Spirit Airlines announced this week that they would be the first major U.S. airline to charge passengers for carry-on luggage. The fees will range from $20-$45 depending on status and when in the process that the “luggage” reservation is paid. Travelers will be anxiously watching the results of this one. I suppose that if by some miracle Spirit is successful, we should all expect that airlines will be installing pay toilets.
Spirit tells us that the reason for the charges is to speed up the boarding process and improve on-time arrivals. Spirit Airlines will still allow passengers to stow one personal item under the seat. I am sure that there will be no confusion on what is or is not allowed in the overhead bin. Will luggage in the overhead need a big giant Minnie Pearl style PAID tag on it?
There are certainly some improvements to be made to the current boarding process. It seems to me that people are more aggressive in packing carry-on bags since airlines started charging bag fees. If we’re really trying to help speed up the arrivals. What about making it mandatory to check all luggage, but don’t charge any additional fees? Security would (or should) be improved, and we could all just get on the plane and sit down. I like having the option to carry-on my luggage and skip the check process, but if all or nothing is the way airlines decide to go, I could adapt.
I don’t think this one will (pardon the pun) fly. This feels like a failing airline trying something desperate to get some publicity. Who knows? It could happen unless we make our voices heard by keeping our wallets closed.