Southwest to Increase Fees

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 at early morning

Southwest Airlines to Increase Fees and Charge for No Shows

Southwest Airlines, the best known of US low cost carriers, will be increasing fees and start charging for passengers who no-show. Two checked bags on Southwest will still remain free which is something you won’t find over at the legacy carriers.

While checked bags at Southwest remain free, that’s not the case at their subsidiary, AirTran, which is slowly being merged into Southwest to ultimately form one airline. If you’re flying on AirTran, you’ll soon be looking at $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second piece of checked luggage.

At a financial conference, Southwest announced they’d like to double their earnings in 2013, assuming items like jet fuel remain stable.

No Show Fee

Some Customers Will Pay More Out of Pocket

Some Customers Will Pay More Out of Pocket

The no-show fee will apply to consumers on Southwest Airlines who purchase the cheapest fares, known as “Wanna Get Away” fares, and if you don’t show up for your flight, it’ll cost you.

The exact amount of the new penalty fee isn’t known at the moment, but Southwest has passengers no-call, no-show because of their flexible policies which made the airline popular, including no change fees. Consumers may apply the value of their (unused) tickets to a new one, providing it is within a one-year period.

Southwest does overbook their flights to account for no-shows, as well as missed connections, but this move will not only boast profits, but it’ll provide a more accurate count as to how full a particular flight is.

At the end of the day, no-shows do cost the airline money – the sooner they know you won’t be using that ticket, the seat can be re-sold to another passenger.

This policy change still allows Southwest customers to make changes without a fee, but passengers will need to cancel their reservations prior to flight. The carrier hopes this will increase yields, selling every seat on a flight when possible.

Increased Fees

Southwest intends to increase a couple of existing fees at this time. The first is the “early boarding” fee, which allows passengers priority boarding – with no assigned seats on Southwest, it is first come, first serve. Boarding first ensures you get the seat of your choice while giving you first dibs with overhead bin storage.

The second fee change is for overweight luggage and woah it’s a big increase. Make sure your two bags stay under the 50 lbs weight limit and you’ll avoid coughing up $100.

The best thing you can do is keep your bags within your weight limit. If you have too much luggage, seriously consider sending it via UPS Ground. It’ll be much cheaper and it’ll will save you a bundle of money.

Overall, the new measures won’t have a huge impact on most customers at Southwest Airlines.

Add-on Fee’s are much worse elsewhere – there’s always the Irish carrier Ryanair, but in the United States is Spirit Airlines. Spirit bills themselves as an “ultra low cost carrier” and has fees for everything, including carry-on luggage. If you fail to pay in advance, the cost of bringing the roll-a-board onto the plane will skyrocket to $100.

While the carry-on fee is unique to Spirit Airlines, most US legacy carriers are going nuts when it comes to selling add-on services to passengers, be it early boarding, priority security, or a seat with more legroom. Then there’s one-day lounge passes, WiFi Internet fees, and the privilege of paying more for additional frequent flyer miles — not to mention fees for checked bags.

Know what you need in advance and generally if you pay for the “add-on” in advance, you’ll get a much better deal.



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