Southwest Totally Over “No Hidden Fees” Campaign

By Kiran Aditham 

Suffice to say, Southwest has caused a little bit of a furor amongst the blogging community since yesterday’s introduction of a $10 priority boarding fee in an effort to remain profitable.

The airline, which has no assigned seating, says the added optional cost lets customers move up in line at the gate. But as the Wall Street Journal reports, Southwest is performing a balancing act, trying to boost its slumping revenue while running an ad campaign over the last year that boasts “no hidden fees.”

But since June alone, the airline according to WSJ has “began offering customers the option of bringing small pets aboard for a $75 fee, introduced a $25 fee for unaccompanied minors and doubled the fee to $50 for checking a third or overweight bag.” Of course, this fee barrage coincides with GSD&M Idea City replacing the “no fees” effort with more recession-proof messaging.

Still, as we mentioned, the blogosphere isn’t reacting positively to the news regardless. Scott McCartney of WSJ’s “Middle Seat” blog says: “When does an airline cross that mythical line between offering fair value to customers and nickel-and-diming them? Hard to say, but Southwest Airlines is clearly moving that way.”

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun more bluntly suggests: “The problem here is not so much that they’re charging extra fees but that they’re charging for the wrong things. How about $10 to make sure you and your bags wind up in the same place? Or $10 to guarantee you won’t be stuck on the tarmac for five hours without food or water? Maybe $10 so the ticket agent won’t act like a jerk? Or, in Southwest’s case, an extra $10 to make sure they use FAA-approved parts when they maintain their planes?”

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