That fare increase is sticking. So are the chimichangas. At Love Field in Dallas, where Southwest Airlines is based and from which it competes with D/FW’s American, fares are going up, but Southwest is easing the pain with a free ( free, no cost, complimentary, gratis) Mexican, or southwestern, food this week. The cheescake chimichangas are a sweet treat from an eatery that is based nearby and has outlets throughout the neighbouring states. This week, Southwest increased fares on most routes to and from Love by as much as $20, roundtrip. This is the first fare increase this year at its hometown hub.The majors raised their fares by $10 or so roundtrip, their seventh fare increase so far this year while Southwest has raised most of its fares six times so far this year on the rest of its system. But Southwest doesn’t base its pricing on reaction or response to network carriers’ fares, it says, but on its costs, and it is just like every other airline: it buys fuel and is paying for that black gold at the same record-high prices that everyone else is paying, almost $90 a barrel, up from $60 over the summer. And Southwest has lost much of the fuel-hedge cushion it enjoyed for a long time as its forward contracts expired.
So Love takes a hit, just as it becomes the showcase of Southwest’s new gate and boarding areas and its new boarding process. To sweeten it all, a local eatery, Taco Bueno, will be giving away some 5,000 of its cheesecake chimichangas and other treats this week. Southwest has long given away doughnuts at Love Field but Taco Bueno wants to mark its fortieth anniversary by giving away the items on some 40 select flights from Love. Beats peanuts.