Report: Spirit Makes a Success of Carry-on Bag Fee

If there’s one thing flyers hate, it is airline bag fees. Yet according to a new report from IdeaWorks, a Wisconsin-based marketing firm, the only airline in the world to charge a fee for a carry-on bag is making a success of it. And that carrier is Spirit.

Carry-on Bag Fee Earns Spirit Millions

Spirit Airlines began charging a carry-on fee – between $20 and $45 per bag, depending on whether the fee is paid online, at a counter or at the gate – back in the summer of 2010 and immediate feedback was largely negative.

Spirit Raises Fee to Book Tickets Online

Despite the criticism, the report states that 20 percent of customers with the ultra-discount carrier choose to pay the carry-on bag fee and IdeaWorks estimates it bring the airline $50 million dollars in ancillary revenue each year.

Carry-on Fee May Not Work for Other Airlines

The report further states that, “While the fee might be controversial, the bottom line result has rewarded investors and permitted the low-cost airline to grow and add more destinations.”

However, it also points out that, “Competitors should proceed with caution, as the intangible costs to an airline could quickly exceed any profit opportunity.” Bottom line: good for some airlines maybe, unacceptable to passengers of others.

Spirit Hit with $50K Fine over Ads

Final note: Although the report says IdeaWorks does not have a client/relationship with Spirit, nor does the author own any of the airline’s stock, phrases dear to the heart of the low-cost carrier have crept into the report’s language. One of its headings is titled ‘Spirit Offers the Freedom to Choose’ which nearly mirrors a phrase found on’s fee page which reads, “allowing customers the freedom to choose.”


Published: December 20, 2011