Are fees for carry-on luggage just the beginning?

Would you like a ticket with your fee?
Since Allegiant Air’s decision to start charging passengers for carry-on luggage last week, you’d think that everything needed to be said about this outrageous new fee had already been said.

Maybe not.

Just in case you missed it, Allegiant began charging for carry-ons April 4, billing passengers $35 for each bag they bought on the plane. It joins Spirit Airlines, which introduced fees for carry-ons in 2010.

Allegiant didn’t bother making a public announcement or even justifying the fee, and the ease with which the surcharge was accepted by the flying public will probably have other airline execs thinking, “Hey, why don’t we do that?”

Air travelers are unhappy, of course. No one wants to pay yet another fee, and especially one that can only be avoided by traveling luggage-less. I asked Jim Daniel, one of my regular readers, for a reaction. He simply said, “I hate flying.”

Let’s not dwell on the present, but the future. Allegiant is a small carrier and so is Spirit, and we still have a choice in airlines. I mean, if we want a bag included in our fare (please don’t call it a “free” bag, because nothing is free) we can still fly on Southwest or JetBlue.

And for now, at least, the “legacy” airlines aren’t charging to carry on luggage, allowing passengers to bring their XL suitcases on board to get around their luggage fees. That’s absurd in its own way.

It took 20 months for the contagion of carry-on fees to spread from Spirit to Allegiant. How long will it take to jump to a bigger airline — say, US Airways? Also, what kind of new fees will airlines come up with to boost their all-important “ancillary” revenues?

We can see glimpses of the future right now, in airlines like Ryanair, the highly profitable and fee-obsessed Irish carrier.

RyanAir has a few fees you’ve probably never heard of. They include an “administration fee” for paying by credit card, a priority boarding fee, a reserved seating fee a boarding card fee, and an online check-in fee. How do I know this? RyanAir’s own site publishes a handy guide to avoiding its own fees, which apparently looks a lot easier than it actually is, because the airline makes buckets of money from these charges.

Spirit and Allegiant are doing their best to copy Ryanair, but they’ve also come up with a few innovations of their own. The most notable is Spirit’s $9 fare club, a clever scheme that offers special reduced fares in exchange for an annual fee that’s considerably higher than $9. Worse, the membership auto-renews whether you want to or not. Think of it as your airline offering a “free” credit report.

The true innovators are the ones that are able to change an entire industry forever. When American Airlines began charging for the first checked bag several years ago, the rest of the major airlines followed quickly. Although American is now in bankruptcy, it hasn’t given up its search for new fees. I believe the sharpest minds in the ancillary fee world work at American, and the changes we’ll see — and we will probably see them soon — will surprise even the seasoned air traveler.

Airlines like American are developing sophisticated new technologies that delivers a more “personalized” flying experience, and that personalization also applies to the fees you’ll pay. Instead of a “one size fits all” fare, it might offer you one price, with certain markups and optional fees; and it might offer me a different fare with different fees.

It’s like the shopkeeper selling trinket at the old Middle Eastern bazaar — “for you, special price!” — scaled up. Brilliant, isn’t it?

If an airline as innovate and unafraid of alienating its customers as American gets acquired by and airline as opportunistic and unafraid of alienating its customers as US Airways, there’s no telling what kind of fees are in our future. But I’m pretty certain about one thing: It would get really complicated really soon.

Maybe we’ll look back on stories like Allegiant’s carry-on fee announcement with nostalgia someday. Ah, remember when airline tickets were still simple?

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Raven_Altosk

    Yup, they are just the beginning. 

    Just wait until a family headed to my least fave domestic airport (MCO) tries to save a few bucks and buys Delta’s Bare Bones fare. When they attempt to get seats together, they can’t, pax don’t want to switch, and then we will see some interesting letters.

    Or worse, an FA attempts to placate the screaming entitled family on their way to drop a few grand at Di$ney and makes someone else give up their pre-booked or “extra legroom” seat. Where’s that pax’s refund? Certainly not in the FA’s pocket and we all know how fast airlines like to part with cash they’ve taken from you.

    Airlines need to worry less about fees and more about the consequences of said fees. Why should an FA be saddled with trying to keep the peace when people buy cheap fares and expect the world to cater to them?

