You may want to reconsider calling Southwest a discount airline, a Wall Street Journal article says, because some of its nonrefundable fares are even higher than its competitors. The Department of Transportation says that in the last five years, ticket prices for Southwest have jumped 39 percent.
The rise in ticket prices can't be helped, as Southwest says it's due to the increase of fuel costs. The airline says it's still a good deal due to benefits such as checking in bags for free and being able to change tickets without penalties. Still, some customers are feeling the sting of the ticket costs. The WSJ says:
Craig Seidel of Palo Alto, Calif., flies Southwest frequently between San Jose and Burbank for work and has seen one-way ticket prices go from $69 Wal-Mart levels to seemingly Nordstrom levels of double or triple the price.
"It used to be so cheap it was almost like taking the bus. But now I seem to spend $400 on a round-trip ticket," Mr. Seidel said. "I feel more of a sticker shock on airline tickets than I do at the gas pump."
One has to also take into account that Southwest does have a good mileage program; a recent survey of the different mileage programs showed that the budget airline awards seats 99.3 percent of the time. What do you think — is Southwest still a good deal in your case?