I really wish airlines would charge for carry on's and discount checked luggage. It would be better for everyone. Carry on's would make boarding and hence travel faster, so the airlines save money and you get there faster. Those that value time can pay to carry and subsidize those that don't Those that are budget conscious can check their bags. The System is backwards.
There are many airlines that don’t charge for a checked bag, my own among them.
But people see the “super discount saver basic fare” - which doesn’t include a checked bag, or a carry on bag, and very clearly says so right on the site - and they then try to schlep a ton of crap on board.
You get what you pay for. And people click on price without reading.
My wife flew to PHX last month to see her daughter and granddaughter. She had a checked bag with gifts for both.
It was $800 round trip on United, free checked bag, priority boarding.
It was $600 on Southwest, free checked bag, steerage boarding. She decided to try SWA.
She had a tight connection going there. I paid for her priority boarding. $75.
She had a really tight connection in BWI coming back. 30 minutes. Two priority boarding fees (to get her near the front on leg one and have room for her bag on the second) would have been $150. And she was still worried about the checked bag making it.
I booked her on United. $400 one way. Free checked bag. Economy plus reserved seating. Early boarding. 90 minute connection in IAD. Low stress.
SWA refunded the $300 of that segment. I saved the $150 I would’ve paid.
United was cheaper, and a better product, than SWA on that leg.
So, yeah, airlines offer free checked luggage - but I‘m pretty certain that the average flyer is a price conscious, illiterate, selfish moron.
Don’t expect rational behavior.
And don’t expect to see Mrs. Astro lined up in the free for all that is SWA boarding.