Spirit Airlines Charges $100 Baggage Fee

Spirit Airlines has officially lost its damn mind.  They have come up with a scheme to charge you up to $100 for a carry on bag beginning in November!  Yes, you read that correctly, one hundred dollars for a piece of luggage.  Spirit has adopted a strategy of nickel-and-diming passengers for everything they can think.  Apparently it’s working because Spirit made a profit of $76.4 million last year – with a full third of its operating revenue coming from fees for carry-on and checked bags, choosing seats in advance and extra legroom.

Spirit announced it will increase the fee paid at the gate for a carry-on bag placed in an overhead bin from $45 to $100. A carry-on bag paid for at a kiosk in the airport will rise to $50 from $40. The new fees are effective Nov. 6. I won’t fly Spirit because I’m pretty sure that they’ll charge for oxygen once you’re in the sky, but many of you do fly the low cost carrier to save money.

You can be sure that competitor airlines are looking at Spirit’s industry leading profits with an eye to replicating those numbers themselves.  As bad as Spirit is with fees other airlines are following suit. According to a USA Today article, fees have risen at just about every carrier including:

  • Delta Airlines who charges $80 for a second checked bag for fliers paying online and $100 at the airport for flights between the USA and Europe or North Africa.
  • American Airlines who charges $70 for flights between the USA and South America (excluding Brazil).
  • JetBlue who charges $40 for a second checked bag, but the first bag is free (for now)

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “17 of the largest U.S. airlines collected $2.6 billion in baggage fees and $1.8 billion in fees for changing or canceling bookings during the first three quarters of last year. In 2010, 20 airlines collected $3.4 billion in bag fees and $2.3 billion in rebooking fees.” So, fees are here to stay and probably will get worse as gas prices continue to rise.

Honestly, airlines can charge whatever they want for their service.  They are private companies employing tens of thousands of people and having an impact on even more jobs.  That doesn’t mean that we have to like it!

I would love it if airlines had a wizard on their sites that could help you model the total actual costs of your trip if all fees were included (including baggage fees) prior to booking your ticket.

So tell me, what do you think about these higher fees?

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13 thoughts on “Spirit Airlines Charges $100 Baggage Fee

  • I think the add-on fees are cowardly. Just work it into the price of the ticket. I hate it when the fee borders on a privilege tax – like paying extra for the privilege of being a customer. Sheesh.

  • WOW. That’s kind of crazy — charging for a carry-on bag! If you also have to pay to check a bag, they might as well just factor the fees into the cost of the ticket. I can go for a weekend with just a carry-on, and that’s great since airlines began charging fees on checked luggage, but who flies without any luggage whatsoever?

    I like JetBlue a lot — they fly where I want to fly, they’re inexpensive, and I never have to pay baggage fees with them because the first checked bag is free (and so are carry-ons, Spirit!).

  • That’s ridiculous! We recently flew Air Canada and paid $25 for a checked bag, but carry on was free. (Of course we had to check the bag that contained all of our liquids, gels and aerosols!)
    $100 is in sane! For CARRY ON?!?! Nobody flies without any kind of luggage, so this means that every single person has to pay additional baggage fees.
    I’d rather the airline be upfront about it. Charge us an extra $100 on our ticket, and let us carry our bag on for free. They already limit the number of carry ons you can take, so I think that’s enough.

    On a side note – I’d also prefer that they charge an extra $20 for my ticket and provide a meal/blanket/earphones etc. etc. All of those complimentary services have gone by the wayside…

    • Ah, but I would rather pay $20 less and not use those services! (Unlike luggage, which most people usually need.) Maybe there could be an option at ticket purchase, like with extra leg room aisles, where you select whether you want those, and pay extra if you do. Way easier than having to pay on the plane.

  • $100 is insane! If I am the passenger, I I will not use their service anymore and switch airline.

  • Hello I’m from the UK and our leading so called low cost airline has floated the idea of charging £1 ($1.65) to …. Use the toilet!

    • Shut up!!!!!! Are you kidding me? That has to be a sick, sick joke. Using the toilet should come with the ticket.

  • Isn’t there some airline that is charging – or has been rumored to start chaging – for use of the lavatory on flights?

    The nickel and diming stuff is ridiculous and annoying. I don’t care if I sound old and grouchy saying that 🙂

  • Our leading low cost airline the one who would like the charge for the toilet have reqested to run test flights with standing berths, handrails and straps but that’s been rejected, for the moment!

    • You live dangerously in the U.K. We can hardly get up to move around in a cabin in the U.S. And really, the use of the bathroom should come with the ticket…unless you’re Gerard Depardieu. In that case you just pee on the carpet.

  • As long as the tickets themselves are cheap, what matters is *total* cost. It’s just running a Pareto on your customers. The 20 percent that will figure out how to travel light will be offset by the balance that opt for convenience.

    Ryan Air in Europe has been known to offer $10 dollar flights from Greece to Spain… as long as you book 6 months in advance.

  • Speciality fees, including baggage fees, aren’t subject to federal or state taxes — pure profit. In many cases, they aren’t even legally required to be entered on a tax form — seat selection fees? Not listed as reveue. Profit, profit, profit. Don’t pay into the system, while using everything from courts to education to the infrastructure.

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