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New York - Spirit Airlines Says No Hitch With Carry-on Fees

Published on: August 1, 2010 04:10 PM
By: AP
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FILE - In this file photo taken June 13, 2010, a Spirit Airlines airplane sits on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit Airlines passengers may want to get to the airport a little earlier than normal Sunday as a new fee on carry-on bags takes effect. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)FILE - In this file photo taken June 13, 2010, a Spirit Airlines airplane sits on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit Airlines passengers may want to get to the airport a little earlier than normal Sunday as a new fee on carry-on bags takes effect. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

New York - Spirit Airlines says it is gaining ground in the fight against flight delays with its controversial move to charge for carry-on bags.

With the new fees in place for the first time Sunday, Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the new approach appears to be working.

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“The check-in process is going well so far,” Pinson said Sunday afternoon. “It looks like this is going to speed things up.”

Since airlines started charging for checked luggage, more flyers have brought carry-on bags on board. Spirit’s new fee — the first in the industry — is aimed at discouraging passengers from stuffing the overhead bins because it often takes extra time to get bags settled and gate check those that won’t fit onboard.

Spirit is charging $30 at check-in for any bag that’s too big to fit under the seat. The price goes up to $45 for passengers who wait until they get to the boarding gate to pay, another step aimed at saving time. Members of Spirit’s special fare club will only pay $20 for a carry-on. Umbrellas, camera bags, strollers and car seats are among the items that will remain free of charge.

Airlines have been able to wring extra profits from new fees over the past few years, charging for checked bags, extra legroom and refreshments.

Spirit, based in Miramar, Fla., says it does not expect to profit from carry-on fees directly. Pinson said the low-fare airline is cutting ticket prices overall, in some cases by more than enough to offset the cost of a carry-on bag. But she said that by shaving 6 or 7 minutes off the time that it takes to load and unload a plane, Spirit hopes to be able to add more flights.

The privately held airline currently operates about 150 daily flights. Most carry leisure travelers from big airports in the U.S. through Fort Lauderdale and on to Latin America. Spirit had extra employees on hand Sunday at airports to assist passengers. The airline was expecting to handle 23,000 passengers on Sunday, including 5,800 in Fort Lauderdale.

Spirit will be collecting data over the next few weeks to see how the plan is working out. No hard numbers were yet available.

The idea of carry-on charges has struck some as crossing the line. New York Sen. Charles Schumer extracted a promise from five of the nation’s biggest airlines, including AMR Corp.‘s American Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc., that they won’t charge for carry-on bags.


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 Aug 01, 2010 at 04:24 PM Anonymous Says:

This is a smart marketing move and they have lowered their fares in proportion to the carry on fees. There is no reason why anyone needs to carry on big bags with food, personal items etc. I fly several times a month and have one small bag which I check and a small handbag that goes under the seat in front and doesn't cost me anything.

2

 Aug 01, 2010 at 04:34 PM Zaidy Says:

FYI, Spirit is not only the initiator of all the extra charges that are nickel-and-diming travellers, but they are one of the lousiest, if not THE worst, airlines to use. Never mind it's seemingly cheap fares. At the end of the day, it's always turns ot to be " you get what you pay for".
Case in point- My children, living in Lakewood, reserved and paid for 2 adult and 2 children's tickets on Spirit, from Atlantic City to Orlando.They also reserved and paid for a car rental, as well as the use of a villa for 5 days. Arriving at AC at
10:30 AM for a 12:30 PM departure, they were advised that the flight was delayed
to 3:00 PM. At 2:00 PM they were advised that the flight was cancelled. No reason
given.No alternate arrangements offered or made.They were left to their own resources.
As a result, my children had to make a 3 hour drive up from AC to LaGuardia in New York,stay with us overnight, and take a much more expensive, last minute flight the next day on Delta. This, in order to salvage the non-refundable payments made for the car rental and villa.Spirit washed their hands of the whole affair.
Now what if the Spirit flight was for an important meeting, close relative's wedding,
etc. ? Moral of this story: Use one of the legacy carriers instead of one of the threadbare ones, especially Spirit.

3

 Aug 01, 2010 at 10:30 PM Anonymous Says:

The stupidity and hypocrisy is making me sick. What does it mean that this will cut down time from boarding planes?

The whole reason it takes so long nowadays to board a plane is because spirit themselves started to charge for cheeked baggage.

Therefore people stopped and used carry on, when prices for a ticket remained the same. With a little seichel people should realize the stupidity of spirits excuses they just want your money.

And the women who are complaining, well you are the ones with all those shoes to schlep on your one week vacation

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