    If they do start charging for carry ons will the gate agents actually enforce it? Or you know, will we still see people dragging on too-big rollaboards and claiming it’s “medical” or “infant care?”  (The only two exceptions to the carry on fee, as I can understand it from Spirit’s website)

  • emanon256

    I voted no, but only because I think checked baggage fees were just the beginning we are well into it now. 
    I personally will never fly Spirit or Allegiant, however there are enough people that do, that they simply get away with these fees.  What’s more annoying to me is that people want everything to be as cheap as possible, so they pay the cheap prices, fly the cheap airlines, and that keeps encouraging this type of behavior by the airlines.  Then there is what Raven said, they are only willing to pay the cheapest fare, but then demand the highest level of service.  It’s simply ridiculous on all ends.

  • Cybrsk8r

    When an American Airlines jet blew two tires at DCA recently, I joked about a new “tire fee”.  Maybe that joke wasn’t so funny after all.

  • emanon256

    Apparently rental car companies already have that one covered:

  • TonyA_says

    Airlines is a really lousy business compared to Apple. Apple’s market cap (approx $600B) is larger than all the worlds airlines combined (approx $570B). Ancillary Revenue is now a $32B ‘industry phenomena’ and growing. How else will airlines charge you more without increasing fares during times when the cost of oil is perilously rising? Get used to it.

  • BillCCC

    I’d say we were past the beginning. As long as consumers continue to pay the companies will continue to charge. The only way to avoid the fees is to stop using the companies that charge them.  A business responds to the market.

  • SoBeSparky

    Just the beginning of what?  

    Everything seems to go in cycles, and today is a wide swing into the nickel-and-dime category.  Just wait until a year or two from now, when an airline (maybe American?) wants to offer “Simple Saver Fares.”  For those who remember airline pricing history, they did it once before, and it worked, for a while.  Simplified pricing!

    So soon we will find the bundled fare, just like a bundled phone bill.  You can buy the combination of carry-ons, two checked bags, advanced seat assignment all for one low price.  Viola!  A “new” product is born, which is the same old thing, of course..

  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    I think I’ve gotten jaded to all the fees. As an ENTJ rationale, I’m interested in the bottom line. As long as the fees are well disclosed up front, I can gauge whether it’s worth it to fly a fee-hungry but ultimately cheaper airline. In many cases, these will still be cheaper than the legacy airlines, but I can definitely see the entire process getting more irritating… 10 years in SE Asia has gotten me used to the bazaar mentality. Game ON!

  • Miami510

    Avarice Knows No Bounds
    Toilets:  Just in case, I’m taking lots of quarters with me on future flights.
    Ticketing by Weight:  Fatties will have to cough up more to fly.
    That eliminates those new jackets with 45 pockets.
    Infrequent Flyer Program:  There will be a surcharge for infrequent flyers to offset the cost to the airlines of their frequent flyer programs.  The will not result in lower fees for frequent flyers, but an extra charge for the infrequent flyer.
    Carry-In-Charge:  Those attempting to avoid the charge for meals by bringing sandwiches and drinks aboard will have to pay a surcharge.
    Be prepared.

  • emanon256

    The next new Apple innovation, the Apple iPlane. Revolutionizing the aircraft industry!
    My biggest regret, several years ago my Aunt asked me if she should by stock in Apple for her retirement.  It was $100 a share, I told her she should but warned her it could be risky.  I’m not much of a gambler.  I thought about it myself, but decided buying $100 a share stock was too risky.  If only I had bought some.

  • Kotch11

    I hope the other airlines follow suit on large carry-ons.  I am so tired of watching people try to get those into overheads and hitting me while I’m trying to get my little bitty bag down. If they had to pay or put in checked bags, maybe we could load quicker.

  • BMG4ME

    Unlike fees for checked bags, this is a fee that actually makes sense.  People should be allowed to carry on a personal bag for free, and charged for anything above that.  That will make the boarding process much quicker and will stop the problem that charging for checked bags has caused, i.e. everyone bringing things onboard to avoid the fees.  This charge is good – and abolish the checked bags fees.  Frequent travelers that know what fits overhead won’t be charged (as elite members) and that’s OK because they are not the ones causing the delays.

