Spirit Airlines is introducing bag fees for carry-on bags and in some cases, it will be cheaper to check your bags than carry them on to the plane. The new policy only applies to carry on items that won’t fit underneath a seat. If you have a backpack, laptop or purse that is 16 x 14 x 12″ or smaller, you can bring it on the plane for free. Also exempt are items such as car seats and strollers, reading material, umbrellas, cameras and other personal items. Each passenger is allowed to bring one larger carry-on item (22 x 18 x 10″) for a fee. Members of Spirit Airlines $9 Fare Club will be charged $20 when paying online and non-members will be charged $30 for online payment. Wait until you get to the airport to pay and you’ll be charged $45. The new carry-on fee goes into effect for tickets purchased by July 1 for travel Aug. 1, 2010 and beyond. The fee for checked bags is also changing for $9 Fare Club members on these dates. The first checked bag for domestic flights is being reduced to $15 when paying online ($25 for non-members) and $20 for international flights ($30 for non-members). All fees are for one-way travel. Visit http://www.insideflyer.com/link/?2395 for more information.
Bottom line: Spirit Airlines is the first airline to charge passengers for carry-on items and while no other airlines have announced fees for carry-ons, there has been speculation as to whether these fees will become the norm. Frequent travelers on Spirit Airlines may want to consider joining the $9 Fare Club, which is a complimentary benefit of the FREE SPIRIT MasterCard as long as you make one purchase to your card every month. If you don’t have the FREE SPIRIT MasterCard, membership in the $9 Fare Club is $39.95 per year.