Southwest Files to Stop BoardFirst.com

Southwest Airlines has filed a lawsuit to shut down the [www.BoardFirst.com] web site, after the airline's cajoling failed to get the site to shut down voluntarily, as some other similar sites have done. Launched in 2005, BoardFirst.com charges $5 to check in for the customer as soon as the airline has opened up check-in, thus greatly increasing the chances of the customer gets a Group A boarding card. Southwest has a process for boarding where customers board by group, with the latter groups often finding overhead bin space is gone or only middle seats are left. A federal district court hearing on the lawsuit is slated for July 5. BoardFirst.com says it's not doing anything illegal and that once you buy a ticket, it's up to the customer to get their own boarding pass, so customers should be able to do that any way they like. Southwest disagrees which will argue that BoardFirst.com violates the terms of condition and use of the Southwest Web site, that it puts those who won't pay for such a service at a disadvantage, and that it could jeopardize privacy information. Southwest changed the terms for use of its Web site on Feb. 1 to state that, aside from authorized travel agents, third parties may not use the site for the purpose of checking in online or attempting to obtain a boarding pass in any group.

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