Has Spirit Airlines Gone Too Far?

Has Spirit Airlines Gone Too Far?


Spirit Airlines' passengers will soon have to pay to place
their luggage in overhead bins.

Discount air carrier adds another fee

The collective cry you have been hearing recently across the travel industry is not from a troop of Nicaraguan howler monkeys. Instead, that noise is coming from angry air travelers who have been making disparaging remarks about Spirit Airlines’ decision to charge for carry on baggage.

Extra Baggage

Spirit Airlines has made a name for itself by charging $9 or less on some seats, an amount that would certainly force any air carrier to seek bankruptcy. But that discounted charge hides the reality of a Spirit Airlines flight: you’ll be charged fees for just about everything else.

Spirit’s latest policy changes includes charging passengers a fee ranging from $20-$45 for every carry on baggage that won’t fit under the passenger’s seat. What this means is that anything you stick in the overhead bin will now carry a charge, the first airline to craft such a scheme.

Like almost every other airline, Spirit Airlines charges for checked baggage, with Southwest Airlines the lone exception to this rule except when three or more bags are checked.

Cheap Seats

Spirit Airlines has long appealed to passengers who want to pay the cheapest price for a seat even if it means flying on an aircraft with minimal legroom and no amenities. People who fly light won’t pay extra particularly if there carry on bag can be pushed under the seat.

Coinciding with its new carry on baggage policy, Spirit Airlines has dropped its fares expanding its “penny plus” fare accordingly. The airline says that more than one million of its cheapest seats will be available annually with customers paying only for the services they want and need. The move is part of Spirit’s effort to unbundle its fares, allowing customers to customize their fares accordingly.

Counterpoint View

Not everyone thinks that Spirit’s latest changes make for bad policy. In the April 7, 2010, issue of “The Atlantic,” David Indiviglio believes that customer will enjoy more spending discretion, lower ticket prices and a smoother airport experience as a result of these changes.

In addition, Indiviglio believes travelers will carefully consider what they bring along on a flight, perhaps cutting down on annoying and time consuming delays caused by passengers who load up the overhead bins with multiple packages.

Adv. — Are you looking to save money on your next trip? SayFunTravel.com can help you out, with discount fares to exotic destinations as well as trips closer to your home.

Wikimedia Commons Photo Credit: Mattes


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Categories: Money News, Travel Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".