Local travelers seeking to board a Southwest Airlines flight first are now being asked to pay more for the privilege.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the airline, the largest carrier at Long Island MacArthur Airport, on Monday rolled out a new $40 fee that when paid will allow passengers to be among the first 15 people to board a flight.
Southwest officials said the new boarding option may be purchased at the gate up to 45 minutes before boarding and when space is available.
The airline already charges $10 for its Early Bird Check-In service, which allows passengers to have an earlier place in the boarding process.
Unlike other airlines, Southwest does not offer assigned seating and boards its flights in three groups. Passengers boarding earlier in the process have access to baggage compartments and are likely to avoid middle seats on the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737s.
While the new fees are voluntary, Southwest has for the past several years built a marketing campaign around not charging passengers bag fees. Nearly all airlines charge fees for checked baggage.