Details on Southwest Airlines‘ new fare class are set to be announced “soon”, according to the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Speculation has followed the US-based carrier for months as employees at the airline drip feed details of the new scheme.
The new class is not expected to be introduced below ‘Wanna Get Away’ – the lowest-priced offering. Andrew Watterson, Chief Commercial Officer, told reporters at the beginning of the year that the yet-to-be-announced benefits will be something for which travellers would “happily pay a little more”.
“Material boost” to revenue
The world’s largest low-cost airline confirmed that the motivation behind introducing the new fare category is an attempt to boost ticket revenue. Bob Jordan, Southwest’s new CEO, told investors that the scheme was one of the new revenue initiatives for 2022.
The new fare, in addition to a revamped booking system, is hoped to provide a “material boost” to the airline’s revenue, according to Mr Jordan.
Hopes of drawing vacationers and small to medium-sized businesses that would otherwise buy the airline’s cheapest tickets but would not otherwise buy the more expensive refundable or business tickets are the airline’s primary motivation.
Price hike for travellers?
Concerns the new class will turn the airline’s cheapest offering into a basic fare were addressed by Mr Watterson:
“Just to double down, we will not take anything away from Wanna Get Away.”
Southwest currently offers three classes: Business Select, the highest-priced option, is refundable and features boarding privileges and a complimentary alcoholic beverage; Anytime, slightly cheaper than Business select, is also refundable but lacks the other Business Select perks; Wanna Get Away, its most affordable tickets.
The most common guesses as to what the new class’s perks include new boarding privileges, increased frequent flyer points, free onboard Wi-Fi or further ticket flexibility.
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