Spirit To Start Charging Up To $100 For Some Carry-On Bags

Spirit Airlines continues to demonstrate why Consumerist readers nominated the bottom-dollar carrier for the Worst Company In America 2012 tournament. The airline, only one of two U.S. carriers to charge for carry-on bags, has announced it will be jacking up its baggage fees, meaning some people could end up paying $100 per carry-on.

The AP reports that starting in November, Spirit will raise the fee for carry-on bags (i.e., bags that need to go into the overhead bin) paid for at the ticket counter from $45 to $100.

If you’d rather not deal with a Spirit staffer and choose to pay at an airport kiosk, that price is going up to $50 from its current level of $40.

Checking your bag will also cost $8-10 more if you pay at the airport. It will only be $2-5 extra if you pay at home.

According to Spirit’s earnings report for the first quarter of 2012, it is now earning $103.36 in non-ticket revenue for each customer who travels round-trip on the airline.

We’re waiting to see how CEO Ben Baldanza spins these fee increases into his laughable line about Spirit being the “most consumer-friendly airline.”

Spirit Airlines raising carry-on bag fee to $100 [SFgate.com]

Thanks to Chuck for the tip!


Edit Your Comment

  1. Southern says:

    Spirit can go to hell in a handbasket. I wouldn’t fly with them if they offered free flights.

  2. Dagny Taggart says:

    Southwest! You can check 2 bags for free, and I have never needed to check more than two.

    • jimbo831 says:

      Absolutely. I fly nobody else but Southwest ever anymore. I have always had good service, great rates, and two free checked bags plus a free carry on. I still don’t understand why so many people fly with any other airline.

      • Legit Crypt says:

        100% Agree. Southwest is a great airline and 19 times out of 20, everyone is friendly and courteous. I’ve flown with them for business at least 10 times a year for the past 3 years and have only had one bag temporarily misplaced as well as compensated for delayed or cancelled flights.

    • blueman says:

      I like Southwest, too, but they are no longer cheap. In fact, their fare is often higher than the others even counting the baggage fees.

      • Brad Ackerman says:

        Southwest hasn’t shot their service in the head like the other airlines, and is now the premium carrier in the US domestic market; they can therefore charge accordingly, and I’m certainly happy to pay more to not be treated entirely like self-loading cargo.

  3. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    Wow, so now you have to pay for the right to not get your bag lost.

  4. bigTrue says:

    At least they’re up front about it. If you’re somebody just trying to get somewhere and don’t have much luggage, this could work better. I haven’t flown in a couple years so I haven’t priced out flights much. If you don’t have checked or carryon bags, is spirit cheap enough to make only having a bookbag with extra underwear worth it?

  5. jeb says:

    How will they claim it as “consumer-friendly”? Because, in theory, it’s an avoidable fee. It’s also not all that hidden: if you go to their home page, there’s a link to go see the fees. Anyone who doesn’t factor baggage fees into their calculation either hasn’t flown in quite a while or doesn’t really care.

    Frankly, I don’t mind the a la carte pricing, because I may be able to still fly cheaper than through another airline if I don’t need those extra things that come with another airline’s ticket.

    • jeb says:

      Also, check your facts, Consumerist. It’s only $100 if you pay for it at the gate (i.e. you didn’t declare it before boarding the aircraft.) If you pay for it at the airport counter when checking in, it’s $50. Still an increase (and expensive), but not $100.

      • dwtomek says:

        So… Basically what the article said? (I will give you that it was not explicit. However, the article is correct as stands.)

        • jeb says:

          The article states that if you pay at the ticket counter (which, to me, is the counter at the airport where I would check in), it costs $100, which it does not. That costs $50, even if you check in with a live attendant (whereas the article states that “if you’d rather not deal with a Spirit staffer”, inferring that if you interact with one to pay for the checked bag, it costs $100, which is not true.)

          • vnlindstrom says:

            So, jeb is absolutely correct. $100 at the gate, $50 at the check-in kiosk.

            Now that the facts are straight … the fees are still absolutely ridiculous. And I love how the “consumer-friendly airline” has decided to hike the penalty (which is what it is) from $5 to $50 for not declaring a bag they never have to touch.

    • who? says:

      I would buy that argument, if Spirit weren’t the airline that was the airline that was trying hardest to get the feds to drop the requirement that the airlines post ticket prices with all the fees included. Their whole thing seems kind of disingenuous when you consider that.

