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Kai Ryssdal: Raise your hand if you’ve about had it with all those add-on airline fees. And then brace yourself for another one. The Florida-based low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines is going to start charging for carry-on bags come August. If it fits under the seat in front of you, you’re fine — no charge. But if you have to put it up in the overhead bin, it’s going to cost you up to $45.
Marketplace’s Jeremy Hobson has more.
JEREMY HOBSON: Spirit was the first U.S. airline to charge for checked bags. Now almost all of them do.
Seth Kaplan of Airline Weekly says that doesn’t necessarily mean all carriers will follow Spirit’s lead when it comes to carry-ons.
SETH KAPLAN: Other airlines tend to market themselves as a combination of service-oriented and also value-oriented. Spirit really markets themselves as cheap.
Which is why you can buy a Spirit ticket for as little as $31, even though you may be nickel-and-dimed right up to the cost of a rival’s fare when you add in all the extra fees.
But Kaplan says Spirit, beware: not every cost-saving measure goes over well with the passengers.
KAPLAN: United planned to charge for meals on transatlantic flights out of Dulles, but they had to pull back after backlash from consumers.
But some industry watchers think there are legitimate reasons for a carry-on fee.
Webster O’Brien is an airline consultant with SH&E.
WEBSTER O’BRIEN: I think those overhead bins are just getting fuller, and so there’s a need to figure out how do we manage a limited resource.
Or how do we fliers look for loopholes? Perhaps it’s time to buy a big coat or an Abe Lincoln style hat to store iPods and mini toiletries on flights. Even Spirit isn’t charging for wearing luggage… yet.
In New York, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.
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