When I first heard this story I thought, “oh yes, I get to award another ‘Crazier Than Ryanair‘ medal.” However as I learned more about Spirit Airline’s new carry-on fees, I wonder if it is really all that crazy?
If you have missed it, Spirit Airlines is looking to charge passengers for carry-ons. There has been a lot of coverage of this, but here are the facts of the new carry-on fees:
* They start August 1st, 2010
* Spirit will be the first airline to charge for carry-on bags
* Your one personal item can go under your seat and is free
* It will cost $45 at the airport, $30 online and $20 for club members to have a carry-on in the overhead bin
Is this THAT crazy? Maybe not. If you have flown in the last few years you might have noticed how HUGE passenger’s carry-on bags have become. Three bags and one bin is totally full. It becomes a rush to the airplane to make sure you get space in the overhead bin. These fees would limit the number of people having a carry-on and would probably guarantee space for everyone who wants it.
Weight costs money. Airlines have been looking at ways to offer a basic ticket which will get your body from one destination to another and anything else going with you will cost money. It was only a matter of time before an airline [Ryanair anyone] would try something like this.
People will still pay. Passengers complain about new fees, but when it comes down to it, the fees make airlines a lot of money. Passengers might say they will never pay the carry-on fee, but when they are confronted with Spirit Airlines possibly having the cheapest fares, they don’t think twice. If passengers weren’t willing to pay these fees, airlines wouldn’t have them.
Yesterday Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood voiced his opposition to Spirit’s new fees. “I think it’s a bit outrageous that an airline is going to charge someone to carry on a bag and put it in the overhead. And I’ve told our people to try and figure out a way to mitigate that. I think it’s ridiculous.” FlyersRights.org also voiced their opinion that the government should step in and stop the madness of the airlines.
I am sorry, but this just angers me. The airlines were rightfully deregulated in the United States long ago and run via the free market. If passengers really don’t want to pay the fees, they won’t and Spirit will lose money and change their policies back. Airlines just don’t make up rules and policies in a vacuum that aren’t influenced by customer demand.
Yes, if the fees were not clear and were hidden, I could see the government stepping into make sure an airline was not deceiving passengers, but if you look at Spirit’s website (or been watching the news over the last few days), it is quite obvious what the fees are for.
Personally do I want to pay these fees? Heck no! But if I am flying somewhere and Spirit has the cheapest (even with paying the fees) will I care what my money is paying for? Probably not. It will be very interesting to see how this all works out.Image: vnvlain