Next in radical unbundling: Spirit to charge for carry-on luggage

Ultra low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has become the first airline in the USA – perhaps in the world – to charge passengers with carry-on luggage as much as USD45 each way for stowing a bag in the overhead bin. Spirit said it will add measuring devices at the gates to determine which carry-ons are free and which ones will incur the charge. Personal items that fit under the seat will still be free, as long as they aren’t bigger than 16 x 14 x12 inches (40 x 30 x 20cm). Other exceptions to the fee are umbrellas, coats, strollers or car seats, reading material for the flight, or food passengers bring to eat on board. The new charge is USD30 if paid in advance online, USD45 if paid at the airport, and USD20 for frequent-flyer members. Passengers that pay the carry-on luggage fee will get priority when boarding. 

Spirit, which likes to compare itself to budget carrier Ryanair, was the first US carrier to impose checked baggage fees in 2008 and at the moment all major airlines except Southwest and JetBlue charge to check a bag on domestic flights. However, many passengers have been bringing large and heavy bags into the aircraft instead to avoid checked luggage fees. The U.S Association of Flight Attendants has even launched an ‘End Carry-on Crunch’ campaign to protest against the number of people who bring overstuffed bags on board and clog the overhead space.
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