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Allegiant Air Announces Carry-On Baggage Fees, Because They Can

April 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM | by | ()

2012 has been one sad disappointment after another when it comes to Allegiant Air. The Las Vegas-based LCC started the year by teasing a huge announcement that got everyone excited about potential Hawaii service, only to unveil some underwhelming routes into and out of Oakland. Then they got tagged by the Department of Transportation for cheating on DOT's new price advertising rules, which are supposed to include all government taxes and which capped years of work on, among other things, hidden baggage fees.

In what feels like kind of a petulant followup, Allegiant just announced that they're going to start charging for carry-on bags. Passengers who prepay online will have to pay $10 to use the overhead bin, while travelers who wait until the airport will get hit with a $35 charge.

There are undoubtedly some fundamental dynamics driving the policy. Passengers are adjusting to checked baggage fees, and so airlines are seeing less and less revenue from that stream. Companies are digging in for a really brutal year as oil prices cut into airline industry profits, and Allegiant is uniquely at risk because they have one of the most fuel-inefficient fleets in the country.

But mostly we like to imaging this as a very extended temper tantrum: "if you want us to be blunt about what we're charging, enjoy!" We especially appreciate how Allegiant rolled out the tried-and-true Ryanair-esque argument that you'll fly with them anyway because they're cheaper than your alternatives. It's insanely obnoxious, but still somehow less grating than the Spirit Air talking point that you like carry-on fees.

Whatever the reason, we're growing increasingly skeptical about that new "heavyweight" government panel that's supposed to reduce airline fees, inasmuch as it seems like the industry is moving in the exact opposite direction.

[Photo: FRED / Wiki Commons]

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