It's been a while since I last reported on an airline adding or increasing a fee, but Spirit Airlines is breaking my silence on the topic. The carrier will raise the fee for transporting pets and for unaccompanied minors to $100 each way, up from $85 and $75 respectively. Ticket change fees will go up by $20, meaning changes made online will cost $100 while changes made in person or by phone will cost $110.
Was that a collective groan I just heard? Before we get too nervous about another wave of fees sweeping through the industry, remember that Spirit, the self-titled ultra-low-cost carrier, makes most of its money off fees and charges, not airfare (which is why it can offer those nutty 2-cent sales). So when it comes to fees, Spirit isn't exactly a bellwether airline, meaning the rest of the industry may be standing pat with the fee structures in place.
But—yes, there's a but—with travel down and planes flying empty, the airlines need to make money somehow, right? And if they aren't bringing in revenue via fares, what's left? I won't say it out loud, but you know what I'm implying. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hopefully we won't see another round of fee hikes and new charges take the industry by storm. And remember you can keep tabs on your favorite carrier with our handy fees chart.
I'd like to know what you think: If overall travel keeps sinking, will the airlines be forced into another set of fee hikes? Leave a comment below with your prediction.