I’ve already noticed a few other travel writers putting their 2009 industry trend predictions to the blowtorch recently to see how many came true; I’m not too confident of getting a pass mark of over 50% on my predictions when the time for assessment comes…and it is approaching.

One thing that didn’t make the official predictions list, but which I wrote about back in April was Southwest and their free checked baggage policy. At the time I felt like I was swimming against the tide of industry opinion

But the point with Southwest above is that as much as the incremental revenue from a la carte fees will be a good thing for the airline industry, there will always be branding positions that if well enough defined and properly appreciated by consumers, mean that one or a few airlines can go against this trend, and maybe even benefit.

So it is with a small sense of  “I told you so” that I repeat this comment from an article in USA Today.

Gary Kelly, Southwest’s CEO, says the no-fee policy has helped the airline increase its share of the domestic market by about 1%, or $800 million to $900 million

I need to indulge myself in a very small pat on the back here, as I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating humble pie when the official predictions are reviewed!

To wrap up this post: In other direct channel news I saw in the last couple of days, Qantas are tightening the terms of their frequent flier program, and Cathay have added some new functionality in their online servicing flow.