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debunking the myth

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by bydesign77, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    I have left the airline business for now. So I have to start paying for my tickets once again, so I decided to do a little research.

    Granted, this isn't scientific, but it shows people are easily led to believe things that they aren't willing to understand.

    According to the commercials, Bags Fly Free on Southwest. Just a quick flight comparison shows this isn't what you think it is. For a flight from Baltimore to Seattle on Southwest, you'll pay $978.80 for non-stop service. On AirTran? $818.00. *(Prices for 2 roundtrip passengers) Guess where the charge for the bags are? Yep, you guessed it, in your fare.

    If you actually checked two bags per person, roundtrip, you would still be better off with AirTran because you would save 80 cents. (Cost comparison based on checked bag rates for AirTran (2x$15 and 2x$25)).

    Now I realize this isn't always the case and deals can be found. But airlines charging you to check bags seems like a nickel and dime thing, but really, it's just allowing you to decide what services to pay for and which ones you won't.

    But it does make for a catch slogan, doesn't it?
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Yes but when you by a Southwest ticket, the cost is up front -- there are no hidden fees and there's no bullshit advertising. AirTran's cost that got you interested in the ticket is actually 20 percent higher to get you on the plane. With Southwest, there's no game involved.
  3. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    If, by now, you're not smart enough to figure in baggage fees when you purchase tickets, then shame on you.

    Plus, think about it; do you think the average couple is checking FOUR bags?

    That hidden fee argument is bunk anyway.
  4. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    The flights I've needed to go on, Southwest has been cheaper than the rest, even before you figure in the other companies' baggage fees. And Southwest is wise to emphasize the bag thing, because the concept of charging $50-$100 just to put your bag in the hold is ridiculous.
  5. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    As dools pointed out, Southwest is often cheaper than the rest. You found a case where they weren't. The bigger point is, other airlines are actively misleading their customers -- go on sidestep or kayak and the fare you're quoted is the fare without bags. It is pretty late in the process (often not until you get to the airport) that they hit you with the extra $$$$. It's actively misleading customers, and Southwest should be pointing out that they're not doing it.

    Also these bag charges are really hurting on-time performance -- so many people are bringing "carry-on" luggage through screening and checking it at the gate. They know it's too big for the overhead bin, but they don't care because gate check is free and they don't want to pay the $20.

    Having been on quite a few different airlines lately, I can say that other than jetBlue, Southwest is the most pleasant flying experience.
  6. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are deals that puts SWA over the top. But the bags don't fly free. They just include that cost in the ticket. It's misleading.

    I agree that the ads are smart to emphasize there are no additional costs to check bags. And the general public buys into it.
  7. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Then tell everyone to put the bags in the fares and cut the crap.
    OR, as I suggested on another thread, check for free and charge for carry on.
  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    OK, BD, explain to me what cost there is to tossing a bag into a hold that wasn't there in past decades, when there were no extra baggage charges. It's a blatant cash grab.
  9. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    When you go to a Mexican restaurant and they bring the chips and salsa, do you also announce to the table that they're not technically free and the cost is just absorbed into the price of the meal?
  10. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Actually, what's misleading is the airlines that list their fares in big, bold, conspicuous font and then list the baggage charges down in the fine print. It's designed to game the system and complicate direct price comparison on aggregation web sites. Southwest has every right to tout the fact they don't have hidden fees the other airlines do. In fact, they'd be stupid if they didn't. Unfortunately though, I think SWA will eventually cave a start charging the hidden fees because when people just compare the top line number SWA's flights will be higher.
  11. bydesign77

    bydesign77 Active Member

    For the record I don't like checked bag fees. But before they were absorbed in the fare.

    In order to keep fares low, airlines decided to use an ala carte system. If you decide to use the service, then you pay extra. If not you don't.

    It's hard to swallow. And again I don't like it personally. But you have to look at it from a different view to understand it.
  12. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    It is a blatant cash grab but it is the only reason airlines made money last year (with SWA and Allegiant being the exception). Ancillary revenue is here to stay.

    The cost to fly now is still basically cheaper than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. There are additional real costs associated with checked bags, more fuel, handling, claims, etc.

    The mishandled baggage ratio has decreased since airlines started charging for checked bags.
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