no hitch with carry
FILE In this file photo taken June 13, 2010, a Spirit Airlines airplane sits on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit Airlines passengers may want to get to the airport a little earlier than normal Sunday as a new fee on carry on bags takes effect. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Share PhotoFILE In this file photo taken June 13, 2010, a Spirit Airlines airplane sits on the tarmac at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Spirit Airlines passengers may want to get to the airport a little earl hermes uk ier than normal Sunday as a new fee on carry on bags takes effect. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
Spirit Airlines’ controversial carry on fees took effect Sunday, catching some customers unhappily by surprise. But the low fare carrier contends that the move will cut down on flight delays, potentially allowing Spirit to add new flights.
Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the new approach already appears to be working. “The check in process is going well so far,” Pinson said Sunday afternoon. “It looks like this is going to speed things up.”
Samantha Robles, 22, who was getting ready to check in for a flight at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, called the new charges “ridiculous.” After finding out about the carry on fees at the airport, she said she checked her suitcase because it was cheaper than paying for a carry on. Robles said she would probably not fly Spirit again.
Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza admitted the company has received “an understandable numb hermes uk er of complaints,” mostly from people who don’t realize that Spirit’s ticket prices have been lowered. Spirit has cut fares overall, in some cases by more than enough to offset the cost of a carry on bag.
“I think what we’ll find is over the next weeks and months as this program evolves, and more and more people understand it, that people will hermes uk see that the trade off is a really good one,” he said on Sunday. “Not everyone will think that, and those people may choose to fly someone else, but they’ll likely pay more for their total travel than they will on Spirit.”
Since airlines started charging for checked luggage, more flyers have brought carry on bags on board. Spirit’s new fee hermes uk the first in the industry is aimed at discouraging passengers from stuffing the overhead bins because it often takes extra time to get bags settled and gate check those that won’t fit onboard.
Spirit is charging $30 at check in for any bag that’s too big to fit under the seat. The price goes up to $45 for passengers who wait until they get to the boarding gate to pay, another step aimed at saving time. Members of Spirit’s special fare club will only pay $20 for a carry on. Umbrellas, camera bags, strollers and car seats are among the items that will remain free of charge.
Airlines have been able to wring extra profits from new fees over the past few years, charging for checked bags, extra legroom and refreshments. Spirit, based in Miramar, Fla., says it does not expect to profit from carry on fees directly because price cuts have offset fee gains. But Pinson said that by shaving 6 or 7 minutes off the time that it takes to load and unload a plane, Spirit hopes to be able to add more flights.
The Spirit terminal in Fort Lauderdale was mostly calm as passengers checked in. One couple could be seen going through two large suitcases, trying to make room for items they were taking out of a duffle bag. Another man, after being told he’d have to pay to carry his bag, rushed to the ticket counter to check the carry on and make the flight.