Spirit Airlines Begins Charging for Carry On Bags. It’s Time to Stop Complaining about It

Spirit Airlines began charging for carry on bags over the weekend, and if you read any articles about it, it would appear that Spirit Airlines ranks somewhere between Bin Laden and Kim Jong Il on the evil scale.  However, all of those articles and complainers (and whining Congressmen) are simply wrong.  Could Spirit do a better job of letting customers who are booking tickets with them know that there are carry on bag fees?  Probably – though it’s pretty clear as you move through the booking path that it’s going to cost you.  But they have hardly shied away from media reports about the new fee, and they post news about it on their homepage.

In reality, they are trying to get people to stop bringing bags on the plane with them (something European lowcost carriers have done for years), and encouraging them to check their luggage.  Yes, it costs between $15 and $30 to check bags.  Yes, that’s annoying if you’re flying Singapore Airlines.  But you’re not.  Spirit is more than upfront about what you’re getting from them (a cheap ticket, and nothing else).  The OTR family just bought tickets to Florida over Christmas, a roundtrip ticket from New York to Ft Lauderdale was $160, tax included.  That was less than half what everyone else is charging.  Throw in the baggage fees, and it’s still much, much cheaper.

You are perfectly free to fly another airline (well, not “free” exactly, as they’ll also be charging you to check bags), but I’m over everyone whining about it.

Bookmark and Share
Did you enjoy this post?
Get the OTR delivered daily to your inbox!
Join the growing community of 7,000+ people who get 1 email per day with all the airline news, credit card stuff, and general nonsense that you've spent 9 years loving from OTR

Enter Email Address

Leave a comment ?


  1. While I’m not in the habit of defending Spirit Airlines (despite the fact that I live in South Fla. I’ve never even flown them.) But the media coverage on this has been a little disingenuous, with almost every major news outlet harping on the $45 carry on fee in their headlines. To be fair to Spirit, it is my understanding you can still take a personal item under the seat for free (i.e. small back pack), if you’re in their 9 cent club you pay $20 for larger carrry-ons, non members pay $30 as long as they do it on line or at the ticket counter. The only folks who will pay $45 will be those who insist on taking their oversized bags to the gate. But you wouldn’t know this from the news articles (who also rarely mention you may check bags for less.) I agree with Jared, stop complaining and make a choice as to whether Spirit or another carrier is best for you. And, media, be fair, $45 will be the exception not the rule. (Why would anyone drag his carry-on through security in order to pay the higher fee?)

  2. All this is well and good, and I don’t mind checking a bag…in fact I actually prefer it…but the last time I checked a bag with Spirit it went missing for four days! It had only been left in Myrtle Beach (where I departed) and no one at Spirit Air could seem to get it to me in Atlantic City NJ, a mere 1 hour flight away. So much for me ever checking a bag with them again! But yeah- it’s the airline we love to hate :) It’s always way cheaper. Do the math people.

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Switch to our mobile site