Pets will now have the “Freedom to Fly” on Southwest Airlines. Southwest will soon allow Customers to bring along small cats and dogs in the aircraft cabin for a special low “pet fare” of $75 each way. All pets must be in a carrier that fits under the airplane seat, and the carrier will count as the Customer’s carryon bag. Customers can begin purchasing tickets for their small cats and dogs on June 1, 2009, for travel beginning June 17, 2009.

“We know from Customer and Employee feedback that our new ‘pet’ Customers will be a welcomed addition to any flight,” said Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly. “Our enhanced boarding process has opened the window, allowing us to accommodate small pets comfortably on a Southwest flight - without impacting our efficiency.”

The new pet policy is one of several programs and processes that Southwest Airlines is implementing in an effort to enhance the service the Carrier provides, and at the same time, create opportunities for incremental revenue growth. Read more on these programs and processes in a blog post by Kelly at

“These new programs and processes are just the starting point with additional initiatives planned for later this year,” Kelly said. “It is always our goal to be upfront with our Customers and to set the right Customer expectations. Our changes today associate a charge for items that are truly an extra service.”

Southwest Airlines has long absorbed the additional cost associated with the administrative work and extra care necessary to safely transport Unaccompanied Minors (Customers ages five through 11 traveling without an adult), which represent less than one percent of our Customers. Southwest will soon implement a $25 each way service charge, in addition to the fare or Rapid Rewards Award ticket, for Customers who are traveling as an Unaccompanied Minor. The Unaccompanied Minor service charge will apply to tickets purchased June 1, 2009, and later, for travel beginning June 17, 2009. Unaccompanied Minors may only travel on nonstop or direct flights (no change of planes).

“We are proud to offer an outstanding service for our young Customers traveling alone but realize that the extra service does come at a cost to the Company,” Kelly said. “This service charge will help us cover our added costs and still maintain our competitive Low Fare advantage.”

Additionally, Southwest will increase its already existing service charge to check a third and overweight bag (weighing 51 to 70 pounds). Currently, Southwest Customers pay $25 to check a third or overweight bag on the airline. Customers traveling on or after June 17 will be charged $50 to check a third or overweight bag. Southwest continues to be one of the only airlines that allows Customers to check their first two bags without a fee.

“We continue to allow our Customers to check two bags on Southwest for free, making our baggage policy far and away the most generous in the Industry,” Kelly said. “The increase in the baggage charge impacts approximately one percent of our Customers.”

For additional information on Southwest’s Pet; Unaccompanied Minor; and Bag Policies, visit the You can also check out the Company’s blog at

After almost 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines, the nation’s leading low-fare carrier, is the most productive airline in the sky and offers Customers a comfortable traveling experience. Southwest offers all premium leather seats and plenty of legroom with a young all-Boeing 737 fleet. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) currently serves 65 cities in 33 states, with service beginning to New York LaGuardia, Boston Logan, and Milwaukee later this year. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,300 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide.


Source: Travel Media

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".