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Spirit Airlines customer service agent April Stein assists a traveler at the Spirit Airlines ticket counter March 23, 2004 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.
The good news is you get a cheap, no frills flight on Spirit Airlines. The bad news is you might have to pay some extra fees you weren’t counting on when you arrive at the gate. And those fees can be pretty steep.
Spirit Airline announced last week that it will charge customers as much as $100 each way for some carry-on bags. The company says the à la carte pricing is the only way it can offer such cheap fares, but some consumer groups insist that those fees should be transparent so flyers can compare apples-to-apples when shopping around based solely on price. Others make the point that it can be virtually impossible to get the low-cost fare advertised on Spirit--flyers would have to travel with no baggage, take a seat chosen by the airline and forgo meals and/or snacks.
Yet when all is said and done, the pricing model works. Spirit Airlines made $23 million last quarter as compared to Southwest “bags fly free” Airline, which ended the quarter in the red.
Would you rather pay a higher ticket price and have all the fees included or buy the cheapest fare possible and add fees as you go? And how much would you pay for a carry-on bag?
Ray Neidl, an airline industry analyst with Maxim Group, a boutique investment banking, securities and investment management firm
Kate Hanni, executive director, Flyersrights.org, largest non-profit consumer group for airline passengers in the world