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Southwest Airlines Adds $40 Fee for Early Boarding

Southwest airplanes on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Getty Images
Southwest airplanes on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Southwest Airlines on Monday announced a new $40 fee to let passengers board early — the latest carrier to charge additional fees for everything from priority boarding to guaranteed seats next to your kids.

Southwest's new boarding option will only be offered at the gate on the day of travel, beginning 45 minutes before the flight departs, the company said in a press release. Priority seating allows passengers to get ahead of the slow and crowded boarding process and to stow carry-on bags before the overhead bins fill up.

With the days of all-inclusive fares long gone, passengers grumble at being charged extra along every point of the travel process. But recent data from Airfarewatchdog.com, a travel blog, suggests one of the few amenities passengers are willing to pay extra for is a hot meal.

Southwest tested its new boarding option and fee in San Diego last month.


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