There has been some confusion over the latest fee changes at Southwest and its merger acquisition partner AirTran. Southwest, long known for its tag-line, “Fees don’t fly with us!” has in fact been charging some fees for years and will add a brand new one in the coming year. Additionally, some fees on both airlines have been raised effective immediately.
Two Bags Still Fly Free
What has not changed is Southwest famous free bags policy – passengers can still check two bags at no charge, and it remains the most generous policy among the only U.S. airlines (JetBlue gives its passengers one free checked-bag). AirTran has always charged for checked-baggage and will continue to do so but those fees have gone up. Here’s the break-down:
Southwest: New No-Show Cancelation Fee
While Southwest will keep its no change fee policy in place, it will begin charging an unspecified no-show fee for travelers who make reservations but skip the flight without notifying the airline.
Up until now, travelers could book tickets on Southwest and not show up without incurring a financial penalty. This will change sometime in 2013, but again, neither a firm date nor a specific fee has been announced.
Southwest: Higher Fees for Excess, Overweight Bags, Early Boarding
These changes are effective for tickets purchased on or after Dec. 15 for travel on or after Feb. 13, 2013.
- New excess checked-bag fee: $75 each for all bags after the first two free checked-bags
- Old fee: $50 each for bags 3-9; $110 each for the others
- New overweight, oversize fee: $75 per item from 51-100 lbs. or in excess of 62 inches
- Old fee: $50 per item
- New EarlyBird early boarding fee: $12.50 per passenger
- Old fee: $10
AirTran: Higher Checked-Bag Fees
AirTran raised its checked-bag fees as of Dec. 15 to bring them in line with fees charged by other carriers including American, United and US Airways.
- New Checked-baggage fees: $25 one-way for first checked-bag, $35 one-way for second bag.
- Old fees: $20 for first, $25 for second