I’m flying to Dallas for some training next week. Normally, I fly Southwest where “bags fly free,” but since I’m flying out of Columbia (and more importantly on the company’s dollar) I’m heading out on Northwest. Now I see that it’s going to be $25 extra to check a bag. Don’t be a jerk, Northwest. Let my bag fly free.
It’s not that I begrudge them the money, honestly it’s not. It’s all about perception. By checking a bag, I’m getting at least $25 worth of extra service than if I flew with carry-on only and I freely acknowledge that. But charging an extra fee just makes them look bad. Why not increase my ticket price by $25 on the front end and then tell me my bag is free? That way it’s a bonus! I’m paying more, but I feel like I’m getting a special deal. Heck, charge me $35 extra on the front end give me a “free” bag of Doritos and you’ve got a customer for life! Up it to $50 in “invisible fees” and throw in a $5 iTunes card? I’ll tell all my friends! It’s the standard buffet business model: People think they’re getting a lot for their money – and some people are – but in the end the House comes out way ahead.
But nooooooooooo. Just charge me a moderately cheap price then tack on the fees later. That’s the way to go. That’s the way to lure in loyal customers in a cut-throat industry with apparent razor thin margins.
Maybe I’ll look better and feel more confident knowing that my clothes didn’t bum their way to The Big D. No sirree, they paid their way, dad gummit. That is, of course, assuming they make it to The Big D.