Southwest Raises Fees, Adds 'No-Show' Penalty
Southwest Airlines announced fee changes Friday, including increased charges for checking a third bag and a new "no-show" fee for failing to cancel a reservation if you decide not to fly.
Southwest's Chief Commercial Officer, Bob Jordan, announced the fees during an investors' conference in New York, also available as a webcast. Southwest expects to increase revenue by $300 million annually resulting from the fee changes. (Read more: Add-On Airline Fees: Good or Bad?)
Maintaining their "bags fly free" motto, Southwest passengers will still be able to check two bags free of charge. The fee for a third checked bag will increase from $50 to $75, beginning with reservations for travel on/after February 15, 2013, according to their website. The fee for overweight bags — those more than 50 pounds — will also increase from $50 to $75.
Southwest's optional "early bird" check-in fee, which automatically checks you in for a flight providing an earlier spot in line to board, will rise from $10 to $12.50. Otherwise, you can check-in for free beginning 24 hours before flight time and receive standard boarding priority.
Southwest will also institute a fee on the cheapest non-refundable tickets should you not show up for a flight and fail to cancel your reservation in advance.
No U.S. airline has a unique fee for this presently, though many require you to cancel before flight time in order to use the value of that ticket towards a new reservation.
"This should add ancillary revenue and promote customer behavior that allows us to re-sell the open seat prior to departure," said Bob Jordan, Southwest's chief commercial officer, during the investor meeting.
Southwest has yet to determine the cost, implementation date and requirements for the no-show policy, a spokesman said.