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Spirit Airlines Raises Baggage Fees Again, Screws Over Passengers

March 30, 2011 at 10:16 AM | by | ()

What does a little last-minute packing mean to you? Maybe a forgotten toothbrush, or that you have to call a cab versus taking public transportation to the airport. For Spirit Airlines, your last-minute packing means dollar signs in their eyes, because they've just upped their baggage fees.

According to CNN, Spirit will now charge extra for those who wait to pay for their checked or carry-on luggage until within 24 hours of departure. If your within 24 hours of your flight and you go online to Spirit's website to pay, it'll be an extra $5. If you freak out and call Spirit on the phone to pay, it's an extra $10. Here's the complete chart of what's owed when, if you're flying Spirit with anything more than a little purse:

For carry-ons, you'll be paying:
· $30 if you're paying online; $35 if you're paying online within 24 hours
· $30 if you're paying over the phone; $40 if you're paying online within 24 hours
· $20 online if you're a Spirit Club member (membership costs $$); $25 if you're paying within 24 hours
· $45 at the airport no matter who you are.

For your first checked bag, you'll be paying:
· $28 online for domestic/$33 international; $33 online within 24 hours for domestic/$38 international
· $28 if you're paying over the phone/$33 international; $38 domestic within 24 hours/$43 international
· $18 online for Spirit Club members on domestic/$23 international (membership costs $$); $23 online within 24 hours for Spirit Club domestic/$33 international
· $45 at the airport no matter who you are

*If you'd like to see the fees for bags after your first checked one, please go here.

These fee changes effect travelers who booked Spirit flights on or after March 24, 2011.

Now here's why these fees are making Spirit Airlines devilishly grin today: because the flyers they will impact the most are the least with it. Obviously you are with it because you're reading this news right now, but you know who likely isn't? Your mom. Your grandfather. Your teenage cousin. Your local church group. Maybe even your best friend if you don't forward them the news. Let's face it; not everyone reads the fine print or Googles "Spirit baggage fees" when they book a cheap airline ticket, and that's what Spirit banks on.

It's our belief that ever since Spirit instituted carry-on baggage fees last year and lost a huge number of potential travelers because of it—travelers who know better—that they've been sailing on the strength of their inane airfare "sales" referencing pop culture and those flyers who book the cheapest deals on the likes of Expedia and Orbitz and then don't go through with Googling an airline's extra fees.

That means they're showing up at the airport with one or two checked bags, a carry-on and the thought that everything is hunky-dory, just before Spirit breaks them down into sobbing messes handing over a credit card for $128 one-way in fees ($45 for carry-on paid at gate, $38 for the first checked bag at the airport and $45 for the second checked bag at the airport). And let's not even talk about if they're flying international.

It's official. Spirit Airlines has succeeded in being worse with fees than European low-cost carrier Ryanair.

[Photo: Willamoor Media]

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