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Southwest Airlines Could Implement Fees For Checking Bags At Passengers Wishes

Oct 25, 2013 10:00 AM EDT | By Justin Stock
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines could implement fees for checking fees if customers want it.(Photo : Creative Commons )

If customers want it, Southwest Airlines could implement a fee for checking bags The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

"There's no reason why [charging for bags] wouldn't make sense," Hunter Keay, an airline analyst at Wolfe Research told The Journal. "The competitive landscape has changed."

Although extra fees for checking bags may be a burden to some, the airline is trying to cater to certain aspects of the airline industry passengers have grown accustomed to.

"Our brand includes bags fly free. Period," Southwest chief executive officer Gary Kelly said in a conference call in April The Journal reported. "(Customers might grow more accustomed to buying airline services a la carte) so I don't want us to be pinned down into perpetuity on what we might or might not do. We'd be crazy not to provide our customers with what they want."

Others feel the fees are not needed.

"Charging for bags still has a pronounced negative impact on passenger satisfaction, but with each year, passengers are increasingly more accepting of carriers unbundling baggage and other fees," Ramez Faza, senior manager of the travel practice at market research firm J.D. Power and Associates said in a study conducted by the firm The International Business Times reported.

"If you go anywhere with my wife, you're bringing two checked bags," Thomas Arthur, a corporate-asset manager out of Jackson, Miss told The Journal. "(On other airlines) that adds 100 to 200 bucks (to the round-trip price)."

Southwest's partner airline AirTran Airways charges $25 for checking one bag. This was increased from $5 last year. The price for a second bag was also changed from $10 to $35.

The fees will be eliminated when Southwest merges AirTran into one airline the end of next year.

"It's a service I don't use, so I don't want to pay for it," Robert Hartfield, an investment adviser in Philadelphia told The Journal.

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