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Spirit Raises Carry-on Bag Fee to $100

For a hundred bucks, you can go to dinner at a decent restaurant, purchase a DVD box set, or—if you’re flying Spirit—tote a bag onto a plane.

Effective November 6, fee-sucking Spirit will charge $100 for carry-on bags paid for at the gate. It’s an increase of 122 percent over the current price of $45. If you reserve your carry-on privileges ahead of time online, it’ll cost you $35 bucks as of November 6. (Current price is $30.) And if you pay for your carry-on bag at the airport counter, you’ll be charged $50. (Up from the current price of $40).

All Spirit flyers may bring a single personal item that can fit under the seat in front of you for free. This would include something like a purse or laptop computer. How generous.

Passengers can avoid the fee by reserving a carry-on bag ahead of time or by checking a bag. But Spirit is also upping other rates on its ridiculous miles-long fee menu, including some charges for those checked bags. First checked bags currently cost $23 for domestic flights and $28 for international flights. Come November 6, Spirit will impose a flat $25 fee for first checked bags on both domestic and international flights.

The easily avoided $100 carry-on charge is probably not going to become a major source of revenue for Spirit. So what’s the big idea? We contacted the airline for an explanation. A spokesperson from Spirit told us, “We don’t want any of our customers to wait until they get to the boarding gate to pay for their carry-on bags as this delays the boarding process for everyone. We expect that our new $100 fee charged for those who wait until they get to the gate will ensure that customers purchase their bags before arriving at the gate.”

The spokesperson also said that the fee changes have “simplified” the airline’s pricing structure by matching domestic and international bag charges. Some international bag fees have, in fact, dropped, such as the aforementioned cost for first checked bags on international flights.

Still, charging $100 for a carry-on bag is brazen. This looks like it could be one more grubby publicity grab by Spirit, which appears to believe that anything short of a disastrous corporate sex scandal is good marketing. (Let’s not give them any ideas.) For evidence, see Spirit’s campaign against passenger protections enacted by the government, as well as its objectionable advertising.

Spirit was also the first airline to charge for carry-on bags. They’re shameless industry trendsetters—in the worst way.

What do you think about Spirit’s new fee?

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