Passengers hoping to save money by flying on Spirit Airlines will now face $100 fines if they decide to bring hand luggage on board.
The budget airline, which is often considered the American equivalent to Ryan Air, announced that they will be dramatically increasing the fees that they charge passengers when they either check or carry on any bags to their flights.
The company has been charging all of its passengers for luggage, though the fees are smaller if the passengers think ahead and pay the fees online before they travel.
Starting November 6, just in time for the busy holiday travel season, both organized passengers and for those who leave the fees until the moment they arrive at the gate will have to pay increased fees.
Prior to the fee change, passengers would have to pay $45 per carry on bag if they waited until they got to the gate; now they will be faced with a $100 bill- more than double the prior fee.
If they pay for said carry on bag at the airport counter or ticket kiosk, however, their fee will be halved to $50, which is still $10 more than the prior fee.
In an effort to off-set costs, the airline has charged for every aspect of passengers luggage- from the number of bags they check, to the varying weight of their overweight luggage.
Surfboards, bags that weigh between 71 and 99 pounds, and bags that are longer than 62 linear inches all accrue a fee of $100 or more.
The same goes for a passenger’s third, fourth or fifth checked bags.
While the increase will undoubtedly help the airline with profits, a spokesman told Nasdaq that the company has approached the change that rewards passengers for planning ahead in hopes that they will not be stuck with the highest fees.
‘Spirit offers our customers multiple opportunities to avoid this unnecessary fee and save money,’ Tony Lefebre said.
‘By planning ahead and paying for bags before getting to the boarding gate, our customers are saving time at the airport and speeding up the boarding process. When our customers choose these time-saving, self-service options, our costs go down, and we can pass those savings along to our customers.’
The price increase comes as little surprise as the financial struggles of the airline industry are well known.
Higher fuel prices, bankruptcies, and fewer travellers spending money on travel during a down economy have all played their part in hurting the companies bottom lines.
The news of the Spirit increases comes a day after American Airlines announced that they grounded ten planes in order to re-examine their safety capabilities because two flights made emergency landings due to rows of seats being loose mid-air.
Source: The Daily Mail