Southwest Could Soon Charge Baggage Fees

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Would you prefer baggage fees or pricier airline tickets?

    Or neither? That's the way it's been thus far for Southwest Airlines.

    But in an interview on CNBC's Squawk Box," the airline company's CEO admitted that the rising cost of fuel and higher operating expenses may prompt increased fees in one form or another. 

    "There are no plans to charge for bags in 2013," he said in the "Squawk Box" interview, but added, "Never say never ... the customers will tell us whether they would prefer to have extra fees or whether they would prefer to have everything bundled."

    Currently, the airline allows passengers to check two bags for free

    CNBC reports that Southwest's revenue of $4.2 billion was just shy expectations. On Thursday, the company announced that fourth-quarter earnings fell 49 percent.

    Like many other legacy carriers, Southwest is seeing higher operating expenses and a decline in passenger numbers.

    In 2009, Southwest Airlines announced it would begin charging a fee for passengers who bring small pets onboard and for unaccompanied minors.  

    The company also raised the fee for checking a third piece of luggage or an overweight bag. The fee now is $50 per checked bag weighing more than 50 pounds up to 100 pounds. Oversized checked bags are charged $50 per bag larger than 62 inches up to 80 inches, according to the company's website