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New Southwest CEO on bag expenses, change expenses, assigned seats: ‘Or not it is not like we are changing the DNA of the company’

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New Southwest CEO on bag expenses, change expenses, assigned seats: ‘Or not it is not like we are changing the DNA of the company’

, USA TODAY
Printed 7: 07 p.m. ET June 23, 2021

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The Tuesday cancellations followed technical factors Monday evening that grounded flights across the U.S.

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Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly has been asked limitless times over the past decade whether the airline might well per chance be a part of its competitors in charging for checked bags.

His answers web ranged from never issue never to, in fresh years, an emphatic defense of its bags-bound-free coverage in the face of billions in earnings rivals get from checked-bag expenses. At the very least about a times, he went up to now as to exclaim bags will remain free as long as he’s CEO.

So Wednesday’s announcement that Kelly is stepping down as CEO in February raises a key question for travelers: will bags silent bound free?

Kelly’s replacement, longtime Southwest government Bob Jordan, had a transient reply in a transient interview with USA TODAY.

“I will issue emphatically that we will not fee for bags,” Jordan acknowledged. “And there might be no (ticket) change expenses.”

Kelly joked that that he’s not retiring or leaving the company as he’ll web on as government chairman till a minimal of 2026.

“That is one of the beauties of this: Bob and I are very well aligned with our values, with our delight in for the company, with our embrace of the Southwest tradition and if truth be told our attitudes toward customer help,” Kelly acknowledged. “You might well per chance not look any bag expenses.”

Regardless of references to a brand current technology for Southwest in a memo despatched to employees about the management change, Jordan acknowledged the company does not opinion drastic changes. That used to be extra a reference to the airline’s next 50 years after its 50th anniversary celebration final week, he acknowledged.

“it is not like we’re changing the DNA of the company or the stamp or one thing like that,” he acknowledged.

Could well additionally Southwest (lastly) change to assigned seats?

Southwest has occasionally studied changing another one of its quirks: open seating. As an different of assigning seats, the airline assigns numbered boarding positions in three groups basically basically basically based on the time of online test-in and other factors, together with frequent flyer location, ticket form or the price of an early boarding price. Passengers are free to clutch any open seat when they board.

One of the assigned-seating reports, which Jordan led, ended in the creation of the present boarding machine in 2007. “You spoke and we listened! Southwest Airlines says open seating is here to web,” the airline acknowledged in announcing the decision.

Jordan acknowledged “each time” time the airline has studied changing its seating coverage customers “in overall consume open seating.”

He did not rule out checking out assigned seat again, inserting it in the same camp as other possible changes forward, together with the addition of current international routes. Southwest does not help Europe, as an illustration, focusing its international provider in the Caribbean and Mexico.

“If it used to be obvious that the want (for assigned seating) used to be there, that this used to be needed to our product, we would fully detect at that,” Jordan acknowledged.

Kelly, who has beforehand acknowledged Southwest’s open boarding turns off some possible customers and acknowledged the airline’s current reservations machine offers it the skill to put seats, acknowledged at the second, however: “There’s no work on that.”

Is this seat taken?Southwest seat saving drives some passengers crazy 

Kelly and Jordan acknowledged Southwest is silent working on current merchandise or companies and products that will enhance earnings, hush-hush efforts they usually touted forward of the pandemic with out providing any particulars.

‘Very dazzling opportunities’Southwest aggressively plotting systems to get rid of earnings

On Wednesday, Kelly acknowledged the projects are silent not ready for “top time” however acknowledged two of them match well with the resurgence of leisure dash back and forth. Southwest, like most airways, has added flights to several vacation destinations to cater to pandemic dash back and forth trends.

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New Southwest CEO on bag expenses, change expenses, assigned seats: ‘Or not it is not like we are changing the DNA of the company’