I normally fly Southwest not only because they’re inexpensive but also because of the commercials that say “Bags Fly Free®”. It always struck me as odd that I would have to pay for my luggage to accompany me.
Yet, that is exactly what happens…and more.
I’m actually heading to Atlanta from BWI (Baltimore) today for a conference over the weekend. Unfortunately, Southwest doesn’t go that route, at least not in any sort of non-stop fashion. I had a choice between Air Tran and US Airways. I don’t know why I picked Air Tran. I just did. Oh. And I did it through Travelocity.
I thought it was odd not to be able to pick out a seat at the time I bought the ticket. I found out why when I went to “check in” online. It seems Air Tran wants to charge extra for:
- special seating (exit rows or the front of the plane which they call business class)
- special boarding — which I thought was odd since they offered the premium boarding after I had picked out my seat
- luggage — at $15 a bag one way
Considering the air fare itself is not that expensive ($89.55 one way) that means my bag which gets thrown around and sits in an unpressurized luggage compartment is an extra 16%. That seems like a lot. I didn’t price out the premium seating or the premium boarding but my guess is that, if I took advantage of the offer, it might double the price of the ticket.
Here’s my take:
Just put all this stuff into the price of the ticket. I would much rather pay a flat fee of say $150 (almost double what I’m paying now) and be able to pick out my seat when I buy my ticket and not have to worry about paying for my bags. I don’t need food or peanuts or anything like that. I just want to know what the trip is going to cost upfront.
Of course, some of my friends tell me this is a way to provide the consumer with “choice”. People who have the money and want the extra convenience for premium seating and boarding can pay for it. Those who don’t want to pay the extra get the leftovers. Capitalism.
Maybe so. Still, I would rather not have to pull out my credit card at various intervals and key in my number and info again and again just to get on the plane to go from Point A to Point B.
I especially don’t think my bags should have to pay.