Holiday Fee Hike: Spirit Raises Bag Fees

Good news: Spirit Airlines’ baggage fee hike didn’t affect Thanksgiving flights. Bad news: This is one lousy gift for Christmas travelers.

See Spirit’s entertaining bag video below.

What You’ll Pay, What You’ll Get

The new higher fee applies to checked-bags only – and, we are told, it is temporary.

  • What: An extra $2 per bag will be for all checked-luggage
  • When: The higher fee will go into effect on flights from Dec. 18 to Jan. 5

Why is Spirit Raising Bag Fees?

This is what Spirit says about the higher holiday fee: “To make sure we have room for everyone’s bags, we’re encouraging customers to pack a bit lighter.” Let’s examine this statement.

Encouraging people to pack a bit lighter suggests the airline wants more passengers to use carry-ons. Guess what? The airline charges more for carry-ons than checked-bags – year-round. Besides, wouldn’t more carry-ons worsen the ‘room’ problem, which is the lack of bin space?

Here’s the fee breakdown, according to Spirit’s website:

  • Standard carry-on bag fee: $35
  • Standard checked-bag fee: $30
  • Holiday checked-bag fee: $32

How to Avoid the Bag Fees

This is not to say the new higher fee is necessarily a bad thing; Spirit claims it is how the airline keep its low fares low and many flyers love Spirit’s cheap prices (but please note that no airline, not even Spirit, always has the cheapest prices – which is why you must compare fares every time you book).

Still, even Spirit offers a freebie: If you can pack all you need in a very small carry-on and squash it under the seat in front of you (and figure out a place to put your feet), you pay nothing. If you want to know how to pack such a bag, see Spirit’s demonstration video below.

VIDEO: Watch this young man pack a very small carry-on.


Published: December 2, 2014