In the early 1970s, Southwest Airlines accidentally became the first low-cost carrier (LCC) when it was forced to sell one of its four planes to cover expenses. Left with only three planes, the airline continued to operate as if it had four, making up for the missing aircraft with efficiency. Over time, Southwest became the brand for LCCs. While other carriers offered multiple classes of service, meals and destinations around the world, Southwest offered no advance seat assignments, bags of peanuts and “point-to-point” service in limited markets. In exchange, customers get much cheaper airline tickets. It’s a win for everyone.Within the past decade, the industry generated a new beast, the “ultra-low-cost carrier (ULCC).” Forget the free bag of peanuts; you won’t even get a seat assignment without paying for it in advance. The ULCCs don’t focus on service, they focus on prices and fees. In exchange for what is now an extraordinarily low ticket price, sometimes starting at a dollar, you will pay a fee for everything. Buy a ticket online? There’s a fee. Check in at the airport? There’s a fee. Carry on a bag? Well, you get the idea. There have been numerous iterations of ULCCs, but the most… Read full this story
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