Allegiant Air Commits To Angering Customers By Charging For Overhead Bin Space

If you’re thinking of booking a flight on Allegiant Air on Wednesday or later, you might want to think about what you’ll be carrying on. The airline announced they’ll now be charging passengers $35 to stow bags in the overhead bin.

The Associated Press (via MSN Money) cites spokesman Brian Davis, who says passengers who pay online when booking their fares will pay less, but that lower price hasn’t been determined yet.

Of course, you’ll still get your one personal bag to fit under the seat — for free! Imagine that. Now just try packing everything you need for a trip in your laptop bag.

Allegiant isn’t a super-sized carrier, heading to mostly to vacation spots like Orlando and Las Vegas, and so though it does tout lower fares, there has to be a way to make up that money. Hence, charge for services like early boarding and checking bags — and now, bringing almost any bag.

Maybe they’re trying to make up for the $100K they lost in fines February, when they ran afoul of new Department of Transportation rules regarding air travel. At that time, the rules were in effect for less than a month when Allegiant went rogue, posting “free” flights without noting any taxes or other additional fees in the promotion.

We don’t envy Allegiant the barrage of customer complaints they’ve got coming. As one tipster wrote regarding the news: “I filled out their contact form online and told them if they do this, I will not ever fly their airline again. I said, ‘Please rethink this.’ “

Allegiant to charge passengers for using bin space [MSN]

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  1. MutantMonkey says:

    Wow.

  2. Jfielder says:

    This shit needs to stop.
    If airlines are gonna pull these shenannigans then the first checked bag should always be free.

  3. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    I have wanted to try Allegiant for a trip from Clearwater, FL to Bangor, ME but they have a vibe about them that they could go out of business at any time. Not to mention their aircraft are all around 20 years old. The DC-9 / MD-8X family were good aircraft in their day, but still…

    It will be back to the lesser of evils for me…Airtran. At least their MD-8X fleet of aircraft (717s) are much newer.

    • cromartie says:

      You’d better enjoy airTran while you can, they get absorbed into the Southwest monstrosity in August.

      (And I say this as someone who loves airTran and 717s).

      • Major Tom Coming Home says:

        I am not looking forward to that. I have only flown Southwest once and don’t have an opinion about them, but Airtran has been consistently good to me. I wonder if Southwest will sell the 717s and keep flying the 737 only or switch to Jungle Jets. It will be sad to see them go.

        • Buckus says:

          I’m betting they switch over to 737s. Flying only 737s makes maintenance and finding replacement parts easier, pilot training easier (any SW pilot can concievably fly any SW route since they’re all certified on 737s) thus lowering their overhead.

          • EarlNowak says:

            Nah, the whole point of the purchase was they’d get a fleet of slightly smaller aircraft to run on routes where they couldn’t profitably run a 737. Seriously, it was in the prospectus.

        • nopirates says:

          latest rumor has delta acquiring the airtran 717s (to replace aging DC-9s and perhaps some ERJs) and southwest sticking with the all-737 fleet

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      With Allegiant, you get what you pay for. If you take it for what it is, a discount airline, then it’s not bad. If you’re expecting a pleasant, comfortable experience, then you’ll be disappointed.

  4. BrandonOBrien says:

    Let me see if my psychic ability is working….

    In 6 months time Allegiat Air will file for bankruptcy due to lack of passengers flying with them.

  5. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Solution is simple: don’t fly with them. Kinda…I guess if it’s still cheaper to fly on them than any other airline even after the extra $35 fee, then knock yourself out.

    I’m still amazed that people have such a hard time adding together a few numbers (fare and taxes/fees) to figure out what the total cost of a trip is. I can’t imagine how one manages to get by in life in general if something like that is so difficult you have to pass laws to make someone else do arithmetic for you.

    • Starrion says:

      That addition thing would be a lot easier:
      $45 + (undisclosed fee) + $35 + (Undisclosed taxes) + (Undisclosed ticketing fee) + (Undisclosed 9/11 security fee) vs. $225 on Delta.

      Which is more expensive?

    • j2.718ff says:

      When traveling, it often happens that at booking time, I don’t know exactly how much luggage I’ll be bringing with me. Should I pay the baggage fee online at booking time, and risk not needing it, or wait until flight time, and risk having to pay more?

    • castlecraver says:

      I’m still amazed that people have such a hard time empathizing with consumers who get pissed off when they’re made to pay for something they used to get for free*. Numerous examples of this have been studied, and the phenomenon is very well-understood in economics. Being able to add together numbers is great, but being able to critically evaluate complex questions actually gets you further in life. Then again, that part (re: a-la carte pricing/fee disclosure/simple arithmetic) of your comment was pretty much a straw man anyway.

