Since the merger of AirTran and Southwest Airlines, earlier this year, the media has finally started to figure out that Southwest is not a discount airline.
Several years ago this blog quoted aviation analyst Darryl Jenkins on the subject. He said, “The illusion of low fare is better than a low fare and Southwest has the highest percentage of high fares of any airline.” If you’re skeptical about this, do a market by market comparison of fares and you’ll discover what Jenkins already knows: the mystique of Southwest has more to do with perception than low fares. Analysts say one reason so many airlines have been in bankruptcy is because they’ve actually been competing with Southwest.
Today the Wall Street Journal, and writer Scott McCartney, see the light: "...it's hard to call Southwest a "discount" carrier anymore...Southwest's average ticket price has jumped 39% in the past five years, while the average ticket price for domestic trips for the industry was up 10%, according to the Department of Transportation." If you're one of the doubters, check out this study.