As baggage fees rise, Southwest Airlines remains the top choice for budget-first travelers

American and JetBlue Airlines announced fee increases for checked bags, making Southwest a stronger candidate for someone looking to travel on a budget.

Southwest Airlines Arrives in San Diego
Southwest Airlines Arrives in San Diego / Kevin Carter/GettyImages

Travel isn’t cheap. Whether it is paying for dinner, reserving a hotel, or a car, the costs attributed to going on a vacation continue to rise and don’t seem to be coming down any time soon. Thanks to capitalism, businesses are incentivized to find ways to nickel and dime customers at every turn. That’s why no one would be surprised that major airlines increased their baggage fees. This is yet another step to making the most money possible. And it is also another example because Southwest Airlines remains the best airline for budget travelers.

American Airlines released the news that baggage fees are going up to $40. This comes after Jet Blue took the same step to raise its baggage fees to $45. United and Delta both charge for checked bags, but their services have not seen a price increase. But when crunching all the numbers, Southwest still wins out.

As of this writing, Southwest does not charge for a checked bag. That service alone goes a long way in putting this airline above its competitors. The baggage fees are baked into the ticket prices, but that still helps keep Southwest’s flights much cheaper than others on the market.

What about those travelers who have suffered a sudden ordeal that forced them to change or cancel a flight? Southwest does not charge extra fees when you must shift after booking. If you must outright cancel, you receive a points refund or flight credit. That goes a long way, especially in today’s world where sudden illnesses and other issues have struck the airline industry. Giving travelers the availability to make a change to a flight without fear of losing out goes a long way in building loyalty for Southwest.

There are other benefits to stack up in Southwest’s favor. The availability of rewards programs for frequent fliers, numerous non-stop options, first-come, first-served seating, and the ease of upgrading to first class. There are several reasons to love Southwest and they continue to stand out as the best airline for budget-focused travelers. The fact that other airlines are increasing checked baggage fees is just another reason to choose Southwest.

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