Southwest Airlines has launched Digital Upgraded Boarding, allowing fliers to purchase A1 – A15 boarding positions starting at $30 per segment.
The main selling point of this product is to have better access to desirable seats and a reasonable likelihood of having empty overhead bins available.
You can access Southwest Airlines’ page for Upgraded Boarding here.
Southwest passengers can request Upgraded Boarding 24 hours to 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
The price of this A1 – A15 boarding pass starts at $30 per segment per passenger.
Southwest Airlines tries to monetize flier anxiety of being unable to store their carry-on and having to sit on an undesirable seat. It can make sense for some to pay $30 or more per segment for this privilege.
Here are the frequently asked questions by Southwest:
What is Upgraded Boarding?
Upgraded Boarding gives Customers the ability to upgrade their boarding position to A1-A15 24 hours before the flight depending on availability. This allows our Customers the opportunity to be among the first to board the aircraft, pick their preferred available seat, and access the overhead bin space.
How much does Upgraded Boarding cost?
Upgraded Boarding pricing starts at $30 per segment, per Customer, based on the popularity and length of each flight segment. A credit card must be used for the purchase of Upgraded Boarding. Please review our optional travel charges for more details.Is Upgraded Boarding refundable?
Upgraded Boarding purchases are nonrefundable. Customers who cancel their flight will forfeit the previously purchased Upgraded Boarding option for that particular flight.
In the event that a flight is canceled by Southwest, we recognize that the decision was not within the Customer’s control and will process a refund of the Upgraded Boarding purchase for that particular flight in the Customer’s itinerary upon request. Customers must contact us to receive a refund.When can Customers add Upgraded Boarding to their itinerary?
Upgraded Boarding is available for purchase 24 hours before the flight’s scheduled departure time depending on availability. Upgraded Boarding sales will end 30 minutes before departure.Who can purchase Upgraded Boarding?
Customers who have purchased Anytime, Wanna Get Away®, or Wanna Get Away Plus™ fares are permitted to purchase Upgraded Boarding. A1-A15 boarding positions are already included with the purchase of Business Select.
NOTE: Upgraded Boarding should not be purchased for Unaccompanied Minors since they will pre-board the flight. Please review our Unaccompanied Minor Policies for more details.What are all the options to secure an “A” boarding position with Southwest?
There are a few ways to get a guaranteed “A” boarding position before your flight:
1. Purchase Upgraded Boarding: This option is available starting 24 hours before the flight’s local departure time and allows Customers to upgrade their boarding position to A1-A15 depending on availability.
2. Purchase a Business Select fare or upgrade to Business Select: Customers who purchase a Business Select fare will get guaranteed A1-A15 boarding. If a Customer did not originally purchase a Business Select fare but wants guaranteed A1-A15 boarding, they can upgrade their flight to Business Select.
Note: Customers who purchase Business Select fares will be ahead of Customers who purchase Upgraded Boarding. If Business Select is sold out on a flight segment, Upgraded Boarding will not be available.How can a Customer purchase Upgraded Boarding?
When available, Upgraded Boarding can easily be added to a reservation when checking in for a flight via the Southwest® app or Southwest.com®.
Open the Southwest app and select the “Check-In” icon at the bottom of the screen. Enter the confirmation number and verify the flight information displayed is correct. When available, the Upgraded Boarding position option is located below “View Boarding Pass.” Once selected and as available, Upgraded Boarding can be added to one or more flight segments in the itinerary.
On Southwest.com, navigate to the “Check-In” window and enter the confirmation number. The Upgraded Boarding option is displayed below the flight’s itinerary.
NOTE: Upgraded Boarding can only be purchased within 24 hours of the flight’s departure time depending on availability. Upgraded Boarding sales will end 30 minutes before departure.
If you are unable to access the Southwest app or Southwest.com, ask a Customer Service Agent at the departure gate or ticket counter for availability.What is the difference between Upgraded Boarding and EarlyBird Check-In®?
