Southwest Early Bird Check In

Southwest Early Bird Check-In: All You Need To Know 2024

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Last Updated on May 24, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

Southwest Airlines has been known for its promise of customer satisfaction and innovative ideas and approach to air travel. Among the many facilities offered by the airline company, one that stands out for frequent flyers is the Southwest Early Bird Check-In. In this guide, we’ll provide all the details of the early bird check-in facility of Southwest Airlines, exploring how it works, its benefits and usage, and why it has become a popular choice for travelers seeking a hassle-free journey over the years.

How Does Southwest Early Bird Check-In Work?

Southwest Early Bird Check-In is a facility provided by the airline company to get better boarding places for passengers, ensuring they have access to preferred seating options and a smoother boarding process when traveling with Southwest Airlines.

  • Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fare holders can purchase Southwest Early Bird Check-In 36 hours before departure.
  • The Early Bird Check-In facility is included in the Anytime fare.
  • Travelers with an A-List or an A-List Preferred Membership do not need to purchase Early Bird Check-in as they will already get priority boarding.
  • Also, unaccompanied minors don’t need to buy it as they will get preboarding.
  • Flyers with Southwest Early Bird Check-In have the privilege to reserve the position 36 hours before departure. However, they can print the boarding pass only 24 hours before the flight takes off.
  • Passengers with Anytime fares will get priority in check-in over Wanna Get Away and Wanna Get Away Plus fare holders with Early Bird purchase.
  • Similarly, Wanna Get Away Plus will get priority over Wanna Get Away fare.
  • A single passenger in a multiple-passenger booking can also purchase the Early Bird even if the other does not wish to purchase it.

Steps to Purchase Southwest Early Bird Check-In

If you are booking a Wanna Get Away Plus and Wanna Get Away ticket, then during the booking process you can add the Early Bird access.

  • Go to the official website of Southwest Airlines.
  • Enter the destination, choose the flight, and review the pricing summary.
  • After that, enter the passenger details.
  • Now, while entering the contact details, Southwest will give you the option to purchase the Early Bird Access.
  • Pick the option and pay the additional charges at the time of booking payment.

However, if you have already placed your booking with Southwest, then you can purchase the Early Bird Check-in later with the help of the Manage Reservations tool.

  • Open the app or the official website.
  • Now, navigate to the Manage Reservations tool.
  • After that, enter the confirmation number, last, and first name.
  • After fetching the trip details, purchase the Early Bird. Remember that Early Bird access is subject to availability.

Southwest Early Bird Check-In Fee

The EarlyBird Check-In feature allows the passengers to automatically check-in for their Southwest flight. This provides the customers with the facility to provide a more desirable boarding slot. The option to get an early check-in starts at a $15 one-way flight but can vary based on the popularity and length of the flight.

How to Obtain Southwest Early Bird Check-In for Free?

Southwest Airlines has four fares: Business Select, Anytime, Wanna Get Away, and Wanna Get Away Plus.

  • The travelers with Business Select get to check in early and board the plane in the A1-A15 group. Thus, flyers can purchase Business Select fare to board the plane early.
  • Similarly, Southwest Anytime fare includes the  Eary Bird check-in facility. If the passenger has purchased the ticket 24 hours before departure, they are eligible to get early check-in.
  • Another way to board early is to purchase upgraded boarding. By doing it, you can board the plane in the A1-A15 group. 

How Does Southwest Early Bird Check-In Worth It?

How Does Southwest Early Bird Check-In Worth It?

The Southwest Early Bird check-in is worth it and much needed because of the various benefits that traveler enjoys.

Automatic Check-In:

The Southwest Early Bird Check-In allows the passengers to automatically check in 36 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure time. This automated process removes the hassle and the need for travelers to reach early or log in at specific times, providing a stress-free experience in the overall journey.

