We asked all three airlines what happens if dozens of people start to pay to board early---kind of isn't that special anymore --- and it would seem like money in the air carrier's pocket while you're back to fighting for space in the overhead bin! Here’s what they told us:
"We keep a close eye on the number of Early Bird tickets sold on each flight to protect the integrity of the product but we have not set a lid on the product, primarily because we have not seen the need to implement a limit."
“The Boarding and Flexibility package will be available for customers who wish to purchase it for their flight itinerary. We constantly watch our flights and space available to ensure that the customers get the service that they value, and will offer the service that they purchased. As to if everyone decides to buy it, we will be offering it up to the point where we can deliver on what they bought. That is manages through our internal business rules and it can differ from route to route. This is a great service for customers who not only want to board early, but also may need flexibility. In case they need to depart earlier that day, they have the opportunity to Stand-by for a flight or confirm their reschedule for a much lower fee.”
“It varies by airport, time of day and day of week.”
Will other airlines start selling precious pre boarding spots? Travel expert Ed Perkins thinks so. “It's likely that other lines will follow -- in the airline business, nothing catches on as quickly as a bad idea.” Perkins notes this fee though is really a win-win for air carriers, “They get more money for selling something that costs them nothing extra. 100% markup looks really good to a corporate treasurer.”