Airline Charging For Carry-On Bags
Alright. It’s here. You knew it would happen. An airline is now charging a carry-on bag fee. Spirit Air is experimenting with it, and passengers are the guinea pigs.
Today, Spirit announced it will start charging as much as $45 for carry-on bags. Today, Spirit announced it will start charging as much as $45 for carry-on bags. I know, I had to read it twice too to make sure I read that right. Here’s how it’ll work. The fee applies to carry-ons placed in overhead bins, while personal items placed under the seat are still free. Spirit will charge $45 for the bags at the gate and $30 when paid in advance. If you’re a member of Spirit’s frequent flier program you’ll be charged $20 for carry-on bags if paid in advance. What a deal!
Spirit Air calls it a “bring less, pay less” policy that would ultimately benefit customers. In a statement, Spirit COO Ken McKenzie said, “In addition to lower fares even further, this will reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve inflight safety and efficiency by speeding up the boarding and deplaning process.”
As you know, airlines have been adding checked-on baggage fees for a couple of years now to offset higher fuel costs and declining ticket sales. That’s forced more passengers to cram their carry-ons into the overhead bins to save money. Now this.
So what can we expect next? Will the other airlines poke fun at Spirit for its move, much like Southwest makes fun of the rest for charging checked-on fees? (By the way, JetBlue is already taking pot shots at Spirit. See here.) Or will other airlines follow Spirit? Airfarewatchdog.com’s George Hobica says, “We predict that more people will be using FedEx and UPS to handle their luggage.”
Airlines may be hurting financially, but is this the best way to get back in the black? Passengers are already seeing red, and charging for carry-ons won’t help. What’s next? Charging two bucks for a soda? Ten bucks for an aisle seat? 7 bucks for a pillow or blanket? 3 bucks for a bag of chips? Oh yeah, some airlines are already doing those things.
Let me know what you think.