Southwest Airlines Has No Plans To Start Charging For Checked Bags

Less than a month after JetBlue said goodbye to free checked bags, Southwest Airlines has made it clear it won’t be going down the same path.

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said during a business travel conference that it makes more financial sense for the carrier to retain its “bags fly free” policy, even if checked-baggage fees are a revenue booster, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Kelly suggested that if the airline – which is the only major carrier to not charge for checked bags – changed its policy, it would likely lose passengers to other airlines.

“Who wouldn’t want to be the only competitor doing a certain thing?” he said.

Airline checked bag fees, which range from $15 to more than $25, have become an important source of revenue for many carriers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the first three months of 2015 saw airlines collecting more than $864 million in revenue from the fees.

Despite those proceeds, Southwest isn’t doing so bad without the added fees, the L.A. Times reports. The company’s net income increased nearly $143 million over the past year.

Of course, hefty fees for checked bags could soon be a thing of the past, as legislators recently introduced the Baggage Fee Fairness Act of 2015 that would limit checked-baggage charges to just $4.50/bag.

Southwest Airlines will keep its ‘bags fly free’ policy [The Los Angeles Times]

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