Get Ready for an Airline Carryon Bag Fee – Coming This Weekend

Spirit’s Final Frontier

Beginning this Sunday, August 1, Spirit Airlines dares to go where no U.S. carrier has gone before – yes, the final frontier of bag fees.

Spirit will begin charging its passengers a fee for privilege of using a carryon bag.

You can tell the airline is excited about this, from the greeting on its website: “View our new Baggage Policies!” So, we viewed them, and this is what we learned.

There is Still One Kind of Free Carryon (if it’s real small)

Spirit does allow you to bring some sort of carryon aboard – at no charge - but it has small enought to fit under the seat in front of you. In other words, it cannot be larger than 16 x 14 x 12, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve got purses that are bigger than that. Or maybe your laptop in its case is around that size. If so, that’s your free “carryon”.

Find a Cheap Flight Now, from Your Home Airport (With or Without a Carryon)

Spirit Carryon Fees – Higher than Checked Bag Fees

So what will bringing a carryon aboard a Spirit flight cost you? Here are the grim details:

  • $9 Fare Club members – $20 (note: Club dues are $40 a year)
  • For reservations made via phone or online – $30
  • If you pay the carryon bag fee at the airport – $45

And what does Spirit charge for checked baggage? Here are Spirit’s latest prices for domestic flights, as of August 1:

  • First checked-bag for $9 Fare Club members – $15; everyone else pays $25
  • Second checked-bag – same as above

Protests Against Spirit’s Bag Policy

Not surprisingly, not everyone likes this new carryon fee. In fact, outside of Spirit headquarters (the airline is based in Miramar, Florida), we haven’t heard from anyone in favor of this.

Spirit Boycott?

Certainly not anyone at the Association of Airline Passenger Rights; the group issued a statement this week protesting the fees; according to the Los Angeles Times, the group is now urging fliers to boycott Spirit. “Enough is enough,” said AAPR’s Brandon Macsata. “What’s to follow: should we be expecting to pay to use the restrooms while on board the aircraft, too?”

Pay Toilets – An Idea Whose Time has Come?

Uh, well…one carrier is talking about pay toilets on planes: Europe’s Ryanair. And that airline already has a fee for just about everything else onboard, so let’s not go there.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Spirit says, a boycott is “absurd” and suggested that dropping their fees would be akin to “a fast food restaurant being forced to give away fries and a drink with each hamburger” (now there’s an idea).

Do you fly Spirit? If so, will you bring a carryon? Or will you be more inclined to fly another carrier? We’d love to hear about that.

And while you’re at it, tell us what you think about Spirit’s crazy ads, too.

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Published: July 29, 2010