Do you know what the airline industry really needs about now? More fees! Luckily, Southwest Airlines is happy to oblige. They’re now charging a $10 fee to customers who want to board the plane before everyone else.
The fee doesn’t apply to “Business Select” passengers or elite frequent flyers, who get to board before the coach class masses do. Southwest famously doesn’t have assigned seating, so this gives passengers a chance to jump the line and snuggle up to a nice window seat if they so desire. Harmless enough. But as the Wall Street Journal’s travel blog notes,
Southwest needs to find ways to increase revenue even though the airline isn’t growing as fast as it used to. Fees may be a big factor. And EarlyBird check-in fees could well be an early-bird sign that bag fees aren’t far off.
Indeed. Other signs that Southwest is having trouble: the airline is being investigated by the FAA for using unauthorized parts on its fleet, and is also cutting back on flights.