Southwest to attack rivals' flight-change fees

AP News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2010 3:23 PM
Southwest to attack rivals' flight-change fees

Southwest Airlines is giving its "bag cops" a break.

Southwest has been running a heavy dose of TV commercials boasting that unlike most other airlines it lets passengers check two bags for free.

But the airline said Friday it will launch a new TV commercial designed to boost sales on its website. The ad, featuring singing and dancing employees in Chicago, is important to Southwest because its flights don't appear on online booking websites such as Orbitz and Travelocity.

Also, Southwest is seeking actors for commercials that will target airlines that charge customers up to $150 to change their itinerary. Southwest doesn't charge a fee for changing flights on a ticket.

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said the airline hasn't decided when or how widely the new campaign will run.

Brett Snyder, who blogs about airlines as The Cranky Flier, said the change-fees ads will probably be less effective than Southwest's long-running "bags fly free" campaign. He said travelers know that they will get charged for checking a bag on other airlines, but they don't know if they'll ever need to change their itinerary.