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Southwest is the Latest to Offer Priority Boarding in Exchange for Cash

January 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM | by | ()

At this point we have pretty much accepted that airlines are going to charge us extra for anything we could possibly want. Snacks, space, and suitcases all come at a premium when it’s finally time to get yourself to the airport, but of course once it’s time to hop aboard things like early boarding and extra legroom are also available—for a price. Southwest Airlines is the latest carrier to throw their hat fees into the ring, as they’re eager to help you get on board one of their blue-bellied planes earlier than the other passengers. However, it’s going to cost you.

They might hate baggage fees, but they don’t hate early boarding fees. As this week Southwest Airlines made it known that $40 will get you one of the top 15 spots in their boarding system. Just in case you don’t recall how it works over at Southwest, everyone gets a number—and a letter—and then you board in that order. The trick is to check-in right at the 24-hour mark before your flight, as that kind of increases your odds of winning the boarding lottery.

Basically, up for grabs are boarding positions in their A1 through A15 boarding group, and it’ll be offered around 45 minutes before the flight is getting ready to do its thing. The friendly gate agent will make an announcement about the opportunity to cut the line, and then we imagine a few folks will mosey up to the podium with credit cards in their hands.

The Cranky Flier has a pretty good rundown—and a funny picture—describing the current state of Southwest Airlines and their somewhat cumbersome boarding process. Sure the no assigned seats thing is slick and helps turn around planes faster, but now with so many options to cut ahead and skip the line it’s getting a little more confusing.

For us—we’ll hold onto our $40 thank you very much—and just try our luck at checking-in at the 24-hour mark.

[Photo: BriYYZ]

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