Spirit Air To Charge Extra For Sneezing

Spirit Air announced new fees starting June 20, 2007 that will penalize flyers for using extra services. Like having a piece of luggage.

• $5 flat fee for EACH checked bag, up to 50 lbs., if arranged in advance online
• $10 flat fee per checked bag, up to 50 lbs., if you wait until the airport to pay the fee
• All beverages such as coffee, juice, and soda will cost $1 (water is free)
• First class is downgraded to premium economy. It’s renamed “the Big Front Seat.” No more free booze.

Next thing you know, the bathrooms will be coin-operated!

Now, if as a result of increasing the cost-load for those passengers using more services, Spirit Air reduces average fares by $30, then this is a good deal for consumers. After all, why should amenities you don’t use be built in to your ticket price? Somehow though, our cynical side thinks Spirit won’t be passing along the savings to its other customers. — BEN POPKEN

[via Upgrade Travel Better]
(Photo: babasteve)


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  1. B says:

    At first I thought it said Sprint, not Spirit, so I was wondering how a cell phone carrier could charge for checked baggage. I’m sure they’ll find a way, though.

  2. bpotterr says:

    Seatbelts are presumably still free?

  3. nweaver says:

    Ahh, the RyanAir model…

    What they need to do now is add in a no charge for baggage on the first leg, and a $50 for return.

  4. FutureRoadie says:

    I wont vouch for Spirit’s honesty, but according to the email received

    “Spirit Airlines announced today it has lowered many fares up to 40% as part of a new approach that empowers customers with the ability to customize their travel experience. For more information on our revolutionary ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carrier) model click here(http://www.spiritair.com/page.aspx?id=1)”

    The way i see it? now my $200 ticket should be $120, I need one bag each way so an extra $10 and I should save $70, prob. just wishful thinking though.

  5. KevinQ says:

    I don’t know what their prices were like before, but I ran a quick check online. I searched for a flight from Detroit to Cancun, Mexico, and then I ran a search for the same trip on Yahoo Travel. The Yahoo flights (Northwest, Continental) started at $320, while the Spirit Air flight was $200. Which is nearly 40% cheaper.

    Now, like I said, I don’t know what their prices were like before, but they seem pretty good now. And as long as the charges for extra amenities aren’t outrageous (and I don’t think these are), then I think it’s a good deal.


  6. formergr says:

    Oh man, I understand charging for some of this stuff, but charging for even *one* checked bag is a bad, bad idea. Boarding a plane already takes too long because invariably a bunch of people try to carry on their entire life posessions including the kitchen sink and stuff it into the overhead bins.

    Then there’s no room, so people have to shove towards the back to find some empty bins, and when there aren’t any, swim back to the front against the flow of traffic in the aisles to gate-check the bag after pulling a hissy fit.

  7. Pelagius says:

    Good! More choice in the market. I’d take a 40% cheaper fare when all I have is a carry on. Let people who think they need two suitcases for a long weekend in the Hamptons pay extra for the privilege.

  8. cabinaero says:

    @formergr: Agreed. The policy should be one checked and one carry-on free, and everything beyond is subject to a ruthlessly enforced surcharge.

    I also find it amusing that the editors and consumeristas freaked out a few months ago when United floated the possibility of additional, ala carte fare classes.

  9. Rajio says:

    Hey, guess what, havign a plane keep all that luggage in the air costs money. Not everyone has the same amount of lugage. Do you propose people with no luggage pay the same as those with loads of luggage? That doesen’t exactly seem fair.

    Oh, and guess what else; food and drink cost money. Are you proposing that the costs for them just be absorbed into ticket sales so that someone who doesn’t drink anything has to effectively pay for some glutton’s drinks?

    This move does a lot to reduce fares for those who travel light and consume little and makes everyone more directly responsible for their own consumption and usage.

  10. br549 says:

    To see what they’ll do next, just check out RyanAir in Europe.

    They’re even more bare bones and fee happy than this. But they’re very cheap.

  11. suckonthat says:

    @KevinQ: Spirit’s prices always look good, until you add in the fees. A $159 ticket goes to $220ish. Why the taxes and fees are so much more expensive there than other airlines, I don’t know.

    And as for RyanAir, cheap as hell, yes, unless you pack a 70lb bag thinking “Oh I’ll just pay whatever having a heavy bag is; it can’t be too much” and then are slammed for 135 euro when your ticket only cost 30 euro.

  12. Panhandler says:

    Reiterating my pipe dream for straight-up Charge-by-the-Pound Airline. You weigh 300 pounds? $300 please. You also want the flying tincan to be stocked with whatever libations you might happen to desire? Bring ’em yourself. You weigh 300 pounds and bring 8 pints of Guiness? $308, please. Two pound carry-on? $310. Fifty pounds of Lane Bryant clothes? $360.

  13. Rajio says:

    amen to that panhandler