    As for RyanAir, I recently took part in a case study about them.  The reason they charge for everything is that they have made flying affordable for the average British traveler.  They are Southwest taken to the extreme.  Furthermore, they started off trying to offer great service and not charging for everything, but British Airways and Aer Lingus made sure that stopped by undercutting them to the extend they could no longer fly profitably.  It was only when RyanAir cut everything to bare bones that they could be profitable.  If they did not charge for everything then they would not exist and flying in the UK and Ireland would once again be only for those with lots of money.

  • Crissy

    Yes, and the airlines did it to themselves.  They made a fee to check a bag and now everyone want to just bring a carryon.  Now they need to find a solution to that problem because it slows down the boarding process making for a longer turnover of a plane.  Plus, they can make more money this way.

  • LadySiren

    Your (awesome) thoughts are more a commentary on passenger’s entitlement issues than on the airlines themselves, no? Too bad you hit the nail on the head. :(

  • Charlie Funk

    Lavatory “convenience fees” on short haul flights seem almost a foregone conclusion.  The up side – look for complimentary salty snacks and beverages on those flights.

  • Chasmosaur

    “Infrequent Flyer Program:  There will be a surcharge for infrequent flyers to offset the cost to the airlines of their frequent flyer programs.  The will not result in lower fees for frequent flyers, but an extra charge for the infrequent flyer. ”

    Never gonna happen, but that really made me laugh,

  • Chasmosaur

    There’s an opportunity for an “apples to oranges” statement in here somewhere….but that’s low-hanging fruit ;)

    (It’s morning.  I need food and caffeine…)

  • cjr001

    Everybody loves to talk about how individuals are supposedly entitled, but why is there no discussion about how the airlines feel entitled to shaking down their customers at every opportunity in the name of profit?

  • frostysnowman

    Coin slot (or credit card slot) in the armrest so that you can recline your seat.

  • othermike27

     And they’ll fine you every time you slam the door…

    But it ain’t just Maggie’s farm no more 

  • MikeInCtown

    As someone who looked into flying Spirit after your column last week, I can agree that the $9 fare club is misdirection in advertisement at best. By the name of the title you are led to believe that the club costs $9 to join. Additionally, their “trial” for $20 can’t be used for the reservations you are about to make, they can only be used for future ones. So why bother? $60 a year? Well I guess if you live in one of the major cities they serve and travel very often it can make sense. I priced a vegas trip from Chicago for $60 R/T which is crazy IMHO. Too bad I don’t live anywhere near Chicago!

    As for the carryon fee, I think it is needed in some cases because people attempt to bring luggage that should be checked on board. The airline needs to better police their own policies, however. As long as I can bring a backpack and slide it under a seat to avoid the fee, I’ll do just fine. For other excursions, I’ll fly Southwest.

  • Office_Bob

    Be careful; if you’re carrying too many quarters for the toilet it might tip you into the next higher weight bracket… ;-)

  • Mary Ramsey

    I will pay fees as long as the airline is still worth it.
    If virgin america wants me to pay a ‘oxygen fee’ i will pay it, because they are a good airline.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    People will accept fees if they see themselves getting something extra for them. That’s why economy versus first/business class has always worked well…it’s crystal clear what the advantages are. It’s when the extra benefits are dubious/unclear that people get mad. Like you had to pay extra to sit by your traveling companion just because the airline wanted to do it that way, or you paid extra for a carry-on but the lady next to you has a “purse” the size of a small suitcase and didn’t have to pay.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    That new flying car looks like something Apple would design!

  • Asiansm Dan

    I speculate the measure will initiate a legislation or government rule to make the airlines include a certain amount of Luggage Allowances in the ticket price. If the industry cannot regulate themselves, the government will do it. May be it’s more logic and fair to sell an Airlines ticket by the Total WEIGHT traveling (passenger weight+Checked luggage+Carry on) and it will very attractive to advertise the “very low price of one pound traveling from A to B”.
    And the fuel surcharge, I really don’t understand why it’s separated from the ticket price, because I don’t see any circumstance passengers are exempt of the fuel surcharge (may be in case of somebody traveling on 2 seats).

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Ryanair in Europe did charge for toilets for a while, as I recall. Don’t think they did the free food, though!

  • Lindabator

    As long as passengers will do ANYTHING to save $5 bucks, the airlines will think of new ancillary fares – and we can only blame ourselves for it.

  • reasonedthought

    And one for the person behind you to prevent you from reclining.  The highest bidder wins!  

