Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spirit airlines logo

The United States air-carrier Spirit Airlines announced Tuesday that it will begin charging up to US$45 in fees for carry on baggage. The fees target baggage which is stowed in overhead bins, and not under seats. The fees will take effect for travelers who fly on or after August 1.

Spirit will charge US$45 for passengers who pay at the airport, US$30 for those who pay in advance, and US$20 for members of its frequent flyer program. Spirit already charges between US$15–45 for the first checked bag, and up to US$345 for five checked bags.

The move is the latest in an industry trend which is moving to lower upfront fares, and more hidden fees such as baggage fees or the loss of free services such as meals. Even the measure of charging passengers for restroom use as has been proposed by Irish carrier Ryanair. Ryanair also closed all of its check-in desks in 2009, relying more on on-line check ins.

There has been a push among US lawmakers to introduce legislation to make the pricing of airfare more upfront by listing the post ticket fees. The backer of a proposed bill to enforce this, Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, said that it will allow travelers to understand all the charges from when they book the flight to when they check their bag.

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