NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In a daring move to aid its bottom line, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines has announced that it will begin charging passengers for their carry-on bags. Needless to say, the move has sparked outrage among travelers.
reported Houston-based car blogger and frequent traveler Adam Barrera, 24, as saying that "the overhead space was sacred. Now it's like there's nothing sacred anymore."
His thoughts were mirrored by the editor-in-chief of travel information site JohnnyJet.com, John DiScala, who's never flown Spirit.
quoted him as saying, I would pay $5 for guaranteed space right over my seat, like a locker. But $45?"
Indeed, up to $45 each way is how much
said it will begin charging travelers who pay at the gate for each carry-on bag that doesn't fit under the seat. If they pay in advance, they get charged less -- $30 per carry-on bag.
Spirit's CEO, Ben Baldanza explained that reducing the number of carry-on bags is a good thing. Why? Because it would help empty the aircraft more rapidly, the
reported him as saying. Meanwhile, Spirit's chief operating officer Ken McKenzie said in a statement that its recent actions will "reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve in flight safety and efficiency by speeding up the boarding and deplaning process, all of which ultimately improve the overall customer experience."
"Bring less; pay less. It's simple," McKenzie said with an upbeat tone.
The airline, in fact, is trying to frame the move in a positive light -- by, for example, making references to reductions in check-in baggage fees, concurrent with its announcement of carry-on fees.
Indeed, the Spirit Airlines press release announcing its carry-on fee announcement begins by focusing not so much on the fee itself, but on reductions for its checked-bag fees. "Checked bag fees for "$9 Fare Club" members have been reduced to $15 for domestic flights and $20 for international flights, both a $10 savings compared to non-members," the company said. Consumers can enroll in the $9 Fare Club for an annual membership for $39.95.
The new carry-on bag fee is effective for reservations purchased after April 5, 2010, for travel August 1, 2010, and beyond, and will be available for purchase on or before July 1, 2010. The fee applies to carry-ons to be placed in overhead bins. Personal items that fit under the seat are free.
, in light of all this, we'd like to know how you feel about these new fees. Would you pay an extra $45 for carry-on bags to get on a Spirit Airlines flight? Take our poll below to see what other readers of
think, and don't hesitate to leave a comment.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
Follow TheStreet.com on
and become a fan on
Copyright 2010 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.