  • Michael__K

    give up their pre-booked or “extra legroom” seat. Where’s that pax’s refund?

    You never had any rights to your pre-booked seat or to any refund if you failed to get it.

  • emanon256

    Delta now offers a special lower priced fare if you don’t want pre-assigned seats.  So while it originally means people pay less if they don’t care about where they sit, it will soon be spun into “Delta is Charging Extra for Seat Assignments!”  Just like when airlines dropped the price of tickets across the board and started charging for checked bags, it was quickly spun into “The airlines are charging extra for checked bags.”
    Though I think the CoC still states seat assignments are never guaranteed.  But if they are going to offer a reduced price to people who don’t want pre-assigned seats, I think they better offer better protection to people who do pay for pre-assigned seats.

  • emanon256

    Tray Table fee, you must insert a quarter for every hour you with to use the tray table.  If you forget it slams back up and breaks you laptop.

  • Dick Jordan

    Does Allegiant charge $35 for any sized carry-on bag (e.g., laptop, day pack, purse) or just 22″ or larger rolling bags?  Does it charge less for checked bags than for carry-ons as a way to “encourage” passengers to check luggage?

  • Raven_Altosk

    I think you misunderstand.

    Let’s say I book a flight and select a specific aisle seat. Along comes someone who booked a fare that doesn’t guarantee a seat location. And lo and behold, this person is part of a family with a small child. The child is given the middle next to me, and the parents are seated in middles across the airplane.
    Parents being parents are going to expect me and the window seat pax to move to accomodate them.

    So, therefore, they booked a seat that has no pre-assignment. They were unhappy, and now they are going to inconveinece me, the FA, and the window seat pax because they wanted to save a few bucks.

    But wait, they’re not done! They will send a nasty email to Chris or get on a news station claiming that the airline “hates” children and “discriminates” against families.

    Therefore, as someone who BOOKED the aisle at the time of purchase, I have a right to that seat–not some miserable middle near the toliet.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Just wait til the first family headed to Di$ney buys these tickets and can’t sit next to each other.

    Just wait…

  • judyserienagy

    I notice that my airline-branded credit cards entitle me to free bags etc.  Haven’t had to test the system yet as I usually fly on upgrades.  Little doubt that the airlines are having a ball sitting around and thinking up new fees to charge their passengers.  All one can do is avoid flying the gougers as long as possible.

  • Michael__K

    if they are going to offer a reduced price to people who don’t want pre-assigned seats, I think they better offer better protection to people who do pay for pre-assigned seats.


    I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that they won’t.

  • Michael__K

    I think you misunderstand.  You never had any right to that pre-assigned seat.  (Which airline’s contract of carriage should I cite)?

    You’re complaining about other people’s sense of entitlement and their self promotion, but it appears that you have a big sense of entitlement yourself to something which the contract says you have absolutely no entitlement to.

    BTW, that “someone” who comes along could be a handicapped person or their caregiver, in which case the airline could be violating the law if they didn’t move you or one of your fellow passengers.

  • dsliesse

    I agree that there is no right to a pre-assigned seat, but in the situation described I have to agree with Raven.  If someone comes along later who’s shopping solely on price, they can take their assigned seats and lump it.

    There’s no “right” to affordable flights, either.  If someone’s basing purchases solely on price, they can take what they get or hit the highway.

    As far as the handicapped traveler goes, the situation is a little stickier.  However, I’m tired of the belief that everyone needs to bend over backwards to accommodate everyone else who has a problem of whatever degree.  Quite honestly, a very small percentage of travelers need to book a flight for immediate travel; with some advance planning, this doesn’t become an issue.  (I do acknowledge that my argument doesn’t hold water during irregular operations — but that’s why they’re called irregular operations.)

  • emanon256

    I won’t take your bet because I bet you’re right!

  • emanon256

    Except the airline marketed it as: Pay more for a pre-assigned seat, pay less and get whatever is left.

  • Rose Arnold

    Airlines, banks, what’s the difference?

  • Rose Arnold

    Jetway crossing fee.

    EZ Pass for airline travel: Swipe your card before reclining your seat, pulling up your tray or armrest.  One for opening the lavatory door and one swipe per pull on the toilet paper.  Each call for a flight attendant requires one swipe. 

