Have you ever ended up in the back of the B boarding zone, or God forbid, the C boarding zone on Southwest Airlines? We have quite a few times, some because we messed up times zones and did our Southwest check-in too late. While other times, we checked in right at the 24-hour mark only to still end up in the back of B.
The good news is that sometimes you can upgrade your Southwest boarding zone to A1-15 at the gate! If you hold Early Bird Check-in, which costs $15 per direction per person, you are checked in after Southwest Business Select fare holders and after Southwest A-List and A-List Preferred elite loyalty members. While that does NOT guarantee you A1-15, it does mean you’ll be ahead of everyone else checking in on Southwest’s cheapest Wanna Get Away fares. However, you can only purchase Early Bird Check-in up until 36 hours ahead of your departure time and not after.
SO… if you hold a bad boarding position and it’s too late to purchase Early Bird, what to do? Ask the ticket agent at the gate if you can upgrade. They will sell upgrades for any unsold Business Select seats for a fee of $30-50. Business Select passengers are supposed to get A1-15 boarding positions, so if all 15 are not sold, you can purchase one at the gate! If they are sold, you are out of luck, but on several recent flights, we found that it was an option.
Have you ever upgraded your boarding position at the gate? Was it worth it?