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Though I’ve never flown Spirit Airlines, I think the savvy/controversial budget carrier has a secure place in the skies – as long as they continue to clearly state all of their fees and restrictions in advance. Today Spirit did just that when they announced several months in advance that they’re raising their checked bag fees by $2 on flights booked after August 19, 2014 and taken between December 18, 2014 and January 5, 2015 in an effort to encourage passengers to “pack a bit lighter” for the peak holiday season.
However, rather than an incentive to streamline your luggage, this seasonal timing comes across more as an opportunity to remind you to book your Christmas, Chanukah and New Year’s trips, and then to up-charge you for traveling to see your loved ones with presents in tow. Seems like the carrier might want to temporarily – and ironically – change its name to “Holiday Spirit Airlines.”
Spirit’s limited-time raised bag fees (e.g., $23 for the first checked bag vs. the usual $21) are just the latest in the airline’s series of publicly unpopular but financially profitable fees. If you choose to fly with Spirit, your “bare fare” will be relatively low compared to the major domestic carriers, but you’ll be charged between $26 and $100 for each piece of carry-on baggage you plan to store in an overhead bin, and from $1-50 for the privilege of choosing your own seats. If you want a roomier Big Front Seat, you’ll pay an additional $12 to $150, and your drinks and snacks will cost extra as well.
If you’ve mastered the art of packing light and/or are fine doing without all the creature comforts of premium air travel, Spirit may be the ideal thrifty option for your holiday trips. On the other hand, if you have a lot of luggage or despise having to navigate through pricey add-on fees, you should look elsewhere for your holiday travel needs.
Will Spirit’s higher checked bag fees keep you from booking with the low-cost carrier this holiday season? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.