  • y_p_w

    They backed off of those I believe.  I’m not sure it would be legal though.  I’m guessing they got their idea from this 1987 Alaska Airlines commercial:

  • Sunnykm

    A personal item such as purse, laptop or backpack which fits under the seat is free. Rollaboards and other pieces are charged for overhead bin space. And Chris misstates the price. A trip from my home airport to Las Vegas includes a per segment charge of $13 for the overhead bin and $19.99 for for a checked bag per segment.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    They are not required by law to move people with pre-assigned seats to accommodate the disabled/caregivers. That doesn’t mean they won’t still ask if you’d like to switch seats, but they cannot force you to do so.  

    The disabled have until 24 hours prior to the flight to make seating requests and those requests must be granted–caregivers get to sit by the person, moveable armrest rows to aid in access, bulkhead seating for certain conditions, etc. If they miss the 24 hour cutoff, the airlines still must comply if possible, but they aren’t compelled to move people who already have seat assignments.

  • Steve_in_WI

    I disagree with you because Spirit and Allegiant are not only charging for the carry-on bag, but also for the first checked bag – in essence, what they’re saying is that if you need to bring more than a personal item on your trip (which I assume 99%+ of passengers do) you have to pay extra. I have defended the legacy airlines time and again for charging for checked baggage because I believe a significant percentage of travelers can and do get by with just a carry-on for short trips; when you start talking about charging for everything beyond a personal item, it gets a bit ridiculous.

    If the program was set up so that carry-ons incurred a fee but one checked bag was included in the base fare, I would see your point. (Though as someone who has had a bag completely lost by an airline – not just delayed – I still prefer to carry-on rather than check bags if at all possible. And I’m not one of those people who tries to sneak on with a bigger-than-allowed carry-on bag either).

  • Steve_in_WI

    I have a hard time figuring out who Allegiant’s target market is. From what I’ve seen, their prices are not typically the cheapest even without factoring in the booking fee, reservation fee, etc. They tend to fly to and from secondary airports, which may be a plus for some people, but I don’t really see the benefit of that in markets where major airports are still close. Plus they often fly to a destination only 2-3 times per week. I’ve priced their fares from Rockford and Appleton numerous times and I have yet to see a scenario that would make me even consider Allegiant on price alone.

    At least Spirit seems to offer base fares that are truly eye-catching. When I was pricing tickets from ORD to LAS about four weeks in advance of my trip, there were Spirit flights for under $100 round-trip (base). I can understand why inexperienced travelers would fall for those, or why someone on an extreme budget would roll the dice and try Spirit. Allegiant I don’t really understand.

  • Joe

    This is ridiculous, but until consumers start boycotting the airlines with excessive fees, they’re just going to keep charging them.

  • Sunnykm

    I fly Allegiant two to three times a year. They are an inexpensive airline you know what you are getting — a seat.

    I’m not surprised they are now charging for carry on bags as it has gotten ridiculous the amount and size of carry ons now being dragged on board. This goes for all the airlines not just Allegiant. It slows the boarding process and the checked at the gate bags are also going to become an issue.

    Water seeks its own level and air travelers have found a way around the baggage fee. The unintended consequences of the fee has made overhead bin space a commodity.

  • flip44

    This is the time for bold and creative thinking.  Chris, with your vast influence, how about starting a day a month ‘no one flies.’ A reverse “occupy” movement. And the angry fliers should bombard the airlines with email complaints, by the thousands! Shake them up!
    I have been working on, and will now expand and perfect, my long trench style coat with a multitude of pockets, and fisherman’s vest. (They are getting popular, but are expensive: make your own). I already have gotten my carry-on luggage to a minimum. Take only what you need to wear for two days,then wash them when you get there. You can also buy clothes at your destination; jeans for ten bucks at Kmart, etc.
    They can’t disallow women to carry a purse (giant size) and a large ‘messenger bag’ for men. 
    Sadly, it’s the way of the world. However, we are in an era of fighting back. 
    “I’m mad and I’m not going to take this any more!”

  • Michael__K

    Except that whenever someone comes to Chris and expects an airline to deliver what it marketed, the wolves here ridicule them for not understanding what the contract states.

  • Michael__K

    Disabled pax and caregivers sometimes happen to be on cancelled flights.

    Also, flyers (especially those with status) sometimes assign themselves bulkhead seats > 24 hrs in advance.

