Spirit Airlines Charging for Carry-On Luggage, But Four Things Are Free

April Peveteaux

spirit airlines baggage feesIf you flew Spirit Airlines yesterday, you already know they have implemented even more luggage fees -- this time for the stuff you haul yourself.

One would think if you're doing the heavy lifting, you don't have to pay someone else for the privilege. One would be wrong. Spirit is the first airline to implement this annoying extra fee, and the airline caught travelers off-guard. Passengers were spotted stuffing bags into their checked luggage, and in one case a traveler said she would never fly Spirit again.

Carry-on fees apply to anything that cannot fit under the seat in front of you. So unless you carry a seriously large purse or backpack (or diaper bag -- parents!), you won't be charged for those necessities.

The new fees were implemented to relieve some of the overcrowding of bins that is a result of airlines charging for checked luggage. Which makes me think these circular policies could go around forever, with the airlines winning and passengers losing.

Spirit says they cut their fares, so the discount airline remains a less expensive option even with these new charges. Still, you book your flight thinking it's one price, then tag on an extra $30 -- $90 once you arrive at check-in.

There are a few items that are exempt from the carry-on fee. So before you head to the airport, if you're flying Spirit, here's what you need to know:

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.

From now on I know I'll be checking the fine print before I book my fare online. What seems to be a less expensive flight could quickly add up.The base fare you're being quoted on Orbitz or Travelocity is not the end of the story, so visit the airlines' websites as well so you don't get nickel and dimed to death before you've even reached the airport food vendors.

Do you think these charges are unfair?

Image via PhillipC/Flickr

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