Let’s hope this isn’t the start of a trend.  Spirit Airlines announced a few days ago that they’ll begin charging up to $45 for carry-on luggage:

What’s your reaction?  Is Spirit testing the waters for the majors?  Could this actually start a trend??

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12 Comments on Smells like cheap Spirit (Airlines)

  1. Michael W. says:

    I think what they are doing is abhorrent – since they charge for even a single checked bag.

    On the other hand, I’d prefer to see people limited to a reduced size, fits-under-the seat, carryon – it would speed up boarding and unboarding and be less dangerous that the move to carry on everything.

    So what I’d like to see is this:

    1. One free checked bag domestic, two international;

    2. One free “underseat” carry-on;

    3. Pay for overhead bin carryon.

    But I’d like to see overhead bins still available, for free, for jackets, umbrellas, take off clothing (not a Scott-E-Vest “suitcase in a vest,” though!)

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  2. Gary Williams says:

    Well, yes; or, rather, it’s reinforcing a personal trend: I fly Southwest, now, whenever possible.

    The CEO of Spirit has been quoted as saying that the fee for checked baggage has altered the balance between checked and carry-on bags. Well, duh…sometimes it’s hard to figure out whether these guys are incredibly dumb, or incredibly smart, in that they knew that charging for checked luggage would ultimately lead to charging for carry-on as well.

    To me, an open question is this: a bag may avoid the charge if it’s of the quoted dimensions only if it fits under the seat. Will a bag of this size fit under all Spirit seats?

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  3. Tim L. says:

    I saw the head marketing guy from Southwest being interviewed about this on CNBC and he could hardly contain himself he was so giddy, especially since the anchorwoman said she’d just priced out a flight home from NYC and Southwest’s was cheaper even before factoring in all Spirit’s gotcha fees. You might like this batch of ideas on getting around this: http://travel.booklocker.com/2.....extortion/

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  4. Dave says:

    Please no:

    “3. Pay for overhead bin carryon.”

    Please, don’t punish us who follow the rules…

    What’s needed is actually simpler – enforce the existing carry-on size
    restrictions in force at the airlines. Place the bag sizer at the gate
    and if the bag does not fit in the sizer, it gets gate checked and the
    passenger is charged the checked bag fee (if there is one).

    Nothing modifies human behavior like pain – and the pain of those having to get charged when they try to bring oversized luggage on board will modify behaviour quickly.

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  5. K-eM says:

    If they got rid of the checked bag fee, I’d be fine with the overhead bin fee. One or the other, not both.

    1. Those who carry on because they don’t want to pay the checked bag fee would check their bags if it was free. That would free up time, space, and complications that are currently experienced with boarding. That has GOT to save the airline money. Organized labor loading cargo has got to be less expensive over the long term than delayed flights because it takes so long to get everyone boarded and settled. Just think of those young families who are trying to save money by carrying on everything and would be glad to check it if it didn’t cost them.
    2. For those who are committed to carry-on: I would consider $20 reasonable to have the right to carry on for anyone. However $30, since I’m cheap, feels close to too high. However, I’d probably still pay it without grumbling too much. $45 is too high, especially if I follow the rules and they force me to gate check anyway.
    3. Those who carry on would get that much better at it. In my business travel in-country, I never put my stuff in the overhead since it fits under the seat in front of me and I hate competing for space in the overheads with those who over-pack or are too cheap to check their bag.

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  6. Scott says:

    My view: This sucks.

    The luggage strategy has become stupid. The ala carte approach has people carrying-on that shouldn’t. A carry-on charge will take stupid to a new level. The outcome of this policy will be that people will wear two or three days of clothes to avoid the carry-on fee. Maybe the USPS will be the alternative?

    I boarded a USAirways flight on Monday and they said “we can’t fit all your carry-ons in the overhead, so if you’re in seating area 4, bring them up and we’ll check them gratis…” They know it doesn’t work, so why pretend?

    Airlines need to charge a price that allows them a profit — not try to make it up on ala carte fees. What’s next? We pay for bathrooms, a place to stow your wallet, a cushion for your seat, and how much should we pay for the pre-flight safety announcement?

    Two weeks ago I bought a 4 day advance ticket from Denver to LA. Price: $211. That’s crazy. It had to cost more than $211 to get me there. Charge what they need to charge. The yield management/make it up on fees strategy is making air travel like riding a city bus.

    Scott

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    Andy Mesa Reply:

    Funny that we have completely opposite viewpoints on this.

    First, I love public transit. I use it everyday. Air travel *is* like riding a city bus, and if you don’t like it you can choose more private means of transportation. The days of flying being a luxurious privilege for businessmen and the wealthy ended decades ago.

    Second, charging for bathrooms *is* next, and I’m all for it if it means lower ticket prices. I would rather they charge as little possible for a seat, and make everything else optional than forcing me to subsidize other people’s extravagances.

    I say bring it on, the more offloading fees the better!

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    Scott Reply:

    I appreciate public transportation too, but I don’t ride a city bus, a subway, or a commuter train for 4 hours. The reality of it is if we are getting on a plane, we’re probably staying overnight, which means we need to bring stuff and need some basic facilities and services.

    I say get a decent base fare for their service, charge extra for reasonable add-ons, and stop adding fees that cause most of the people I get on planes with to do nutty stuff.

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  7. Andy Mesa says:

    I don’t mind it, if it means cheaper ticket prices. It’s also why I don’t mind Ryanair charging to use the bathroom. If charging for carry-ons means $40 less for a ticket, as the CEO says, then I’m perfectly fine with it. Ryanair’s business model has always been that a ticket guarantees you a seat, and nothing else. That’s why I was able to fly from Madrid to Valencia for €10.

    The fact that this will also stop people from stuffing ridiculous amounts of stuff in overhead compartments is simply the icing on the cake. The Patagonia Lightweight Travel Duffel roughly fits those dimensions and I fully intend that to be the only bag I use on my next RTW trip. So yeah, I don’t see a problem with it.

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  8. Tim L. says:

    Andy, how is luggage of any kind “other people’s extravagances”? Who goes on vacation without changing clothes? Hobos? Extradited criminals?

    Flying on Spirit is not like a bus, it’s worse. Buses don’t charge you to check a bag and in a lot of countries the price includes a movie, drink, snack, and even Wi-Fi.

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    Scott Reply:

    Extradited criminals — that’s funny!

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    Andy Mesa Reply:

    Tim, have you seen the things people try to carry on with these days? Extravagances is exactly that. You can fix a week’s worth of clothing in a bag the dimensions of which Spirit allows you to carry on for free.

    And I don’t know what kind of buses you’ve been riding, but many commercial buses I’ve taken have demanded I stow my carry-on sized bag in their cargo hold and paid them for the privilege.

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