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Old 04-11-2018, 06:50 PM   #1
TexasChick
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Default Be Careful Buying Early Bird Checkin on SWA When Flying on Points

Let me give you the setup so you can understand the frustration here. My DH and I are both flying on Southwest. He purchased his ticket with miles (Wanna Get Away Fare) and bought the early bird check-in. I am his companion, so I booked separately. We didn't buy early bird for me because to change a companion ticket, you have to cancel it and rebook every time and will lose the EBCI every time you cancel. The companion is booked separately and gets his/her own confirmation number. He has had early bird check-in (EBCI) with no modifications to his reservation for over a month. I added early bird last week to my ticket. Today, when we go to look at our tickets, I am in position B01, and he is B09. My BIL and sister checked in at exactly 24 hours before. They got A45 and B32. So let's review, my DH, who should be ahead of me because of time of purchase of EBCI is 8 places behind me. My BIL who had no EBCI and no status got A45 and booked the Wanna Get Away Fare as well. WTH?!? I will never buy this again. What a ripoff!
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:55 PM   #2
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Sounds like theyíve been getting help from Disneyís IT dept. Hope we donít have any issues on Saturday
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:09 PM   #3
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Oh no! This makes me nervous. We will be flying SW for the first time in July and I purchased the early bird for me and my kids. While they are teenagers, I know they would be more comfortable sitting together. Did I just waste my money?
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:12 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by TriciaS View Post
Oh no! This makes me nervous. We will be flying SW for the first time in July and I purchased the early bird for me and my kids. While they are teenagers, I know they would be more comfortable sitting together. Did I just waste my money?
Iíve honestly never had an issue with it. Anything is possible, but Iím not anticipating any problems. You will probably be just fine!
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:12 PM   #5
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Oh no! This makes me nervous. We will be flying SW for the first time in July and I purchased the early bird for me and my kids. While they are teenagers, I know they would be more comfortable sitting together. Did I just waste my money?
When I called the main SWA airlines phone number to complain, she told me to call a different number. When I called that number, there was a 40 minute wait.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:19 PM   #6
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Hmmm... that's interesting. I forgot that when we went to WDW in January and flew SW I experienced something similar. I booked my own flight first on points far in advance then added the rest of the family (5) here and there as the prices fluctuated. I got the EB for all of us at the time of booking.

When we got our boarding passes the five of them were together at the beginning of the B section and I was 10 or 15 places behind them. I remember asking myself how can this be? I booked my flight and EB months before them. Not to be taken advantage of I just stood with the rest of my family, handed the attendant my boarding pass, and walked on out of sequence. Probably not the right thing to do but it just didn't make any sense to me.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:22 PM   #7
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Iíve honestly never had an issue with it. Anything is possible, but Iím not anticipating any problems. You will probably be just fine!
I have to agree with ermindy on this. We've traveled SW for as long as I can remember and never had a problem until this past flight. And it really wasn't a big deal.. I fixed it myself. I'm sure that you'll be fine too.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:24 PM   #8
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One likely explanation for your BIL getting A45 is that someone, likely with EBCI, had that boarding position and changed/canceled their reservation. When that happened, A45 went back into the pool for the next person to check in. Assuming your BIL checked in before his wife, he got the released A45. That would explain why he got such a different position from his wife. I'm also assuming he wasn't on the same reservation number as her as well. Anytime I've had more than one person on a reservation, we got consecutive numbers.

As far as you and your husband, perhaps his free ticket on points was in a different fare class than your free ticket booked as a companion ticket. I don't know enough about Southwest's fare class structure. With that said, the Southwest website has this to say about the order EBCI spots are reserved:

"Yes. Customers who have purchased Anytime Fares will receive priority over Customer’s who purchase Early Bird with other fare types. Boarding positions are assigned based on the time stamp of the EarlyBird Check-In purchase relative to passengers within the same fare class."

Perhaps the folks on the FlyerTalk frequent flyer forum can answer the fare class question.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:24 PM   #9
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Sounds like theyíve been getting help from Disneyís IT dept. Hope we donít have any issues on Saturday
Here's hoping all's well for you on Saturday too! We're heading to WDW the following week. The weather forecast has been great!
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:29 PM   #10
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Sadly, there are multiple reports of this happening. I wish I would've known before I bought it. It looks like what happens is that EBCI is all locked in 36 hours before the flight. When people cancel or change after they've been checked in (which happens frequently with business travelers), then their boarding position opens up. However, EBCI will not move anyone up. The only people who get the benefit of the opening are those that haven't checked in yet. It doesn't seem fair as there is obviously a lot of movement in those 12 hours since many have reported the same thing happening to them. Why can't their system move us up rather than those that didn't pay $$$ for a better boarding position?!? Regarding why my DH is 8 places behind me when he had EBCI over a month before I did, that's a mystery.

When you go to WDW, be careful buying EBCI. Unless you get an "A" boarding position, it can be a waste. Those of us with young kids can all get on between Groups A and B, and we fill up a lot of seats. As long as I have a kid under 6, I will keep doing this as will all the others traveling to WDW that can.
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