  • Raven_Altosk

    But if I have paid $59 extra to sit in that seat, I deserve a refund on the spot if I have to give it up.

    Also, if someone who has a “caregiver” wants to gamble with a “bare bones” fare that doesn’t give a seat assignment, that’s THEIR problem, not mine. I’ve paid to select my seat and therefore should be able to keep it.

  • frostysnowman

    Airlines should be policing that better right now. 

  • Raven_Altosk

    I remember a news segment from 5 or 6 years ago when I was commuting to South Carolina. Allegiant had started doing business at GSP and one local who had fewer teeth than fingers was on the news crying that Allegiant had ripped her off.

    HOW had Allegiant ripped her off? Well, she was taking her brood to Di$ney and booked tickets with them to Orlando. Except, the toothless wonder didn’t realize that the tickets were for Orlando-Sanford, not MCO. So, when they got off the plane, they had to rent a car as there was no “magical express.”

    Allegiant paid this moron’s car rental bill in an effort to show good customer service. But, since when is customer stupidity the fault of the airline?

  • random_observation_source

    There already is a higher price alternative for getting you from point A to point B… it is called First Class.  The trick will be to convince everyone that buying first class seats makes you hip and cool :)

  • Michael__K

    No, it’s not THEIR problem, it’s the AIRLINE’s problem to obey the law.  It’s not THEIR problem that the AIRLINE decided to make an empty promise to YOU that it knew it wasn’t necessarily capable of keeping.

    Sad how we let the airlines pit us against each other as passengers while we forget who set up the ground rules that allow you to pay $59 for an empty promise with no recourse to recover that if you don’t receive what you expected.

  • Dick Jordan

    If I understand you correctly, it would be cheaper to check your rollaboard suitcase than to carry it onto the plane.

  • LadySiren

    Oh, don’t get me wrong – I think the airlines are being greedy and shortsighted…this will come back and eventually bite them in the butt. That being said, I do think too many people think of themselves as special little snowflakes deserving of special treatment.

  • TonyA_says

     call it the iClass

  • Chasmosaur

    News to me.  I’ve been bumped from bulkhead several times without anyone asking me.  I’ve given up even trying to select them and stick to aisle seats.

    The killer is, I select them because I have joint disease in my hips.  More than one doctor has said I could qualify for handicapped seating if I choose.  I feel I’m mobile enough…

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    If you paid extra for a prebooked seat or any special seat then you should get a refund if the prebooked seat isn’t honored.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    That’s one I might actually not mind paying. lol

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    You make out airlines in general make bukets loads of cash. In fact, they are one of the worst businesses to invest in, unless you have something new.

    Most legacy carriers around the world are going broke & many will not be with us in a few years.

    Allegiant boss, says (in Airways magazine article Jan 2012 think it was) that their average fare has dropped to USD$80, with $40 in extras, but they could sell $120 fares including the extras !!!

    Ryanair’s idea to charge for using toilets on aircraft is a good one. By doing this people will think to go beforehand & so they can take out some of onboard toilets & put more seats on aircraft.

    Also, charging per pound or kilgramme is another great idea.

    When it comes down to it, we’re all just freight.

    With fuel costs going through the roof, if airlines don’t think up new charges, there will simply be less airlines & less competition means higher fares, it’s really that simple, so stop complaining about it.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Okay, once again – coming late to the party…

    As I read this, I’m reminded of a family who flew on the same flight as I once.  In their manic need to avoid a luggage fee, Mom, Dad and their three kids ALL had two small suitcases.  Add to that their stroller and Mom’s purse, it was a nightmare.  They took up two overhead bins and made it a challenge for those of us who boarded after them.

    Frankly, I don’t like to be encumbered at the airport in case I have a short layover and need to rush to get to my next flight.

    Finally, does this apply to JUST carryon suitcases and bags or am I to expect to pay for both my purse AND my laptop/camera bag?  Never in a million years am I checking my laptop and camera and I shouldn’t be expected to pay to carry it on, either.

    Seems they might have a nice little racket going here and I’m sure they won’t give it up in a hurry, much like the Mafia and Prohibition.  If there’s money to be made, they’ll find a way to do it.

  • Sunnykm

    No it is $13 to put something in the overhead bin and $19.99 to check a bag so it is cheaper to put a bag in the overhead bin.

