Fun fact: Legacy change fees exceed average 2012 Southwest fare

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There you go again…. “The Legacies” all followed suit this week raising the change fee on tickets to a whopping 200 USD. I can only imagine the Southwest marketing team is already hard at work making sure this change doesn’t go unnoticed by the flying public.

As a reminder, the nation’s largest carrier of domestic flyers, Southwest Airlines charges 0 USD to change a ticket.  Interestingly enough, the 200 dollar Legacy change fee for a one-way flight actually far exceeds Southwest’s average one-way passenger airfare in 2012 which was $147.17.

The bottom line

I know most business travelers prefer the legacy airlines for a variety of reasons. Business travel is generally inelastic demand but I wonder at what point the gouging makes the businesses themselves stop wanting to foot these excessive expenses.  The fact is business travel requires a lot of flexibility.  Over the long run, I’ll put my money on a business traveler being able to control their costs better using Southwest compared to the legacies.

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About alex

Alex loves to travel and does so a lot. Logging 100,000 flight miles each year over the past 4 years, Alex uses points and miles to power his passion. Alex is continuously striving to experience the far reaches of the globe. In his day job, Alex is a Management Consultant frequently on the road advising Technology organizations. I love thinking about, reading about, and talking about all things travel. Feel free to reach me at

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  1. Increasingly my coworkers fly SW along the Pacific coast. Some are taking 2-3 trips a week they would make gold if not 1 k on United out of SFO but the ease of Southwest and for them Oakland airport make this the right choice for them. Perhaps more of my coworkers will chose southwest now.

  2. I must not be on the average routes. Southwest is almost always more expensive even when taking into account bag fees than other carriers.

  3. This is an apt analysis. Travel on Southwest is good for business travelers thanks to the extra legroom and wifi on most planes. The extra few inches makes it possible to open my laptop and get work done on the flight.

  4. This is a race to the bottom for the legacies.

    I used to be beholden to the legacies but I’ve spent more $$ on change fees than I care to count.

    There’s much I still prefer with the legacies (particularly with elite status) but I’m price sensitive on my personal travel. I imagine most travelers are.

  5. I would like to see a professional analysis of how much the airlines are earning off of these change fees because many potential customers are swearing off of these airlines altogether. Even the demand for business travel is not inelastic, especially when futuristic communications alternatives are going to be more financially appealing to both the clients and vendors/servicers.

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