Now let’s have a look at Available Seat Miles (ASM) capacity. Again, notice the similarities.
And how about load factors? Once again, Southwest’s have moved up and down relative to Continental and American. (For the uninitiated, load factor is the percentage of seats filled and reconciles capacity with demand.)
Herbst draws the following conclusion:
There is no evidence to show Southwest’s competitors lost passenger traffic as they increased add-on baggage fees. The question should be how many hundreds of millions is Southwest giving up by not joining the crowd?
Southwest typically gets credit for being more of an industry leader than a follower. This time, Southwest needs to do some catching up.
Even though I wasn’t one of the industry pundits suggesting baggage fees were hurting airline profits, I had hoped the surcharges would be short-lived. Simply put, the extras are not good for customers — and that should be enough reason to do away with them.