Maybe Southwest really is taking this whole “Be More Productive” thing to heart. See, the airline is even changing their policies to help you. Effective January 29, baggage fees are going up, so you can be more productive by, um, packing less? (The Airline Biz blog out of Dallas and SkyTalk out of Ft Worth both picked this one up yesterday.) This little graphic I put together sums up what they’re doing nicely.
As you can see, there are two big differences between the old and new policies. In the past, Southwest was the only airline that allowed a third bag to be checked for free. They’ve now scrapped that and lined up with many of the other airlines, though the fee for a third bag is far less than on anyone else. Also, if you need to take more than 10 bags, you’ll have to pay $110. That rate only kicks in on the 13th bag now. This, I don’t see as much of a problem. I mean, come on. If you’re checking 10 bags, you need to hire a moving company.
Is this really Southwest’s attempt to help you improve productivity? Of course not. This is just a way for Southwest to get more money. I think they probably saw this as low-hanging fruit, because even with the changes, their policy is still more generous than that of anyone else out there. Not a big change, but it’s certainly symbolic of Southwest’s quest for cash and the slow erosion of their competitive advantages.