EarlyBird Check-In offers automatic check-in before our traditional 24-hour check-in. Customers can add EarlyBird Check-In to their reservation up to 36 hours prior to a flight’s scheduled departure.
Upgraded Boarding guarantees an A1-A15 boarding position and, when available, can be added to a reservation up to 30 minutes before a flight’s scheduled departure.If the Customer has already purchased EarlyBird Check-In, can Upgraded Boarding still be purchased?
Yes! If an EarlyBird Check-In Customer would prefer an A1-A15 boarding position within 24 hours of departure, they would be eligible to purchase Upgraded Boarding.If a Customer has already purchased a Business Select fare, can they add Upgraded Boarding to their reservation?
No, Business Select Customers receive A1-A15 boarding positions as a benefit of the purchase of that fare. There is no need to add Upgraded Boarding.Will the number of Upgraded Boarding Customers be limited on each flight?
Yes, Upgraded Boarding is limited to A1-A15 boarding positions. If all A1-A15 boarding positions are sold (either as Business Select or Upgraded Boarding), Upgraded Boarding will no longer be available for that flight.Can a Customer purchase Upgraded Boarding at the gate from a Customer Service Agent (CSA)?
Yes, CSAs can process the Upgraded Boarding purchase either at the ticket counter or gate.If the Customer’s itinerary contains multiple flights, will Upgraded Boarding apply to every flight in their itinerary?
No, Upgraded Boarding is sold separately per Customer per segment. Since Upgraded Boarding is sold by segment, if a Customer has a connecting itinerary (two or more flights with different flight numbers on their outbound or return), the Customer can choose to purchase Upgraded Boarding for one or all flights in their itinerary. Depending on which flight(s) are chosen, the total Upgraded Boarding charges will vary.If a Customer is booked on the same reservation as other Customers, can they purchase Upgraded Boarding even if the others do not choose to upgrade their boarding position?
Yes, Upgraded Boarding can be purchased for some Customers on a reservation and not others.If Southwest Airlines cancels a flight, will Customers get a refund for their Upgraded Boarding purchase?
In the event that a flight is canceled by Southwest, we recognize that the decision was not within the Customer’s control and will process a refund of the Upgraded Boarding purchase for that particular flight in the Customer’s itinerary upon request. Customers must contact us to receive a refund.Upon purchase of Upgraded Boarding, will the Customer receive a copy of their receipt?
Yes, the Customer will receive a separate Upgraded Boarding receipt at the billing email address listed in the itinerary.If a Customer adds Upgraded Boarding to an existing itinerary, will any other components of the reservation change?
No. After adding Upgraded Boarding, the existing confirmation number and travel details remain the same.If the Customer has Upgraded Boarding and chooses to change their flight, will the Upgraded Boarding transfer as well?
No, Upgraded Boarding is non-transferable and non-refundable.Will the Customer be issued a new ticket when they add Upgraded Boarding to their itinerary?
When purchased through the Southwest app, boarding documents will automatically update to reflect the new boarding position.
If purchased through Southwest.com, Customers will have the option to receive their new boarding documents by email or text.If a Customer is being accompanied by other travelers on their trip, but they are the only one that purchased Upgraded Boarding, will the other travelers get to board the flight at the same time?
No, all travelers will board the flight in the order of the boarding position reflected on their individual itinerary. If other travelers would like to upgrade their boarding position, they must purchase Upgraded Boarding as well.If a Customer has a Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Credit Card with Upgraded Boarding benefits, how do they redeem their four free Upgraded Boardings through the Southwest mobile app or website?
Each anniversary year of the Cardmember’s eligible Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card, they will be reimbursed for the purchase of up to four Upgraded Boardings, which are positions A1-A15. Use the eligible Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card to purchase Upgraded Boarding and after making the purchase, the Cardmember will receive a statement credit for the price of the Upgraded Boarding, up to four times per calendar year. Statement Credit and purchase of Upgraded Boarding may not post on the same statement, so the Cardmember must allow up to eight weeks for the statement credit to post to their account. Statement Credit is only eligible if Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card or Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card is used for Upgraded Boarding purchase.