Not exactly news....it's been out there all day long.
The blogsouthwest.com team used to be more "on the ball", and would have released a comprehensive story that lined up better with the release.
So, what gives? You guys not talking to your folks in Marketing anymore?
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A little torn on this one. I sympathize with those customers that feel like this is a hidden fee.
However, the bottom line is that we, the flying public, seem unwilling to pay the kind of fares that allow an airline to be profitable and grow. Southwest, the most efficient airline out there right now, barely eeks out a profit at the current prices that customers are willing to pay. Think about it. Investing in Southwest stock, today, returns less to the investor than a safer investment like a Certificate of Deposit.
So, since the public won't pay fares that allow for a healthy, growing business, something has to give. Southwest's hand is being forced. They need to find new sources of revenue, or they will stop growing, start shrinking, and eventually die.
Make sense? Fuel is more expensive, labor is more expensive, but the public is paying the same kind of fares they did ten years ago. And, when SWA raises fares, they start buying at other airlines.
So, in that context, is EarlyBird really a bad idea? It's less like a fee, because you get something tangible and premium for your dollar. Certainly beats being charged to call the 1-800 number, or paying for a checked bag, etc.
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