  • Sunnykm

    Just retread my response and it is confusing. To check a suitcase to the cargo ( a traditionally checked bag) it is $19.99 but to carry on a small suitcase to store in the overhead bin it is $13.00 . If you walk up and decide to check a bag to the cargo area or carry on and use the overhead space it is $35 per bag. Bag fees are cheaper when purchased with the ticket.

  • sassee42

    This is unbelieveable!!!!  I have been flying for over 46 years, and I can’t begin to absorb the moronic charges.  What next?  A fee to use the bathroom on the plane?  I remember the days when flying was a treat and I was treated as a special customer.  I hate hate hate to fly.  It is just awful.

  • sassee42

    have to disagree with that one.  The airlines have been dangling low fares in front of us for years.  They are in financial trouble…thus the “fees”.

  • y_p_w

    The possibility of pay toilets has been mentioned several times already.  However, it’s an old idea.  There was an Alaska Airlines ad (mocking the lack of service/amenities of other airlines) that’s 25 years old that brought up the possibility.

  • duvenstedter

    Simple way for vacationers to avoid both the vacation rental scams and the
    domestic airlines scams. Don’t go on vacation in the U.S.! International
    airlines are still regulated by treaties. European vacation rentals can
    generally be trusted. I realize this advice doesn’t help the business traveler.


    The so-called “hospitality industry” in the U.S. has never been a
    very respectable business. Now it is in a race to the bottom to see who can
    cheat the customer the most. (One exception, based on a recent cruise
    experience: Oceania Cruise Lines. But they are relatively new. We will see how
    long before they are eaten by a larger firm, which will “increase shareholder
    value” by “implementing strict cost controls.” Book as soon as possible.)

  • Mark Lloyd

    I just noticed the”personalized” fee for economy plus on my United flight across the pond. Starting at $78.  $78 for a middle seat, $119 for an aisle or window.

  • planeline

    Nothing wrong with fees for carry on. I get on the plane today and I cant even put my carry on up top, cause everything from luggage to kids are packed up top. Pay the fee people and quit bitching!


  • planeline

    I know it’s great!. I notice it keeps the kids in the back, and the seats have lots of room!! Now if we can get United to charge for carry on’s,  I would have room to stow my carry one with getting it tagged at the gate because there is no room up top!

  • planeline

    Excuse the location of this post- but I think what’s even more exciting then some fee on a bag is Southwest going international in Houston, which is making a alot of people in IAH- sweat!. You got to hand it to Southwest, they love to be ball- breakers and not afraid of anyone.

  • best carry on luggage

     I really hate to say that we are at the airlines mercy and they are going to do whatever they want to, but I am beginning to accept that as our fate. They shouldn’t be able to impose these charges on us but I’m afraid this is just the beginning. What’s next? They might begin charging to use the lavatories. I can see it now, coin slots in the doors of the lavatories.

  • Michael__K

    I agree that’s what *should* happen based on common sense.  The contract states otherwise.

    I just think it’s interesting that so many times when travelers contact Chris and merely ask for what basic common sense fairness calls for, the comments are full of posts disparaging those travelers for not understanding the letter of the (probably adhesive) contract.

    Yet when the shoe is on the foot, we all think we deserve what’s “fair” even when it’s not in the letter of the contract.

  • Daves

    I answered no because, unless I missed something, all this started when checked-baggage fees first came out. :P

  • jim6555

    Allegiant and Spirit are not in the mainstream of the airline business. They copy the business model of Eurpoe’s most hated airline, RyanAir. I doubt that the legacy carriers, Southwest, JetBlue or Virgin America will start charging for carry-on bags nor will they install pay toilets or make you pay for using a credit card when you make an online reservation. If the cost of a barrel of oil ever gets down below $70, that will be the cue for more new, alternative carriers to start doing business. If these new carriers are able to  provide more services at lower fares, the major carriers are going to have to mirror what the “little guys” provide in order to compete. They certainly won’t want another start-up carrier becoming a major force in the market. 

  • 46Shasta19

    I would like to see a strict enforcement on the size and weight of carry on luggage.  After that I think that a free carryon of say luggage that weights less than 35 pounds would be fair after that luggage must be checked at whatever price the carrier thinks we will tolerate.  Weight in luggage, I’m sure consumes a great deal of fuel and if you need more than most you should pay for it.  I have had the misfortune of traveling with people who must have thought they were moving.