Cranky Flier this morning has a note about Southwest Airlines' latest ad campaign. I'll let him explain:
[W]hat Southwest is trying to do is distract you from paying attention to the actual total cost of your ticket and instead trying to make you focus just on the fees. It gives examples on the website showing how Spirit can charge you up to $294 in fees while Southwest has none. But the reality is that you probably aren’t paying that much in fees, and you’re starting off a much lower base fare. Even if the fees are higher than Southwest’s (as they nearly always are), the total cost often won’t be.
What Southwest is trying to show here is that its fares remain below the industry fare level in 2000, but that’s not what I see. What I see is that in 2000, Southwest’s average fare was 43 percent less than industry average. Fast forward to today, and the fare gap has shrunk dramatically. Now its average fare is only 13 percent less.
The point here? Southwest’s fares have just gone up a lot more than those of everyone else.
I shared this with my friend over at Deeply Trivial—she's a Ph.D. researcher and statistician—and she responded with this:
That about sums it up.