Spirit Airlines Overhead Bins Hit $100

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.

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Comments (Showing 2 of 2)

  • ldsant at 11:32pm November 07, 2012

    Might as well just have the bag Overnighted via FedEx. This is insane. Truly.

  • nsx at 1:54pm November 09, 2012

    These fees are most effective for the airline when they come as a surprise to customers. As customers learn about the fees and incorporate the fee into their purchasing decisions, the extra profit from fees decreases and could even become negative.

    The name of the game for the airline is to add new surprises continually. I have to think that at some point the airline will provoke so much anger in customers that people will avoid choosing the airline even when its total cost truly is much lower. In other words, I believe that the Spirit pricing model is doomed in the long run.

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