      *Yes, I realize it isn’t “free” free and was probably at one point figured into the cost of the ticket. But unless the base fares on Allegiant go down about $35 across the board (hint: they won’t), it’s a net money-grab and my point stands.

      • rugman11 says:

        First, yes, it was never free. At least you grasp that.

        The reason this is all happening is because of two things: First, flight aggregators, and second, a lack of brand loyalty in airlines.

        With Orbitz, Kayak, Priceline, and all the others, nobody looks at the total cost of a flight, they just look at what pops up as the cheapest flight on Orbitz. Airlines caught onto this and so they started back-ending all the costs. They started dropping their prices and charging $50 for the second bag. Sure, 50 people might stop checking a second bag (costing them $2500), but if having a price $50 less than everybody else on Orbitz means 10 more people sign up for a $250 flight, they’ve made that money back.

        Then everybody started charging for the second bag, so now they start charging for the first. Then everybody started charging for the first bag, etc. So long as there is no brand loyalty and people choose their flights based on whatever shows up cheapest in Orbitz, we’re just going to have a downward spiral of service and we only have ourselves to blame.

        • vastrightwing says:

          Brand loyalty has to EARNED. Airlines (for the most part) don’t earn loyalty. Air travel is now a commodity. This means that flying airline A, B or C is pretty much the same, so shop on price.

          I can sit in a tube for a few hours in a chair as long as I get there. I’ll bring my own meal and entertainment. So fuel the bus… I mean plane, point the nose towards my destination and land without killing me. That‚Äôs all I expect anymore. Hey Walmart, how about starting an airline? Hooters did it, you can too.

          • rugman11 says:

            That’s my point. People like you are the majority (and I am one, too). We’ve created this mess ourselves so complaining about the airlines charging for something that used to be “free” is asinine.

        • castlecraver says:

          If the comment elsewhere in here stating that only about 4% of Allegiant’s routes have comparable competitors (I suspect this means non-stop routes) is true, the “whatever pops up cheapest” hypothesis is way more complicated. Sure, some people may go for the cheapest option no matter what (4-hour layover in Minneapolis be damned), but it should be obvious that certain airlines do have defacto monopolies on certain non-stop routes.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      I don’t care if Allegiant is cheaper than other airlines. If paying this fee will guarantee me space in the overhead bin, I will fly with them every chance I get (until someone else gives me the same opportunity). We usually fly with $5k+ of fragile stuff in our carry-ons, it’s worth paying a fee to guarantee that no one else will handle that stuff (e.g. if the bins are full and we have to gate check our carry-ons).

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I sent this in last night.

        I doubt very seriously if the fee guarantees you anything. If everyone else pays it and the bins are still full and you have to gate-check (which is still free most everywhere if it’s inadvertent), do you think they’ll reimburse you? I think not. And this is why I wrote them the email.

        • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

          This. Essentially, you’re only paying to bring a second, larger bag aboard the plane than what will fit under the seat in front of you. Allegiant is banking on people NOT paying the bring a bag aboard allowing for open bin space for those who do pay. If everyone pays $35, then there will still be a battle for bin space, but those passengers will still be out the money. This will not end well.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    Captive audience is captive.

    • unchainedmuse says:

      Cargo pants – great idea in theory but going through security could end up taking a really long time while the TSA makes you strip. :P

  7. Doubting thomas says:

    This is just stupid and will hurt them in the long run. On the other hand if they were only charging for overhead space and not charging for checked bags I would be sure to fly with them next time. The worst part of air travel for me, outside of the TSA, is how long it takes to get everyone on and off the plane with everyone crowding the narrow aisles and trying to cram 4 cubic feet of luggage into 3cubic feet of space.

    • SavijMuhdrox says:

      and then they put their bags in the bin over your seat.. and proceed to go sit in the back of the plane..

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Two words: CARGO PANTS

  9. mrvw says:

    Well, this removes them from my choices for my trip to vegas in May. That made it easier to narrow it down to two airlines.

  10. Heyref says:

    Thank god I have no desire to travel to either Orlando or Las Vegas. Unfortunately, most of my flying is either into or out of single carrier airports, so you pay what they charge.

  11. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    I’m sure they came up with this fee ‘after talking with the customers’ and that this ‘is something they indicated they wanted’.

