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Making a Federal Case out of Spirit’s Carryon Bag Fee

April 14, 2010 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,News

spirit carryon bag fee

Do we really need to do this?

Do we need to make a federal case out of Spirit’s new and generally hated carryon bag fee? Because that’s what’s happening.

You probably heard that two U.S. Senators – Benjamin Cardin of Maryland and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana – have introduced legislation that would ban airlines from charging a carryon fee. And goodness knows Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has been making some noise, growling about passengers “getting nickel and dimed by an airline company”.

And of course, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called this fee, “ridiculous”.

Let’s take a closer look at this proposed legislation: According to Bloomberg, it “would assure that items essential to people’s health, work and safety can be carried on board without extra fees”, and require advance notice of special fees for checked items.

I just visited the Spirit website, and the new carryon fee is pretty hard to miss. As far as those “essential items” the website says in addition to a carryon bag, passengers can bring “a personal item (such as a purse, briefcase, or laptop computer) on board at no charge.” It would seem to me that’s enough for say, medications and the like – but I know my readers will tell me if it’s not.

So what do you think - do we need this legislation?

6 Responses to “Making a Federal Case out of Spirit’s Carryon Bag Fee”

  1. William Beem says:

    I think the intent is to ensure customers know all of the costs at the time they purchase a ticket. All of these add-on fees are really soaking the customers. The airlines say it reduces ticket prices, but that’s a blatant lie. Prices keep climbing higher and so do the additional fees.

  2. Rick Seaney says:


    I think those who aren’t aware of the Spirit carryon fee at this point, just aren’t paying attention; but yes, memories fade and people will need timely reminders.


  3. Kirby says:

    I read that the Senators are using the argument that the new fees avoid the 7.5% tax that the government collects on fares. Spirit did say that they reduced fares to offset the new fees. A question I have is how will they decide what carryon items will cost and which will be free? If I bring a free duffel bag that will fit under the seat, then I put it in the overhead bin, will I have to pay?

  4. rainyb says:

    Spirit’s carryon fee is discriminatory towards women who always have a purse, so that would be their free carryon limit, period. They can’t have a laptop bag or any other bag for their ‘allowed’ meds ??

    And until airlines (read airports) can assure me that my valuable items like electronics & camera won’t be stolen or damaged, I will want to take those on board with me. If I’m a woman, I can’t, unless I have a huge purse.

    Even after the strict carryon restrictions after the January incident, I saw men with ‘allowed’ lap top bags that were quite large & had other items in there. They got through just fine.

    I came along with a small (child sized) backpack with my tiny netbook in there plus my meds & electronics & camera, AND I put my med sized purse in there so I had only one carryon.

    The backpack was NOT allowed, period. I had to empty it & stuff my pockets & purse & I had to put a few things in my checked bag, which they retrieved. Only my tiny netbook in its case was allowed.

    Those restrictions have eased, but the current rules still discriminate against women with purses. grrrrrrrrr

  5. Rick Seaney says:


    Thanks for the first-person update – maybe you’ll save someone else some pain.


  6. Olen Soifer says:

    Don’t stick up for this airline unless you’ve actually dealt with them. The last time I flew spirit, the plane was filthy and the crew seemed overworked and exhausted. And, as for them boldly displaying the carryon fee…that is because they knew they would be blasted if they didn’t. Until this incident, it was pretty darned hard to figure out all of the addon fees because they were either in tiny print or hidden on some other page. They have the nerve to advertise one penny flights…as if anyone, any way, could ever fly for a penny.

    This company reminds me of my localAcme market, part of Albertsons I think, which often doubles prices and advertises two for one sales. But, I suppose plenty of people are gullible enough to fall for this crap.

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