Times used to be, flying on Southwest Airlines felt kind of like a democracy. Everyone who bought a ticket was treated equally and boarding was determined by your assigned spot in the line. But slowly the airline seems to be turning toward the kind of model that’s still sorta democratic but with a cash-tinged hue, like with its new $40 fee that guarantees passengers a prime spot in the boarding line.
Already customers can pay $10 for Southwest’s Early Bird Check-In which bumps up your position in boarding process, but this new fee is an outright guarantee that you’ll be one of the first 15 people in line.
Getting onboard early is a coveted perk for travelers, perhaps more so with Southwest’s policy of open seating. First come, first served means anyone with an early spot can pick the best seats with the most legroom and make sure their carry-on is stowed nearby.
For those interested, you can purchase the $40 spots at the gate up to 45 minutes before boarding if there’s space available, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Airlines make a big chunk of cash on these add-on fees so it’s no wonder they keep coming up with more ways for passengers to spend outside a regular fare. Just recently Southwest tacked on fees for no-shows as well as jacking up fees for extra bags and oversized luggage.
Cash for these perks represent anywhere between 10% to 30% of all revenue for many U.S. airlines, notes the LAT.
At this rate the airlines will run out of things to charge us for, so don’t be surprised to see things like “Rent Your Seatbelt From Us Or Bring Your Own!” We kid. Mostly.
Southwest Airlines adds new fee to board early [Los Angeles Times]