Boarding Position Assignment:

This early check-in and seat choice increases the likelihood of securing the chosen seats towards the front of the aircraft, where passengers can enjoy quicker dispersal at the time of landing and a more comfortable and stress-free journey.

Securing Overhead Bin Space:

Boarding early on the plane gives the advantage of securing space for hand luggage in the overhead bin more easily.

Southwest Airlines Boarding Groups

If the passengers have not traveled in Southwest, they can find the boarding process slightly confusing. If the passengers are familiar, they can instantly grab the benefits of EarlyBird Check-In.

Southwest Airlines does not provide assigned seats. In place, passengers line up at the gate according to boarding position; once called, they are free to sit in any available seat on the plane.

Southwest Pre-Boarding

 Pre-boarding, according to Southwest Airlines, is only available to passengers  with “specific seating needs.” The requirement for assistance in boarding or stowing an assistive device, as well as the need to accommodate a disability, may be taken into consideration.

Positions A1-A15

The positions A1 to A15 are reserved for Business Select passengers. If the Business Select seats are available then other fare holders can purchase the upgrade and board the plane in this group.

Positions A16-A30

The best positions following A16-A30 are usually assigned to A-List Preferred/A-List Members and passengers with EarlyBird Check-In.

 B Boarding Group

The positions in the B boarding group are distributed to Anytime, Wanna Get Away, and Wanna Get Away Plus fare holders with Southwest EarlyBird Check-In.

C Boarding Group

It is the lowest boarding order on Southwest. Passengers who check in late usually fall into this group.

Tips for Maximizing Southwest Early Bird Check-In

Tips for Maximizing Southwest Early Bird Check-In

Make Your Reservations Early: First-come, first-served policy applies to Early Bird Check-In. Your chances of obtaining this service are increased when you book your flight far in advance.

Check-In Window: To make sure everything is in order, it’s suggested to confirm the Passenger boarding position during the 36-hour window before departure, even though EarlyBird Check-In checks passengers in automatically.

Group Travel: To improve the chances of passengers sitting together while traveling in a group, buy EarlyBird for the whole group.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

What benefits does EarlyBird Check-In provide?

EarlyBird Check-In provides advantages such as priority boarding, increased seat selection options, and a decreased stress factor related to checking in precisely 24 hours before the flight.

When can EarlyBird Check-In be purchased?

Passenger generally purchase EarlyBird Check-In as part of their original flight purchase. However, if not purchased with the initial ticket, passengers can add EarlyBird Check-In to a flight after purchase up to 36 to 24 hours before a flight’s scheduled local departure time.

Can I purchase EarlyBird Check-In for a group traveling together?

EarlyBird Check-In can be purchased for the entire group, ensuring that all passengers have a better chance of sitting together.

Can I purchase an Early Bird Check-In after booking my flight?

Passengers can purchase EarlyBird Check-In separately after booking. Passengers can purchase through the Manage Reservations section on the Southwest website or application.

Is the Early Bird Check-In fee nonrefundable?

If a passenger cancels his or her flight, the EarlyBird Check-In fee for that particular flight is not refunded. However, if the flight is canceled by Southwest, the fee will be refunded.

Does Southwest automatically check me in with Early Bird?

Passengers with EarlyBird Check-In don’t need to check in manually. The system automatically checks passengers in 36 hours before departure.

Why did my Southwest Early Bird check-in not work?

You cannot probably take advantage of the Southwest Early Bird because of time. If your flight is set to depart within 24 hours, then you cannot purchase the Early Bird. It could be also, that your ticket conditions do not allow Early Bird check-in.

What is Southwest Early Bird?

EarlyBird Check-In is an option that allows you to check in automatically before the regular 24-hour check-in time on Southwest Airlines. It helps in choosing an available seat in advance due to an earlier boarding position and getting access to overhead bin storage for your carry-on bags.

More On Southwest Airlines:

How do I get a Southwest Callback

Southwest Low Fare Calendar

Southwest Airlines pet policy

Southwest Airlines name change policy


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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