Allegiant to Charge Fee for Carry-on Bags

UPDATE: April 3 – FareCompare has confirmed with Allegiant Airlines’ Public Relations Manager that the airline will institute a new carry-on baggage fee, joining Spirit Airlines as only the second U.S. carrier to charge a carry-on fee. According to an internal Allegiant memo given to FareCompare, the airline is taking a page out of Spirit’s book by spinning the fee as yet another option for travelers which allows them “to build an experience that fits their needs and their budget.”

New Carry-on Bag Fee Goes into Effect April 4

This new fee will go into effect for passengers making reservations beginning Wednesday, April 4. Allegiant customers already holding tickets will not be affected.

Cost of New Carry-on Bag Fee Varies

According to the Allegiant website, “The fee for a carry-on bag ranges from $10 to $30 if booked in advance.” The difference in price depends on how far you travel, and you will have to consult a lengthy chart on the site to determine what you will pay. If you wait to pay at the airport, you will be charged $35 for the carry-on.

Spirit’s Carry-on Fee: Believe it or not, it’s a succes

Under-the-Seat Carry-on Still Free

According to an internal memo FareCompare obtained from Allegiant, the new carry-on bag fee will not affect small bags measuring 7 inches x 15 inches x 16 inches that must be stowed under the seat in front of you. However, passengers are allowed only one such freebie, including a purse or laptop so if someone carries a handbag and a small carry-on, the fee will apply.

Air travel industry analyst Rick Seaney sees this as a “roller bag fee” but he’s not certain it will catch on with other airlines, unless oil prices hit $125 a barrel [Editor’s note: as of 4-3-12, the price was $104+].

Will Other Airlines Add Carry-on Bag Fee?

In the meantime, said analyst Seaney, “It would be hard for one of the bigger, established airlines to stick their neck out on such a fee and if they did, they would likely have to have a slew of loyalty miles program member waivers.” He added, “It will probably spur a bunch of new bag designs to perfectly fit under the seat – which might cost way more than the fee.”

See the Bag Designed to Thwart Spirit’s Carry-on Fee

A few such ‘fit under the seat’ bags already exist, included one that was specifically designed to thwart Spirit’s carry-on bag fee.

For those not familiar with Allegiant, it is a leisure-oriented airline based in Las Vegas. It flies to a handful of large cities including Los Angeles, but concentrates on smaller destinations scattered across the country.

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April 2 - The AirlineReporter blog is reporting Allegiant Airlines will start charging a fee for carry-on baggage starting this Wednesday, April 4. The site insists, “this is not an April Fool’s joke.”

Allegiant Carry-on Fee Starts April 4

Apparently a lot of the details have not been released, but it’s believed the new carry-on fee will cost passengers somewhere between $15 – $30, and possibly more if paid at the airport. So far, there has been no update to Allegiant’s website regarding the fee change.

Baggage Chart for Airlines in the U.S. and Around the World

Allegiant is a leisure-oriented airline based in Las Vegas that flies to mostly smaller destinations. At the moment, Spirit Airlines is the only U.S. airline to charge for a carry-on bag.

Look for more details in future updates to this story.

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Published: April 2, 2012