Southwest Adds $10 Fee to Board Early

Airline with no assigned seats starts charging for first dibs
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2009 4:40 PM CDT
Passengers exit a plane at the Southwest Airlines terminal in Burbank, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Southwest Airlines doesn’t assign seats, but now it will start charging for the privilege of finding the best one, the Dallas Morning News reports. For an extra $10, the new “EarlyBird Check-in” allows passengers to board first, or at least right after the Business Select and Rapid Rewards A-List customers.

Southwest is trying to build a customer base with its "no hidden fees" policy—it's losing out on millions by not charging baggage fees, for example—and says it won't charge a fee for a previously free service. As a result, it's creating fees for new services—such as the EarlyBird Check-in and another that allows customers to carry a small pet in the passenger cabin.