      • AldisCabango says:

        How can you post a ticket price with all fees included when You total fee is based on which services you use. Its like going to McDonalds and they have to tell you what a total meal is going to cost, When all you want to know is how much a large tea costs, not a Big Mac, Large Fries, Apple Pie, and a Tea

    • humphrmi says:

      The issue isn’t whether the fee is consumer friendly. It will be interesting how they spin the increase in the fee.

  6. synonymous says:

    They are the worst. I was stuck on a flight from LAX to Chicago, for 2 HOURS on the plane. Their reasoning? “Someone didn’t refill the filtered water” so during the flight, there were NO beverages served, not even coke. Mind you, they even charge you for water. Worst flight of my life. I landed and drank a gallon of water, or what felt like a gallon. I’ll never fly Spirit EVER again.

  7. mgchan says:

    I don’t know… they’re up front about the fees and presumably offer lower fares. It’s not that hard… just add up all the fees you’re going to run into before you book.

    They’re free to charge whatever they want to make their business model work. If they can make a lot of money with bag-less customers paying cheap fares, more power to them.

  8. HogwartsProfessor says:

    This carry-on AND checked bag fee shit is getting ridiculous. If this keeps up, I’m not going to be able to fly anymore. Which means I can’t see my bf. I can barely afford the ticket as it is. This sucks massively. Give me a fucking free bag, either carry-on or checked. I can’t travel without luggage, and if I can’t take it, I’ll have to drive and you get no ticket money at all.

    • gman863 says:

      Fly Southwest: Two free checked bags and one free carry-on. Always.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …which only works if your trip begins and ends at Southwest airports. They don’t fly everywhere – they actually have a fairly limited selection.

    • iDevin says:

      Both United and AA (not sure about Delta or US but they must have something similar) offer free checked bags to holders of their branded credit cards.

      You can apply for a Citi AAdvantage card (or two, look at Flyertalk.com for some clever ways to stack bonus offers), get at least 50,000 free bonus AA miles, two free passes to the lounge, a $150 credit after your first AA purchase on the card, and it comes with free checked bags and priority boarding as long as you have the card. You get the first year without the annual fee then I think it’s around $80/yr which makes up for the bag fees if you fly at least twice a year.

      Yeah, it’s not a perfect scenario, but if all these little fees are making it hard to travel then pick your airline and figure out the best deal you can get by getting one of their cards. The legacy carriers are actually very competitive if you take this approach and do a little research. Personally I find AA to be vastly more cost effective than even the discount carriers and living at LAX which is an AA hub means I can go pretty much anywhere. Plus I got 200,000 AA miles by signing up for the credit cards based on the advice posted on Flyertalk which works out to 16 free one way tickets.

    • Southern says:

      HP, Carry Ons are free (on Spirit) as long as they fit *under the seat*.

      The fee only kicks in if you have to put the bag in the overhead compartment.

      The dimensions of the Under the Seat space are 16″x14″x12″

    • Hibyeman says:

      Fly on alaska airlines when possablie i believe the first carry on bag is free and if there is not enough space i believe the carry in bag is check for no fee you have to read it’s policies thought haven’t traveled recently and yes it offers flights outside the state of alaska it even flys out of the country but it has limited desnations out side of alaska so you have to check

  9. bwcbwc says:

    And this is why I now fly Jet Blue out of FLL. Spirit? Skroom.

  10. frodolives35 says:

    How many extra clothes can I wear without having to buy an extra seat. lol

  11. gman863 says:

    Soon to be seen on the Spirit website and kiosks…

    “Please insert card or enter card number. Spirit will now bill your card for fees up to your available credit limit.”

  12. maxamus2 says:

    It still all comes down to the total ticket price, if they are lower than others then I will fly with them.

  13. dicobalt says:

    Nickel and dime upgrades to Benjamin and Franklin

  14. Lightweight says:

    I’ve flown Spirit once, on a flight between Oakland and Las Vegas. The flight was only 90 minutes, so I didn’t care enough to pay to select a specific seat. I was just going for the weekend, so I was able to pack only a backpack that went under my seat, and thus not pay to check or carry on a suitcase. This is the *only* scenario I can think of that I would ever consider flying with them again.

  15. offtopic says:

    I’d be all for making customers pay for carry on bags as long as checked bags were free. At least this cruddy airline is getting it half right.

  16. offtopic says:

    I’d be all for making customers pay for carry on bags as long as checked bags were free. At least this cruddy airline is getting it half right.

  17. skakh says:

    The question must be; who are the people who fly Spirit airlines? And, why?

