NEW JACK CITY: Smoke And Mirror Airfare Pricing – Don’t Get Bagged by Majors

Used to be a given that when searching for an airfare out of MCI you’d get the best ticket pricing…

Rates on discounters like Southwest Airlines and AirTran. But legacy carriers like American, Delta, United-Continental and USAirways have become much more competitive of late.

I keep finding very competitive, even lower fares to popular destinations on airlines other than say Southwest. That’s especially true to a popular destinations served by Southwest with multiple daily non-stop flights. Whereras other carriers serving that particular city pair only with connecting flights.

But not so fast, there are other considerations.

Like a roundtrip I priced with tax to Las Vegas at $ 425.00 on a Southwest non-stop. That Delta offers for just $ 390.00.

Are you really better off with Delta? Depends.

First you’ve got to make a connection either in Atlanta or Salt Lake City. And if you’re checking luggage and a golf bag that would cost you an additional $60.00 in each direction on Delta or a total add-on of $ 120.00. So all of a sudden that $425.00 price on Southwest—which doesn’t charge for first or second checked bags—doesn’t sound so bad.

In my example Delta’s end price now tops out at $510.00 vs. Southwest’s $425.00. An $85.00 savings on the peanut line!

So the next time you fly, think beyond just the base price.

For comparison sake, this is an example of how the major carriers currently charge for first and second pieces of checked luggage—IN EACH DIRECTION.

AirTran(***)—First bag: $20.00 / Second bag: $25.00.
American—First: $25.00 / Second: $35.00.

Continental—First: $25.00 / Second: $35.00.

Delta—First: $25.00 / Second: $35.00.

Frontier: First: $20.00 / Second: $20.00.

Southwest: First: -0-  / Second: -0-.

United: First: $25.00 / Second: $35.00.

USAirways: First: $25.00 / Second: $35.00.
(***) Note that AirTran was recently aquired by Southwest Airlines. Once these two carriers are merged into one airline, AirTran’s checked bag fees will disappear.)
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2 Responses to NEW JACK CITY: Smoke And Mirror Airfare Pricing – Don’t Get Bagged by Majors

  1. smartman says:

    What Delta Means
    When you consider that DELTA is an acronym for Don’t Ever Leave The Airport you’re much better off on Southwest. Ever since the merger with Northwest things have only gotten worse.

    If you HAVE to fly Delta, sign up for one of their AMEX Sky Miles Credit Cards which waves the fee for your first bag and gets you priority boarding.

  2. jon says:

    You make some good points. But the thing that really gets me when flying American or United is the check in counter personnel and flight attendant’s attitutes. It;s totally opposite to that of Southwest’s people.

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