Sunday, October 5, 2008

Southwest Hoping to Clean Up On Other Airline Fees

Southwest Airlines is counting on some angry customers in the coming months – passengers flying on other U.S. airlines.

The Dallas-based carrier is making a big deal about its no-fees policy so that customers remember the message the first time they get socked with fees on other airlines.

Southwest executive Dave Ridley says a lot of people, for example, may get a nasty surprise on their Thanksgiving trips when they find they'll have to pay $230 in baggage fees to get on another carrier's flight.

"Imagine the shock and awe," he said.

They'll pay the fees, Mr. Ridley said, but they'll book on Southwest for the next trip. At least, that's what Southwest is hoping.

"We don't think the bulk of the traveling public has been hit between the eyes with the new reality," said Mr. Ridley, senior vice president of marketing and revenue management.

Southwest has embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign to push its message of no fees compared with a lot of fees on other airlines.

"We used to talk about nickel-and-diming," Mr. Ridley said. "Now we're talking about some real money."

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