  12. CubeRat says:

    I would support this if checking bags were free, or significantly less than the carryon fee. I get so tired of people with hugh bags, or with 3 – 4 ‘small’ personal bags that they carryon.

    Just check the damn bag, please.

    • OSAM says:

      I only ever carry on my camera bag, though it’s technically exempt from carry-on limits on about 90% of airlines (akin to a woman’s purse). I could, however, still take on a full carry-on sized bag, but I hate it when others take their mini-suitcases with them and clog up the overheads, so I dont.

  13. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    We fly down to Florida a few times a year with Allegiant. Even with taxes, it’s possible to fly round trip for about $100. We usually just opt out of everything and UPS our baggage down. It’s definitely the Greyhound of the air but when their tickets are 1/4 the price of US Air or Delta, it’s worth it.

  14. SpiffWilkie says:

    Well, at least people won’t try cramming a week’s worth of luggage in the overhead compartment to avoid paying checked baggage fees. It’s been a while since I’ve seen an airline enforce the “your bag must fit inside this box to carry on” rule.

  15. valthun says:

    My wife is of the opinion that the second carry-on should be a fee, but the first checked bag is free. Basically stopping those that try to bring in a “Carry-on” that won’t fit under the seat or in the overhead because the passenger stuffed it full of everything so they can avoid the check bag fee.

  16. az123 says:

    Just wondering how far the gov is going to let them go before they start regulating this…. eventually they are going to charge to have a seat belt :)

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      “In the even of an emegency water landing, please see your flight attendant to purchase a floatation device.”

    • StarKillerX says:

      True, but any politician that has anything to do with the US tax code should be barred by law from complaining about a company’s complexing fee structure.

  17. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    You know those vaccum storage bags? They work great.

    That company should have a bag that isnt’ clear, for use as a carry on bag. It compresses your stuff very well. Only problems are, you need a vaccum to be available at your destination (to fly back), and if they search your bag, you won’t be able to fit it all back in.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      My own experience has been you can do just as well if not better by adopting a really good folding and packing technique. I tried the vacuum bags and I did better without them.

  18. Talisker says:

    Include a certain amount of weight with each ticket for the passenger and luggage, say 350 pounds. Put the passenger and all bags on a scale at check-in. Charge $1.00 for every pound over 350. Still have limitations on the number, size and weight of individual bags.

    This ties the price of the ticket to the amount of fuel being used, which is in part based on the weight the plane is carrying.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      When I was in the Army, that’s pretty much how it was done. Each person was allocated a certain weight for himself and all of his equipment. It kind of sucked for the really big guys or those with crew served weapons but it kept people from bringing a ridiculous amount of stuff with them.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      That’s, uh, quite a lot of baggage you’re planning on taking with you.

      I can’t imagine how long I’d have to be on the road to be wanting to take 150 pounds of stuff with me. Let alone my wife…with 220 pounds of allowance to fill.

      Hmmm…if my wife bought one ticket, can I just climb into the overhead bin as her luggage? I’d be within her weight limit…

    • Coffee says:

      You don’t think this would be challenged under the ADA by overweight people with disabilities? I’m guessing there is no way it would survive in court.

      • rmorin says:

        I don’t think it is a well thought idea, however FWIW, obesity does not automatically mean disability. In order to be protected by the ADA you have to have a health condition which dramatically impairs one or more major life activities. Flying in an airplane would be unlikely to be considered a major life activity by a court. It is more things like the ability to go to school, the ability to hold a job, the ability to walk, etc., much bigger and more vague activities that the ADA protects.

        • Coffee says:

          I didn’t mean to imply that fat people are disabled, but rather that many disabled people happened to be fat. That group would likely sue the airline if it imposed a flat weight limit on individuals, citing their disabilities as directly causal to their weight issues. I guess there could be a mechanism for exempting overweight disabled people from the weight regulations, but that probably wouldn’t stop a bevy of lawsuits.

          As an aside, I know there’s a lot of anti-fatty snark on this cite, but I wasn’t trying to turn the discussion in that direction.

  19. Alliance to Restore the Republic of the United States of America says:

    Dude WTF.

  20. daynight says:

    The fundamental problem is that they are trying to hide the totals that are being charged. By breaking up the amount paid into smaller fees that are not directly comparable to other providers’ prices, it is hoped that they can offer lower base prices, lock in a customer who then will pay the hidden costs because it would be to much trouble or too costly to change to a different provider.
    This is, in a word, dishonest. They are trying to make higher profits by deception instead of giving superior service or unique service. Sadly, this type of behavior takes the place of quality and value.

