36 hour mark. At least that was the case for us the last time we did it a couple of years ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Irieman said:

SW reserves your spot within who purchased early bird first.

Yep.  A1-A15 are the "business class" or A-Lister slots, though you can buy into that at the gate for $30-50 depending on the length of the flight.  The next slots will be for those with Early Bird, going in order of when Early Bird was purchased.   It auto-checks you in and auto-assigns you a boarding position so you don't have to remember to check in 24 hours ahead of time.   We just flew back from Orlando.   We had a 0900 flight on a Saturday and I started trying at 0859 on Friday (no easy task as we were rope dropping at Epcot).  I got in right away and got A29-31.  My nephew was on the same flight, he checked in four minutes later and was around B12-13.   I saved him a seat but there would have been places to sit together.  When they flew down, he forgot and they got into the C group so they were not together on that one.    They'll do the family boarding between A and B groups.  But while a lot of people are going ahead of the B group, since they are families, they'll tend to fill up whole rows so it's not as bad as it initially seems.

YOu could always book early bird for one person so they can get on-board earlier and save the seat next to them.  As long as you're not trying to save the entire row, that's not a big deal.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of great suggestions to save the money on early bird. I flew SW twice, once we got early bird another time we didn't. (Neither for cruises.) Honestly, in your situation, I'd at least do early bird for the return flight. Even if I had internet on the ship. Between the worry it would lag right at the 24 hour mark, I'd forget or miss my reminder, have to plan my day around it, or rely on someone else ... Blah, it's a small insurance policy for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, FloridaCruiseGirl1210 said:

Thank you for the insight. We aren't getting the internet package so for us to try to check in the night before would be nearly impossible. 

While you aren’t guaranteed A boarding with early bird your odds are fairly  good to get two seats together provided 

1. Business Select A1-15 isn’t booked full

2. There’s not a ton of through passenger which normally won’t happen 

3. A list and a list preferred isn’t more than 20 or so people 

4. Family boarding isn’t 75 families, not sure where the cruise is leaving from, but on a Sunday in Orlando this may be your biggest issue 

5. Preboards aren’t lined up in wheelchairs by the dozens like an F1 race getting ready to start. Usually a bigger problem in Fort Lauderdale. 
 

The other thing you could do is have a friend check you guys in right at time, and if boarding isn’t optimal, you could hope for the upgraded boarding positions being available. For 40-50 dollars you could upgrade one of you and have the person who boards first save a seat for the other. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we cruise and fly Southwest, we always buy early bird.  We then don’t have the hassle of hitting enter on a computer 24 hours before our flights.  One less thing to worry about, especially if we are having a great time.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Andrew72681 said:

While you aren’t guaranteed A boarding with early bird your odds are fairly  good to get two seats together provided 

1. Business Select A1-15 isn’t booked full

2. There’s not a ton of through passenger which normally won’t happen 

3. A list and a list preferred isn’t more than 20 or so people 

4. Family boarding isn’t 75 families, not sure where the cruise is leaving from, but on a Sunday in Orlando this may be your biggest issue 

5. Preboards aren’t lined up in wheelchairs by the dozens like an F1 race getting ready to start. Usually a bigger problem in Fort Lauderdale. 
 

The other thing you could do is have a friend check you guys in right at time, and if boarding isn’t optimal, you could hope for the upgraded boarding positions being available. For 40-50 dollars you could upgrade one of you and have the person who boards first save a seat for the other. 

Yea we are flying through from Orlando on a Saturday and come back on a sunday through Ft. Lauderdale.... lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A list on SWA.  Huge benefit is not having to check in and getting an A boarding pass.  Lately I’ve gotten A25 on my flights just by chance.  

EBCI as it’s called is a popular add on for the same reason.  

I have a SWA Premier credit card that gives me 4 free gate upgrades to A1-15 but I never use it because I’m good with the A group I get.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, twangster said:

A list on SWA.  Huge benefit is not having to check in and getting an A boarding pass.  Lately I’ve gotten A25 on my flights just by chance.  

EBCI as it’s called is a popular add on for the same reason.  

I have a SWA Premier credit card that gives me 4 free gate upgrades to A1-15 but I never use it because I’m good with the A group I get.  

