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ComScore: Majority of Consumers Deem Additional Travel Fees Unacceptable

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Southwest Airlines 'Freedom From Fees' Policy Helps Boost Its Share of Online Tickets Sold Directly by Major Airlines

Less Than Forty Percent of Consumers Say They Are In Favor of 'A La Carte' Pricing Structure Majority of Consumers Deem Additional Travel Fees Unacceptable, According to comScore Study

ComScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the results of a study of online ticket sales at the U.S. sites of leading airlines as well as consumer attitudes toward airline fees. The study found that Southwest sells nearly 2.5 times the dollar volume of online tickets at its site as its nearest competitor.

From the second quarter of 2007 through the same period in 2008, Southwest Airlines has expanded its leading share of online ticket sales made directly at airline sites by 4.8 points, according to comScore's passively-observed online behavioral data. While Southwest has long positioned itself as an economically priced airline, part of its growth in share coincides with the imposition of additional fees for services such as checking luggage and in-flight beverages charged by the majority of the competing suppliers. Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines has launched a marketing campaign promoting its "Freedom from Fees" policy. 

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Southwest's no-fee claim is deceiving! Its TV commercials show the $69 fare being the fare a customer should expect to pay on Southwest, while the final fare on other airlines differs from that which is advertised. This is actually backwards. I picked my $69 fare on, and the next page showed my final price at $90. The additional $21 was made up of federal and security taxes and fees, which a Southwest phone agent claimed were "not Southwest fees, which is what we are advertising". However, while this is understandable, it is completely deceiving. Booking another flight on, the price I was shown was the price I paid. United at least has the decency to show the fare plus non-United fees on the search results page, unlike Southwest. An no United fees are "hidden". You're quite aware if you are choosing options with fees. I would imagine other airlines are similar. In the end, this particular Southwest ticket was the least expensive I found, even at $90. However, had the fares been closer between Southwest and other airlines (like their $208 fares), this really would have p'd me off. - not buying it