  21. scoosdad says:

    From wikipedia:

    “The airline, which attracted investment from the Ryan family of Ireland, owners of Ryanair, follows a similar model which seeks ancillary revenue in addition to ticket revenue.”

    That pretty much says it all.

    The wikipedia article also goes into a lot of detail about their ancillary revenue business model, including this September 2009 quote from their CEO: ‘”We collect $110 from you at the end of your trip. If I tried to charge you $110 up front, you wouldn’t pay it. But if I sell you a $75 ticket and you self-select the rest, you will.”

    A $75 ticket + $35 overhead bin use fee = $110. How prophetic of him.

    They have competition in only around 4% of the routes they fly. Good luck flying with someone else if you’re trying to fly out of small airports like Springfield, MO.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      That’s exactly where I fly out of. It’s actually less hassle and doesn’t save me anything to drive three hours to St. Louis or KCI to use Southwest, which doesn’t fly out of Springfield.

      I’m very glad I booked American to fly to Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend. I was going to go Allegiant because it was cheaper and a direct flight, but I was trying to time my arrival with that of my bf so we’d have more time together that weekend. Allegiant’s flight would have gotten me there very late. At least I can still take a carry-on for free on American. I hope…..

  22. El_Fez says:

    Wow – it seems that my Photographer’s vest is a better investment day by day!

    It’s a big, roomy vest and/or jacket that lets me carry a HUGE amount of gear with me. And since it’s a jacket, there’s no messing about with a “Hey! That’s a bag!” from the airlines. No, it’s not a 3rd bag, it’s clothing! You guys can bite me!

    • GoldVRod says:

      Wow nice find. You could carry lots of wiring, batteries, blocks of cheese wrapped in cellophane and at least one clock in that jacket!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      0_0

      I’m bookmarking that. The second I have the money, it’s mine. Thank you.

  23. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Luggage carried on and luggage checked should both cost the same price. After all, both add weight to the plane, and both require additional fuel to lift it. It made no sense economically before, to charge a fee for checked baggage but not for carryon.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Remember a carry on might slow down passengers entering and exiting the plane, but loading and unloading the cargohold takes even more time and the more checked baggaged the longer it will take. This not only slows down turn around times but also ties up those loading/unloading, as well as the baggage handing equipment.

      So while fuel is certainly an issue, there are other expenses involved as well.

      Also don’t forget that unused space in the cargohold can be used to haul commercial freight, which can account for 10% of the airline’s revenues (and overhead bins are useless for this purpose.)

  24. Hi_Hello says:

    sweet. if only all airline does this.

  25. donjumpsuit says:

    Just put on every piece of clothing you are going to wear for the entire trip, and take it off when you get on the plane.

  26. SmokeyBacon says:

    The last time I flew for work it was only for 2 days so I just picked my most wrinkle resistant stuff and shoved it all in a backpack that would fit under the seat, just because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get any room in the overhead. And I was right – the thing was packed full when I got to my seat, so I was glad I had planned it that way – one backpack and one small purse.

  27. Scorpyn says:

    I love this! Mainly because of all the people on all the other airline stories who didn’t want the price of their ticket changed due to luggage and the barrage of ” I only want to pay for what I use” comments. You really should have known that eventually they’d start nickel and diming you for everything that does apply to you.

  28. kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

    At some point, luggage shipping companies are going to become the cheaper option.

  29. GoldVRod says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here but I don’t see ANY issue with this at all. If most people would board the plane and just sit down, flights (from boarding to disembarking) would be MASSIVELY faster.

    Instead you have couples with five crying kids in tow each one struggling with a 50 bag of carry-on crammed with enough shit to last a year trying to force them into a mailbox sized slot.

    Imagine the utopia of just stepping into the plane and… sitting down! Then it takes off. Bliss – pure bliss.

    Yeah – first checked bag up to 100lbs is free. Carry on is $100 for 10lbs. That works for me.

    • scoosdad says:

      I wouldn’t have an issue with it either if it weren’t for the people handling our checked baggage who seem to treat it like an all you can steal buffet. Sometimes you have to travel with valuable items with you and carry-on is a necessity.

      • GoldVRod says:

        What possible valuable items would be too large to store in your pockets AND yet too valuable not to just ship Fedex in advance with insurance?

        The majority of people travelling are going to work/vacatation. What valuable item could they possibly have that justifies the carry-on debacle? If it’s some sort of memorabilia (I believe they carry certain sporting trophies as they traverse the nation for display for example) then that’s an exception and you simply pay the $100.

