Southwest Airlines, famous for its slogan “Bags Fly Free,” seems in no hurry to eliminate AirTran’s lucrative baggage fees anytime soon. According to news reports, the giant discounter which acquired AirTran in 2011 will keep the smaller airline’s fees in place into 2014.
AirTran Fees in Place into 2014
Perhaps this should come as no surprise, since in the first three quarters of 2011 alone, AirTran collected nearly $130 million in bag fees. Add in AirTran’s itinerary change fees – which Southwest also doesn’t charge – and the total jumps to more than $166 million.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly insists the bag and change fees will eventually be dropped “over time” and declared it a non-issue.
Billions in Bag Fees
However, Southwest is going against a rising tide of fees that began when American Airlines began collecting money for a first-checked-bag back in 2008. During the first three quarters of last year, U.S. airlines as a group collected more than $2.5 billion in bag fees alone.
On the other hand, Southwest has proven to be wildly popular with the public and its fiercely loyal fans often cite its free bags policy as a major selling point.