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Article posted on 5/3/12
Author: Kelly Curtis

Spirit Airlines to Launch $100 Fee For Carry-On Bags

Spirit Airlines revealed on Thursday it will become the first U.S. airline on November 6th to raise the fee it charges passengers for carrying luggage on flights to $100, a service that is still free at a number of other airlines. On its official website, the regional carrier noted that the reason for the costly fee is to encourage passenger to pay for their carry-ons early rather than waiting to pay when they get to the gate, which can delay flights in extreme cases.

Until November 6th, Spirit will continue to charge $45 at the gate for carry-on bags. Under the current fee schedule, passengers can save $5 by paying for carry-on bags in airport kiosks before reaching the gate area, but those savings will balloon to $50 on November 6th, when the kiosk fee goes from $40 to $50. In addition to the kiosk and gate fees for carry-ons, Spirit unveiled a number of other rate hikes for various luggage and other services.

Over the last few years, airlines have taken to charging a variety of fees that used to be included with fares. Among these are luggage fees, pet travel and even non-alcoholic beverages. Some airlines have even taken to discounting their fares by huge amounts, risking losses in the hopes that passengers will pay exorbitant prices for various services. One notable exception to this trend is Southwest Airlines, who doesn't charge for carry-on bags and even lets passengers check-in two bags for free, whereas most airlines have begun charging for all checked baggage.

Airlines began adopting the new fees in 2008 as the last fuel price spike began eating into profits even as the recession made it nearly impossible to raise fares. Industry insiders estimate the new fees can collectively generate billions of dollars a year for the industry as jet fuel prices continue to soar.

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