I wish I traveled enough for A-List.... One day...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, twangster said:

A list on SWA.  Huge benefit is not having to check in and getting an A boarding pass.  Lately I’ve gotten A25 on my flights just by chance.  

EBCI as it’s called is a popular add on for the same reason.  

I have a SWA Premier credit card that gives me 4 free gate upgrades to A1-15 but I never use it because I’m good with the A group I get.  

The last half dozen times I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to upgrade to A1-A15, which is a bummer because this is a benefit of the card I’d like to actually use!

My husband was reading yesterday that SWA ranked high on the list with regards to % of revenue that came from “other fees” (separate from bag fees and change fees). For the life of me I couldn’t think of what it could have possibly been from.... and then I saw this thread and the light bulb went on, lol. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, BunnyHutt said:

The last half dozen times I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to upgrade to A1-A15, which is a bummer because this is a benefit of the card I’d like to actually use!

My husband was reading yesterday that SWA ranked high on the list with regards to % of revenue that came from “other fees” (separate from bag fees and change fees). For the life of me I couldn’t think of what it could have possibly been from.... and then I saw this thread and the light bulb went on, lol. 

Actually SWA is far behind the legacy carriers in terms of fee revenue.  The other legacy carriers make a lot more money on things like bag fees and upgrades to economy plus or comfort plus cabins.  SWA does make money on EBCI but it pales in comparison to what the legacy carriers are hauling in.  So far they've resisted jumping on the baggage fee bandwagon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You cannot count on  being in A boarding. Depends on the flight and when you buy the Early Bird. Last flight, we got B11-12 and the wheelchairs, and families and soldiers in uniform board before B. The plane was 1/3 full but we did get seats together. It is nice to not have to actually check in otherwise you cannot check in before exactly 24 hours before the flight. The 36 hours is for those that bought Early Bird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Mljstr said:

You cannot count on  being in A boarding. Depends on the flight and when you buy the Early Bird. Last flight, we got B11-12 and the wheelchairs, and families and soldiers in uniform board before B. The plane was 1/3 full but we did get seats together. It is nice to not have to actually check in otherwise you cannot check in before exactly 24 hours before the flight. The 36 hours is for those that bought Early Bird.

 

Also important to note that A/B/C may mean nothing if the plane is already coming in fairly full and continuing on. I've experienced, more than once, a 143 seat plane come in and have 60-70 people stay onboard...so even if you're A60 and excited about being an A, you may already be stuck in a middle seat. Unfortunately, that's just something you won't really know until you step onboard, and another reason I personally prefer airlines that let you select seats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Zacharius said:

Also important to note that A/B/C may mean nothing if the plane is already coming in fairly full and continuing on. I've experienced, more than once, a 143 seat plane come in and have 60-70 people stay onboard...so even if you're A60 and excited about being a A, you may already be stuck in a middle seat. Unfortunately, that's just something you won't really know until you step onboard, and another reason I personally prefer airlines that let you select seats.

For me, SWA just doesn't seem to have many direct flights to my destinations from ALB or NYC airports so that's the biggest factor. However, I am like you, very picky about seat selection. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Zacharius said:

Also important to note that A/B/C may mean nothing if the plane is already coming in fairly full and continuing on. I've experienced, more than once, a 143 seat plane come in and have 60-70 people stay onboard

That's a good point. Luckily I haven't run into that situation.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does using RCCL Luggage valet help?  We cruise out of Ft Lauderdale and fly out of there as well.  Thinking of paying RCCL for that.  Don't want to do both - which is the better option?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, twangster said:

Actually SWA is far behind the legacy carriers in terms of fee revenue.  The other legacy carriers make a lot more money on things like bag fees and upgrades to economy plus or comfort plus cabins.  SWA does make money on EBCI but it pales in comparison to what the legacy carriers are hauling in.  So far they've resisted jumping on the baggage fee bandwagon. 

I was just stating that I had been scratching my head about what SWA was calling “other fees” that made up a considerable portion of *their* revenue. I am well aware of the fees all other airlines, including legacy, LCC and ULCC, charge (you should see the number for Spirit 😝). This thread merely reminded me of what it was; since we never purchase Early Bird it had fallen off my radar. 

And my source is the latest edition of the ALPA magazine/newsletter that just arrived to our house over the weekend, so discussion in my household was just before seeing this thread.... perfect timing 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...