DALLAS: Southwest Airlines (SWA) launched a new campaign, "Fees Don't Fly," to reinforce the company's decision to provide its services without additional charges.
Recently, competitor airlines have made headlines with changes to service, including American Airlines' introduction of a fee for checked baggage, the doing away of snacks at US Airways.
"The specific goal is to amplify the points of difference in flying Southwest - particularly in this environment where it appears our competitors are having to institute all sorts of fees," said Linda Rutherford, VP of PR and community affairs for SWA. "We had to communicate how Southwest was different, because of rising consumer confusion concerning what airline was instituting what fee."
In-flight snacks and the first two checked bags are free at SWA.
Advertising for the campaign began on June 2, while PR campaigns launched earlier, including a post to its blog, http://www.nutsaboutsouthwest.com/, which was later discussed at a shareholders' meeting in late May.
The team will promote the campaign through media relations and outreach to influential bloggers. Employees were provided talking points to answer customer questions, Rutherford said.
SWA is able to maintain its services and profitability, "by hedging more than other airlines, so we can control jet fuel prices," she added.
Several airline PR pros told PRWeek that they are currently emphasizing the burden of fuel costs in their communications, including Michelle Mohr, US Airways corporate communications manager.
"Our focus is really on fuel," she said to PRWeek. "Fuel is our largest cost. All airlines are struggling with it. [I] normally wouldn't speak on behalf of all airlines, but it really is an industry focus."