At first glance it may appear that Spirit Airlines has a great deal of “baggage” when it comes to carry on bags. Beginning Nov. 6, they will start implementing a carry on bag rate of $100 per bag. This charge will be incurred at the gate, jumping to twice as much as it currently charges ($45). This could mean that your round trip flight could cost almost the same as your baggage check.
Now, here’s a few problems I see with this. First, it’s excessive. Yes, excessive! When my baggage costs just as much to fly as I do (or close to it) then there is a problem. Also, just what passengers need is yet another delay at the gate. Spirit Airlines claims that their current program actually saves customers money, distributes the charges to those that are making boarding difficult and wasting time with hefty carry on bags.
Now, for anyone who has seen what happens at “gate check” you know that there is some truth to that.
(Spirit Airlines also claims that having you print your boarding pass at home saves you money so, beginning Oct. 31 they charge you $2.00 per boarding pass to print it at the ticket counter)
According to a statement in Nasdaq,
“Our goal is for no customer ever to pay the $100 fee,” says Spirit’s Chief Operating Officer Tony Lefebvre. “Spirit offers our customers multiple opportunities to avoid this unnecessary fee and save money. By planning ahead and paying for bags before getting to the boarding gate, our customers are saving time at the airport and speeding up the boarding process. When our customers choose these time-saving, self-service options, our costs go down, and we can pass those savings along to our customers.”
How can Spirit passengers get around this fee? According to USA Today :
- The $100 one-way fee for carry-on bags will drop to $50 as of Nov. 6 if it’s paid at Spirit’s ticket counters or check-in kiosks.
- The $100 fee also drops to $35 each way, if reserved online before check-in.
- Or it could be $40 if reserved through the airline’s call center.
- Spirit passengers can also check a single bag for $30 each way when booking online.
- Or they get charged $35 through the airline’s call center.
- Checking a bag at the airport is $45 each way, when checked at the ticket counter.
Are you confused? I know I am. And, while yes I usually do pay to check my baggage (with two children I need my hands free to hold on to them) I want it to be easy peasy. I walk up, get our tickets, check my bag and I know it will be $25 no matter what I did.
Do I like paying to check my baggage? No, but that and other airline charges are unfortunately a cost of traveling.
According to Travelers Today, “Spirit’s carry-on program has already proven successful. Many passengers decide to check their luggage instead of bringing a carry-on and many already pay for a carry-on in advance. This has led to a quicker boarding process, sufficient overhead space for all carry-on luggage and it has even helped the airline save up to six million gallons of fuel, which allows them to keep their fares low.”
Now before we smack down Spirit Airlines too hard, they aren’t the only ones with climbing baggage fees. Actually according to IdeaWorksCompany, airline companies in 2011 “generated a total of $22.6 billion in revenue on bag and other travel fees.”
Consumer agency FlyersRights.org says that the fees for baggage and other “services” are too high and have risen too fast.
Aviation consultant Micheal Boyd tells, USA Today, ”I know this is hard for a lot of us to swallow, but airlines have the right to charge as they please,” Boyd says. “They are not a public service.”
So, what do you think? Are the airline charges rising too fast and too much? Will it keep you and your family from traveling? And, what’s next you may wonder . . . paying more to get off the plane faster?
You may be surprised . . .