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Southwest Unveils Early Boarding Fee

Long Island MacArthur's largest carrier now charging passenges for the option to be the first on board.

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.

Buddy January 22, 2013 at 07:35 PM
MacArthur airport should be a better option for Long islanders but fees like this and the end of the direct flight to Las Vegas forces us to head to JFK.
Neil R. January 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM
This was a Southwest system wide rollout announced yesterday and this fee is at all Airports. Some other Airlines have been doing this for a year. The Town of Islip's MacArthur Airport and Southwest need the LI flyers support as the economy comes back to get those nonstop Vegas and Chicago flights back. Watch for a Dallas flight to come soon.
SoMo January 23, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Until a real airline stars providing service out of MacArthur it's best to just stick with JFK.
Halford January 23, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Duh, this fee is OPTIONAL......
Neil R. January 24, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Halford-- The oriiginal article above clearly says it is an option.
CrankyRetAFColonel January 24, 2013 at 04:35 AM
I have friends that are Southwest Airline Pilots. They call the MacArthur to Miami flight the "miracle flight" because there are always several wheel chair passengers boarding at Islip (theyn board first after all), and even though the crew calls ahead and has wheelchairs waiting, there are miraculously no wheel chair passengers on arrival in Miami.

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