questionsis early bird check in on southwest airlines…


I JUST flew from Sac to Columbus, with a transfer in vegas, yesterday on SW Airlines, and I'd say yes, it's worth it IF you are flying with kids, if you want to sit in a particular type of seat, or if you want to sit next to your traveling companions. It's now basically first-come first-choice of seats, and if you are in the last half of passengers being boarded, you're screwed when it comes to seat choices.


Haven't flown in years, but what's $10 these days? If it gets you a small advantage, it's worth it.


I'd say it's all up to personal preference. I like sitting in the back, so no need for me to pay to get on early.


With SWA allowing check-in 24hr before the flight, I find the $10 to be a waste. I almost always check in as soon as the system will let me. I am usually in the "A" group, so I can get most any seat I want.


I would say that it depends on a couple of variables.

First, is the flight the main run for the day from airport x to airport y?
Second, are you travelling with people you want to sit with?
Third, do you care where you sit?

I took a SWA flight to vegas from one of their smaller hubs, flight was packed. I did the standard 24 hour call ahead, I made late B boarding. I almost didn't get a seat with the person I wanted to sit next to.

All business travellers know to call ahead. If it is the main run from that airport for business I would say it was worth the $10 if you want to sit in a particular area and want to sit with someone.


Set an alarm on your phone for 24 hours before the flight. Call the people you're traveling with to remind them to check in EXACTLY when it opens up, OR have them give you their log into info so you can do it for them. That's it. You'll be A group and can sit wherever your group desires.


For me, it's worth it when I know I won't have access to a PC or a smartphone 24 hours before the flight leaves. Then I know I'm checked in and I can print my boarding pass whenever I get to a computer.

Keep in mind that early bird doesn't always guarantee an A on your ticket. I just went from OKC to Seattle a couple weeks ago and got a B on one leg of the flight.


As time is going on, and more and more people have good access to the internet, it is going to be worth more. Right now if you check in right at the 24 hour mark you can almost always get a good place in line.

This is starting to change. A few people have mentioned (and it has happened to me) that I checked in right at 24 hours and got a "B" seat. I think that in the next few months to a year it is going to be like getting a BOC to get a good place in line even if you are right there at 24 hours.

So, if getting a good seat (i.e. not sitting in the middle, or getting to sit with family/friends) is important to you, it is worth the 10 bucks to be sure you get to do that.


FWIW, I'm almost certain A1 through ~15 is reserved. I've checked in no more than 2 seconds after it opened multiple times and have been given A16 multiple times. On top of that, I've had no more than 8-10 people in front of me at A16. I think those are your $10 seats.

On that note, any A or even an early B will still give you run of the plane. Maybe your group of 10 won't be able to sit together, or the front bulkhead seats will be taken, but in general, groups of 2-3 will find seats together and chose their position very easily.


Definitely worth the $10 if you're traveling to/from a busy metro area. Can't bear to be crammed into another tiny rear seat cross country again!


I fly SW all the time and have never done the early bird check-in before - but next week, I'm off to Disneyland and for me, it's well worth the $10...especially for the trip home. The flight is sold out and...I don't really want to worry about checking in, mid-Space Mountain ;-)

This will be the first time I've done it, so I'll know better if it's worth it, a week from now


@firebirdude: I also thought that A1-15 was Early Bird. However I just tried EB for the first time, and I got A45. Two times ago when I checked in without EB, I got A50. So that $10 only got me ahead by 5 people.

However, I did EB because the most recent time I checked in, my office's LAN went down exactly 24 hours before my flight, and by the time it got back up, I was a C!


@firebirdude: We are first time fliers with Southwest and a party of 4 traveling from BUF to LAS on Thanksgiving Day. I am wondering if EB checkin would be worth it for the flight in? I already purchased it for the return trip home but not sure if it would be beneficial for the flight there?


@golflady57: Welcome to Woot? ...

Like I said, set an alarm on your phone to go off 25 hours before your flight leaves. This gives you an hour to get to a computer. At exactly 24 hours until departure, log on and check-in everyone in your party. The A's go clear up to ~40 and even if you get an early B for some of your party, you'll be fine. The plane is friggin huge. I have never once paid for early bird check-in and have never had anything later than about ~A25. You paid enough for your tickets already. Don't give them the extra 40 bucks.


I just got B 13 with early bird check-in, so I paid $10 to get B. But I didn't have to remember (or be able to) check-in at exactly the 24 hour mark and I wonder what I would have gotten without EB?


waste of money and time.i always check in 24 hours prior to flight time and i have always gotten A boarding passes. the 2 times i used early bird check in i was in the B boarding group.i like aisle seats in the front of the aircraft and on my last flight i was in row 21 out of 23 before i could get an aisle seat.never again!!


We were a family of 4 travelling on Thanksgiving day this year from Buffalo to Las Vegas and I had the earlybird boarding both ways. I actually booked early bird for the return flight home initially a few weeks prior to our flight as I did not want to be rushing back to a computer to book seats while we were sightseeing somewhere 24 hours before checkin. I bought the early bird checkin for the flight there as well about 2 days prior to our flight as I was not sure how busy it would be on Thanksgving day for flying. Both times we got the B Boarding and we were really able to get our choice of seating to sit together. If you are a group or family I think it may be a wise choice however if it is only a party of 2 or just yourself, unless you want a specific seat, then I would forego this option.