Holy Expensive Carry-on Fees Batman! (Guest Post by Tiff)
I previously wrote about traveling on Spirit Airlines and how I thought they were a good deal *if* you were aware of all extra fees and could avoid them or minimize them as much as possible. I recently went on a quick out-and-back to Baltimore from DFW. My intent was to take no bags and fit everything we needed for 48 hours in a backpack and duffel bag that I could put under our seats so I wouldn’t have to pay baggage or carry-on fees. I noticed on our first flight that to purchase a carry-on bag at the gate Spirit now charges $100. I didn’t get a picture of it since we had some issues getting to the airport and were at the point of running to make sure we made the flight.
I have one duffel bag I’ve used for every flight we’ve taken on Spirit. It fits their “personal bag” size but it has wheels; a nice bonus when I’m traveling with the kids and I can get one of them to pull the bag through the airport. I never had a problem with my bags on a Spirit flight but on the way back to Dallas I noticed many people getting pulled aside being told they were going to be charged the $100 carry-on fee for having a duffel bag with wheels. Every single person wanted to talk to a supervisor before paying the $100. When my son and I went through, sure enough, they told me one of our personal bags counted as a “carry-on” because it had wheels. Never mind I already saw a guy with a much bigger duffel bag get on without a problem only because his bag didn’t have wheels.
I see most people are losing their fight with the Spirit employee who came down to charge everyone their bag fees. I had already run to the closest gift shop to see if they had any bags for sale I could stuff our things into and dump our other bag but no luck. I’m texting my husband who’s on the same wavelength as me and tells me that if they insist I pay the $100 I should try to fit everything into the backpack and leave anything that would be cheaper to replace than pay a $100 bag fee.
When it’s my turn I tell the employee I have used this bag on every Spirit flight I’ve been on (out of three different airports) and have never had to pay a carry-on fee. She asks if it will fit in the “personal” bag measuring device. I tell her yes and promptly put the bag in there. She says okay and tells the gate agent to let me through. I think I was the only one who won that battle since everyone else either had real carry-ons, or their duffel bags stuck up 6 – 12 inches beyond the maximum size for a personal bag and they couldn’t stuff them down to fit because of the wheels.
An interesting thing to note, it seemed out of all these people pulled aside, I was the only one aware of the bag charges for Spirit Airlines. At the very least everyone else feigned ignorance. I wondered how anyone could really not know about the bag fees since Spirit puts it all over their website, tells you when you’re buying your tickets, sends you E-mails asking to purchase bags the week before your fight and asks you again one last time when you check-in online and print your boarding passes and tells you that you will be charged more if you wait to purchase them at the airport or at the gate. The best thing I can come up with is 1) they were pretending not to know so they wouldn’t get charged or 2) these people bought their tickets from a third party (cheaptickets, priceline, or similar) and was not properly informed of the bag fees when buying their tickets through these third party sites.
If someone has bought Spirit through these sites and didn’t have a problem with that, let me know, but that’s the only thing I can come up with why so many people seemed completely unaware of the bag fees on Spirit (or they were merely pretending not to know).
I have at least one more flight on Spirit Airlines that I’ve already bought tickets for to a friend’s wedding in New York this spring (ah-hem). Lesson learned, on that flight I will take personal bags without wheels so I can guarantee I can smush them into their “personal bag measuring device” so (hopefully) I will not have the fear of a $100 carry-on fee again.
Heels First is the travels and tribulations of two twenty-something frequent fliers jumping into the world of travel. Join Keri and Jeanne as they tackle mileage runs, elite status, and of course–the perfect travel accessories.