Southwest adds an early boarding service

Jan. 21, 2013 at 4:53 PM

DALLAS, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The most popular U.S. airline, Southwest Airlines, said Monday passengers who wish to board flights ahead of others may do so for a $40 fee.

The service would only be available up to 45 minutes before boarding and only when there was enough space to do so, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The pay-for perk is a method of guaranteeing passengers would be among the first 15 to board a plane, giving them more of a chance to grab the seat they want.

Airlines began charging fees for a variety of amenities many of which used to be included in the price of the ticket, such as food, drinks, extra legroom, the use of a blanket or a pillow and for checking a second or third piece of luggage.

As much as 30 percent of airline revenue now comes from various services that were initiated to make up for profits lost during and after the recession. In 2012, fees brought in $36.1 billion for the nation's largest airlines, the newspaper said.

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