Ever since JetBlue apparently succumbed to the lure of all those millions in bag fees, the question has been raised: Will Southwest follow suit?
According to the Los Angeles Times, the answer is “No.”
Southwest: Free Bags for Now
The paper quotes Southwest CEO Gary Kelly saying, “Who wouldn’t want to be the only competitor doing a certain thing?” He’s got a point. No other U.S. airline offers free checked-bags and three carriers make passengers pay for all but the smallest personal items (Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit). Plus, Southwest is doing very well financially without the fees.
Southwest’s Baggage Policy
The Texas-based airline’s baggage policy is as follows:
- Passengers are allowed two free checked-bags
- Checked-bags over this allowance will cost $75 a piece
- Overweight fee of $75 applies to any checked-bag over 50 pounds
- Carry-on bags are free
Bags Fees in the Billions
But baggage fees are tempting. According to Department of Transportation’s first quarter statistics for 2015, bag fees from all U.S. airlines totaled more than $850 million, well on track to a year-end total in the billions.
Meantime, we haven’t noticed Southwest’s famous advertising slogan, ‘Bags Fly Free’ in recent TV commercials which raises yet another question: Will Southwest ever jump on the fee bandwagon? We’ve contacted the airline and will update if we learn more. UPDATE: According to Southwest spokesperson Brad Hawkins, “We have no plans to make any changes to our very successful Bags Fly Free for everyone position.”