    • kranky says:

      When it’s cheaper than the alternatives after factoring in all the fees. Last time I flew Spirit my all-in cost was around $100 less than the next cheaper airline. That’s after paying bag fees, and adding the extra cost of driving 30 more miles to a different airport. The other airport is much smaller than the big airport in town, so I didn’t have to get there two hours early, and parking was free instead of $8/day at the big airport.

  18. mikedt says:

    Time to start wearing ALL your vacation clothes onto the plane.

  19. Major Tom Coming Home says:

    So when is the merger with Ryanair happening?

  20. rdking says:

    why would anyone willingly fly spirit?

    • Hi_Hello says:

      i would. I don’t like people stuffing way too many oversize carry on in the over head bin.

      I pack light, goes under the seat. And i’m willing to pay to have a over head bin if I need it. Or pay for the bag check-in.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      The same reason why I fly Allegiant, because if it’s dirt cheap if you play the game.

  21. AldisCabango says:

    If you dont like it dont use it. No one is forcing they to use Spirit.

  22. Darkrose says:

    I was looking at Spirit for a recent 1 way trip from Orlando to Philadelphia (actually Atlantic City). I was traveling alone and could have left my bag in Orlando as I was returning 1.5 weeks later, the only thing I would have liked was to bring a carryon (a laptop in a laptop bag).

    I checked rates with all the major airlines and went with Southwest. It was just over $100.00 with Spirit for the flight, and $135 for Southwest (1 stop, no plane change). If I had brought back my luggage like I did on Southwest, the fares and associated fees would have been more, plus an hour drive (each way to the airport) and about $10.00 in tolls.

    I don’t see any reason to use Spirit when I can get on virtually any major airline 20 minutes down I-95 vs an hour drive in lovely (barf) New Jersey.

  23. StarKillerX says:

    Easter weekend we went on a cruise that departed from Baltimore and instead of flying we left a day early and drove from Western NY to Baltimore and I have to say that was probably the one of the best vacation decisions I’ve ever made.

    I can’t describe how much better our vacation was simply because we avoided the hassle of the airport at the begining and end of it.

  24. Kisses4Katie says:

    God I remember when you bought the ticket for the seat it always came with overhead bin room as well… I thought that’s why there were overhead bins, so that every seat has a small spot for belongings. This is insane!! No wonder I do not fly anymore.

  25. j2.718ff says:

    So if your bag fits under the seat in front of you, that’s free to carry on…. what if you’re in the front row, and there’s no seat in front of you?

  26. Captain Walker says:

    Raise your hand if this surprises you.


  27. bet t says:

    It’s even worse than the headline: the fee will be one-way. So if you need to get your suitcase home, too, it’s $200. Sheesh!

  28. DanKelley98 says:

    That’s the “spirit”….a big middle finger to those forced to fly their airline.

  29. moonjest says:

    I understand that Spirit has some ultra-low fares, but it’s a strange concept to me to pay more to fly my 30-50 lb bag than myself. (Wow, I just checked Spirit’s fee list and noticed they start considering a bag overweight at 41 lbs.)

  30. RegBevWil says:

    Just got back from a trip flying Spirit. Not only was the woman at the check in counter TEXTING for a good 2-3 minutes after I walked up, the flight attendants cared more about gossiping in barely-hushed whispers throughout the entirety of the flight than they did about handing out $3 bottles of crappy water.

    I will never, ever catch the Spirit again. It’s like the reject airline for rejects.

  31. elc32955 says:

    You know, enough of this garbage. It’s not enough that we have to put up with the TSA and all of it’s unnecessary BS, but in addition we get the money-grubbing airlines nickel and diming us for every last cent they can creatively screw out of our wallets. I’m travelling from Florida to Ohio to attend a conference in two weeks and I’m DRIVING. I can stop when I want to use the bathroom or eat, I don’t have to have my anatomy imaged or x-ray scanned, I can carry just as much luggage as I can cram in the back of my Volvo wagon without paying oversize fees, and as long as I do adequate trip planning I won’t miss any deadlines. It’s worth the additional price for the gas and the longer trip time to bypass the insane circus that airline travel has now become. I vote to exorcise Spirit’s CEO as he is obviously possessed!

  32. MarkFL says:

    I just took a look at Spirit’s website. On the front page they advertise special fares starting from $19.80 one-way. You don’t need even that low a fare for it to be cheaper to buy a seat for your carry-on than to put it in the overhead. I could just make a reservation for Rollie O. Marks. Rollie will let me eat his pretzels, too.

    In fact, it could also be cheaper to ship your bags ahead of you, or at least on the return trip when it’s mostly dirty laundry. I recall when all the airlines started charging for checked bags, UPS ran an television as suggesting this.