Southwest’s CEO On Perhaps Charging For Bags In The Future: “Never Say Never”

For those who love flying Southwest Airlines because it doesn’t charge for passengers to check a bag, well, your love might be tested at some point in the maybe kinda distant future, perhaps. It’s a bit vague, but what we do know is that in a recent interview, Southwest CEO Gary  Kelly isn’t promising that fee-free fun for all eternity.

The company’s earnings are doing well so perhaps Kelly was in a jolly mood during a chat with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” as he revealed that baggage fees aren’t coming… yet.

“There are no plans to charge for bags in 2013,” he said, while adding, “Never say never … the customers will tell us whether they would prefer to have extra fees or whether they would prefer to have everything bundled.”

Wait, what? An airline would listen to customers saying they don’t want extra fees? The problem is that since the industry is different than way back in the days of legacy airlines, with higher fuel costs and the pressure to make money, airlines have to turn a profit somehow. Either raise fares or start charging for bags is apparently the choice.

With less people flying, the stress to keep the dough rollin in is taking its toll on airlines, notes Kelly.

“The capacity in 2012 was actually down again. And that’s what I would expect the [domestic] industry to do … here again in 2013.”

Whenever someone says “never say never” that really means, “yes, that is going to happen someday but I just don’t want to admit it.” Enjoy flying your bags for free on Southwest in 2013 while you can, everyone. We have a feeling 2014 is going to be a whole new ball game.

In the meantime, there are some other fun fees you can pay Southwest if you’d like.

‘Never Say Never’ on Bag Fees: Southwest CEO [CNBC]