Kip Tips


$100 for a Carry-on Bag -- Ouch!

Cameron Huddleston

Spirit Airlines will start charging more than double what it currently does if passengers wait to pay for carry-on bags at the gate.



A few months ago I asked George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, what airlines don't charge for, considering many levy a fee on everything from seat selection to blankets and pillows. Among the things he listed that most airlines don't make travelers pay extra for was the use of overhead bins. Most -- but not all.

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Spirit Airlines, which currently charges $20 to $45 for carry-ons, recently announced that it will start charging a $100 carry-on bag fee November 6. Talk about a hefty fee.

Granted, only passengers who wait until the boarding gate to pay for bags that will be stored in an overhead bin will have to pay the steep fee, which Spirit says in a press release was "intentionally set high to deter costly delay-causing gate activity." But Spirit also will be raising carry-on fees for customers who pay prior to arriving at the gate. Starting November 6, the standard fee will be $35 (a $5 increase) for customers who pay for carry-ons when they book their flight or before check-in. Customers who pay for a carry-on at the check-in counter will be charged $50 (a $10 increase).

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According to Airfarewatchdog.com's guide to airline fees, Spirit is one of only two airlines that charge for carry-on bags (Allegiant is the other). All the major airlines, other than Southwest and JetBlue, charge passengers for checking bags but give them a pass when they bring small luggage onto planes and stash it in the space above their heads.

Not only does Spirit charge for carry-ons, but also it levies fees on checked bags. And it charges a slew of other fees that can reach as high as $125. Its base fares are super cheap, though (as low as $9 for Fare Club members). But you'll end up paying as much as you would to fly on a major airline if you don't do enough advance planning to avoid extra charges when flying on Spirit.

Share your thoughts on Spirit's $100 carry-on fee -- and airline fees, in general -- in the comments box below.

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