Southwest Raising Bag Fees, Will Start Charging For No-Shows

Hours after announcing a $29 million settlement over its drink voucher program, Southwest Airlines revealed plans to add $300 million in new and increased fees, along with a policy change that will certainly irk some frequent Southwest travelers.

First up are the increased bag fees. Southwest will still not charge for passengers first two bags, but it told investors today that it plans on jacking up its fees for additional pieces of luggage and overweight baggage. Reuters says the upped bag fees alone are expected to bring in about $100 million/year in additional revenue to the airline.

Southwest will also be increasing the fees it charges passengers for early boarding. Though no date was given this morning on when the changes would happen, the AP reports that the company did say that it will begin increasing fees on AirTran flights starting in February.

For many years, frequent Southwest travelers have expressed their love for the airline’s policy of allowing the cost of an unused ticket to be put toward a future ticket without charging a fee. Though it looks like that policy will continue, at some point in 2013, Southwest will begin charging a yet-unspecified fee to no-show travelers who don’t cancel their seats in advance.

“This should add ancillary revenue and promote customer behavior that allows us to re-sell the open seat prior to departure,” Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan explained to investors.