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?