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First Southwest flights just days away, but are they cheap? - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

First Southwest flights just days away, but are they cheap?

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston's future "low fare leader" may not be living up to its motto, even before the first flight touches down.

Southwest Airlines says they are bringing down the bill for flights in and out of Charleston, but on some trips they are not the low fare leader they claim to be.

With Southwest arrivals just days away, the self proclaimed low fare leader may be in for some turbulent skies.

Comparing just how Southwest matches up against Charleston mainstays like Delta and US Airways, it is a tale of two carriers.

For a weekend flight to Chicago, a Southwest hub, the home airline is the lowest fare, edging Delta by $30. But, if your destination is somewhere like New Orleans, a neutral destination on the same weekend, it is a different story. Southwest's lowest fare is more expensive than the closest competitor by more than $100.

"You have to look at the whole picture," said Southwest spokesperson Ashley Dillon. "You have to take into account additional fees that other airlines charge. We don't charge you to take your bag. We don't charge you for snacks on board. We don't charge for drinks or change fees."

Southwest says sometimes those fees can bump a bill by more than $150.

"With Southwest coming in it certainly enhances the air service," said Bill News, Deputy Director of Airports.

According to New, Southwest may not always be the low-fare king, but landing the airline makes a huge difference.

Seventy employees will arrive by plane Saturday to prepare for first flights out of Charleston International Airport on Sunday.

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.

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