        I don’t mean this as an antagonistic question – I am genuinely interested in hearing exactly what it is you are referring to.

        • Dr. Shrinker says:

          Umm…I don’t know, maybe a $1500 MacBook? A $1000 camera? Maybe that’s not worth much to you, but to many of us these are valuable items.

          • GoldVRod says:

            Before inserting your snarc into a post please take into account all of the variables here.

            Laptop; goes under the seat. Camera; wear on your person.

            Care to continue the discussion or do you just want to be a dick?

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          MY COMPUTER.

          It does fit in a Targus backpack I bought for just this purpose, and the backpack also has everything that should be in my purse plus the purse rolled up. When I get to my destination, I take out the purse, unroll it and put in my purse stuff. The backpack fits under the seat in most aircraft or overhead. My camera and phone are also carried on and do not leave me. If I check these things, they will disappear.

          I am NOT shipping my laptop, especially not for a three-day trip, but I need it to write. So I have to carry it on. It does not leave my side the entire time. Besides, shipping costs as much or more as the stupid fee. I’m not paying for it. if all the airlines start doing this, I’ll drive instead. Screw them.

          • GoldVRod says:

            So… err… you don’t need carry-on space then? Why the “MY COMPUTOR!!”! opening part of your post?

            I would’ve thought this was a simple question to answer. People seem confused by it.

            • HogwartsProfessor says:

              I don’t need bin space, if that’s what you’re asking. But I still like to take a carry-on for my clothing and shoes, so I can avoid the checked bag fee. If they had free checking still, I would probably do it more often than not but I’m still taking my computer.

              I’m not made of money. With shipping costs and insurance, it’s not any cheaper to send my laptop using FedEx or UPS. Nor would I trust them with it, not if I can carry it.

              • GoldVRod says:

                Yes, as I put in my OP the logic would be that the first checked bag up to say 100lbs would be free. So that’s where your clothes go. You laptop is considered a purse (as it is already for most airlines) and could be stowed under the seat in front of you.

                So you don’t pay carry-on fees. Thus almost everyone sits down quicker and those who don’t pay for the privilege.

                The airlines save money by having more flights in the sky and less planes merely sitting at gates and therefore everyone’s flight is 20% shorter in terms of total time.

                I really don’t see discouraging carry-on bags in anyway can be construed as a negative (as long as checked is free for a limited amount of weight).

                I would like someone to point out the logic fail in my thought process here. I must have missed something… airlines win, we win, airports win, less gas burned up, more flights… what am I missing?

  30. dourdan says:

    so how much is it to check a bag?
    that is the point right?

    you can check a bag for 50 dollars or carry it for 35 dollars. i guess it will just suck if you have items that you would not want to check (like jewelery or cameras)

  31. Collaborator says:

    I use Allegiant over 30 flights a year as they fly directly to the smaller airports near where I need to go for business and are cheap. But this probably kills the cost savings for me.

  32. Collaborator says:

    In other news, small airline nobody’s ever heard of called Allegiant Air declared bankrupcy today, April 20th 2012, after they lost the entirety of their customer base by trying to take fees to an obscene level that Ryanair wouldn’t even touch.

  33. rockelscorcho says:

    If you are traveling Alligent, you probably are on a budget to a specific location. I would recommend rethinking the whole “we must travel there on a budget issue.” If these fees are deal breakers, then you probably shouldn’t fly to that destination.

    However, if you do feel that it is a deal breaker and maybe you must go, the screw them, UPS it to your destination the day before!

  34. dougp26364 says:

    We stopped flying them 4 or 5 years ago when their extra fee’s added up to the same cost as flying airlines with FF plans. Add to it that they’re a charter service that can cancel a flight and only have to offer you a refund, sometimes leaving passengers stranded in their wake and they became a no-go for us. I’m really sort of surprised they haven’t already gone under.

  35. jimstoic says:

    If this ends people using carry-on for all of their belongings, good.

  36. FLConsumer says:

    Allegiant: Not sure if I’ll ever be flying to MCO or LAS, BUT you can be assured it WILL NOT be on your airline!

  37. FLConsumer says:

    Part of my job involves the travel planning/reservations/accommodations for our staff whom travel quite frequently. I know our company’s a bit unusual, but the mandate I have is to make travel as smooth as possible for our employees. This means avoiding hidden fees. I’ll gladly pay more up-front if it means less of this crap at the airport. Yes, we do purchase seat upgrades at almost every opportunity possible too.

    Allegiant’s definitely getting crossed off of the possible carriers we’ll use.