Spirit to Charge Carry-On Baggage Fee, But No Lavatory Fee

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on May 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

Or, at least, that’s what they say now.

Spirit Airlines is an “ultra low cost carrier” with the largest ULCC network in the Caribbean and Latin America. According to its website, their “approach liberates customers from being forced into paying for services they do not desire or use.” Services like checked baggage, bigger seating, and discount airport parking are all options that can be purchased when choosing your ticket.

According to USAToday, beginning August 1, passengers will need to pay for carry-on luggage — between $30 and $45 — that does not fit underneath the seat. CEO of Spirit, Ben Baldanza, argues that everything you need should be able to fit under a seat:

16 by 14 by 12 is pretty large. You could carry a change of clothes, you could carry all your toiletries, you could carry a hair dryer, you could carry makeup, you can carry everything in that bag and it will fit in the seat in front of you and it’s free…I don’t think there is anything that you have to have in the plane with you on Spirit that you can’t take for free.

In addition to not charging for under-the-seat bags, there will be no extra fees for medical supplies or baby food and milk. Only bags that must be placed in the overhead storage will incur a cost. As stated at ABCNews, Spirit is the first US airline to charge a carry-on fee.

This worries some people like Democratic sen. Chuck Schumer who is concerned that other airlines will follow suit and start charging for carry-on luggage, while not lowering prices. “Consumers will get the short end of the stick,” he says.

When asked if Spirit would be following RyanAir’s example and charging to use the toilet, Baldanza replied:

We think if it’s necessary to fly then it should be in your base fare. We think bathrooms are pretty much necessary.

A benefit to this new optional cost will be improved efficiency. Baldanza estimates that it will displace about 30 on-board bags to the check-in counter, which should account for a 5-7 minute decrease per gate on delays. Some industry analysts, Robert Mann for one, don’t think it will have much of an overall impact for customers. Those who are looking for full-featured flights won’t even look at Spirit as a flying option. But for those looking to save some cash, Spirit is there waiting.

[Image: bopuc / Flickr]

Tags: airline, budget, carry-on fees, low cost, Spirit

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