Southwest officials said holiday bookings were strong and that they plan cost-cutting steps including eliminating 300 jobs through attrition.
In recent years, Southwest has bombarded TV viewers with "bags fly free" commercials to highlight that it doesn't charge customers for their first two checked bags or for changing a reservation — both fees are standard on most other major U.S. airlines. Southwest executives said they're not thinking about imposing those fees, but would announce other changes Saturday.
Executives said the fee for overweight bags will rise to $100 from $50, and early check-in, which helps move passengers toward the front of the boarding line and assure space for their bag in the overhead bins, will go to $12.50 from $10.
Southwest's AirTran Airways subsidiary will raise its fees for checking bags to $25 for the first bag, up from $20, and to $35 for the second, up from $25, said AirTran president Robert Jordan. Southwest has promised to end AirTran's bag fees when it folds AirTran into the Southwest fleet over the next few years.
The company also said October's Superstorm Sandy, which caused canceled flights in the Northeast, will reduce fourth-quarter operating profit by between $15 million and $20 million.
Shares of Southwest rose 11 cents to $10.25 in afternoon trading.
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