Southwest Sues Website over Software Offering Early Check-in on Southwest

UPDATE March 6: The website MySouthwestCheckin.com has shut down. A notice on the site reads, “Southwest is hassling us with legal stuff, so this project is done. Sorry, folks.”

EARLIER: If you fly Southwest, you know all about Group A boarding (and please see our poll, below).

It’s the most coveted position because it means you are among the first to board so you get first choice of seats on the discount airline famous for its unassigned seating policy.

Southwest voted most ‘hassle-free’ airline

Site Offers Automatic Southwest Check-in for Fee

Now, an Arizona software company is allegedly in hot water with Southwest for supposedly making it easier for you to get a better seat – and Southwest has filed a lawsuit against the firm.

The issue involves a website called MySouthwestCheckin.com which charges a $5 fee to check you in at the earliest moment possible, thereby getting you a better place in line to choose your seat.

Fee Doesn’t Guarantee Earliest Boarding/Best Seats

In other words, you pay this website to do something for you that the Southwest website lets you do for free. However, as MySouthwestCheckin points out, you may forget to check-in exactly 24 hours ahead of time or be busy with other things, and this site will check you in at the earliest moment automatically (as it says on the homepage, “Isn’t it worth a few dollars just to avoid the stress?”).

Ouch – Southwest Adds More Seats Per Plane

Nowhere on the website does it say that this software guarantees users Group A boarding passes – it merely suggests it makes it easier [Editor’s note: I’ve checked-in for Southwest flights exactly 24 hours in advance and did not get ‘Group A’ boarding passes].

Southwest Lawsuit

However, Southwest is not happy with this website, according to media reports, and in its complaint against site developer SW Software, claims the “unauthorized flight check-in service” is “circumvent[ing] Southwest’s authorized online check-in procedures and as a result, the airline is suffering.”

A response of sorts can be gleaned from the MySouthwestCheckin homepage: “We are providing software you can use on your Windows computer to automatically fill out the Southwest Boarding Pass form as soon as the 24 hour window opens. Southwest seems to think this means we are violating the ‘browser wrap’ agreement that says we can’t use their website to provide a Southwest Boarding Pass. We’re not using their website – you are.”

Take the Poll

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Published: February 28, 2012