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Southwest Airlines is a little different than some of its other major competitors. For one thing, Southwest is one of the few major airlines to offer free checked bags. Additionally, there is no assigned seating on Southwest flights. Naturally, this means some people try extra hard to be among the first to board the plane. Early bird gets the worm — et, seat — right?


Well, Southwest has some special “Upgraded Boarding” features to help people board the plane early. But before you jump at the opportunity, let’s take a look at those prices to see if it makes sense for you.

Southwest Airlines offers Upgraded Boarding, which gives you the ability to upgrade your boarding position to A1–A15 24 hours before your flight, depending on availability. If you’re in one of those A1–A15 boarding positions, you will be among the first to board the aircraft, pick your preferred available seat, and access the overhead bin space. As you may know, the longer you wait to board, the fewer seats (and overhead space for bags) available.

We love a window seat!

Now, Upgraded Boarding prices start at $30 per segment of your flight, per person, “based on the popularity and length of each flight segment.” Additionally, you must use a credit card to purchase Upgraded Boarding.

Southwest 50th Anniversary Plane

OK, so $30 per person isn’t so bad, right?  But here’s the catch. Take a look at the chart on the Southwest Airlines website. That fee can go as high as $149 per flight segment per person.

©Southwest Airlines

If you’re interested, Upgraded Boarding is available to buy 24 hours before your flight’s scheduled departure time. Upgraded Boarding sales end 30 minutes before departure, so make sure to check your boarding position carefully before you make your decision. Note that Upgraded Boarding purchases are nonrefundable.

Southwest Airlines

There’s another way to help secure a better boarding position, though. You can also purchase Early Bird Check-In, which costs $15–$99 one way per flight segment, per customer. Similar to the Upgraded Boarding option, Southwest’s EarlyBird Check-In option gives you the ability to automatically check-in before the traditional 24-hour check-in, depending on availability. This also gives you the benefit of an earlier boarding position, a better opportunity to select your preferred available seat, and earlier access to overhead bin storage for your carry-on luggage.

©Southwest Airlines

It’s up to you to decide if these prices are worth the peace of mind of boarding early. We’ll admit, those prices can get pretty high — especially if you’re traveling with a large group.  In the meantime, we’re always on the lookout for the latest travel news, so stay tuned for more.

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Have you ever paid for any of these upgrades? Let us know in the comments!

The post Southwest Airlines Has Its Own “FastPass” Upgrade — for a HEFTY Fee first appeared on the disney food blog.