Here’s an Election Day promise kept! Spirit Airlines have made good on their threat to raise carry-on baggage fees. On Nov. 6 the airline started charging a $100 fee if you check your carry on at the gate.
Spirit Airlines were the first to charge fees for carry-on bags. Until today, they charged $45 if you showed up at the gate with a carry-on bag. (Allegiant Air was the next carrier to charge to carry on a bag – $35 each way). Both carriers offer discounted fees if you purchase your carry-on fee in advance online. The nasty increase from Spirit Airlines has been commented on by FT Members.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. airlines alone collected $3.36 billion in baggage fees in 2011, which is part of the $36.1 billion total ancillary fees collected by airlines around the world reported by Flyer Talk.
No one (yet) is charging for a personal bag (which unlike most carry-on bags fits under the seat in front of you). Carry-on bags that stuff into the overhead bin on Spirit Airlines can now cost as much $100. If you purchase the carry-bag option when you make the reservation, it’s $45.
Even checked bags are starting to pop up on sliding payment scales. Alaska Airlines, for example, charges $20 each way for a checked bag, but $25 each way if check-in happens at the gate. But most airlines charge no penalty for checking a bag at the gate.
Of course, all FT members are probably using credit cards that allow free checked bags. Nonetheless, here’s a Worldwide Baggage Fee Chart from early 2012.
In the U.S., 2011 was the first year baggage fees declined for airlines, dropping to $3.36 billion from $3.40 billion in 2010. Between 2007 and 2010, ancillary fees for U.S. airlines from checked baggage rose by more than 90 percent each year.
Fees for carry on must be on a lot of airline execs’ minds.