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Airlines have begun charging for checked bags on flights. Some start at $20 for the first bag and $30 for the next bag. Southwest is still free for checked and carry on bags. Most passengers don’t like the extra charges added at the airport and would rather just have the ticket price be the total price for the flight.
Now Spirit Airlines has started a new high in lows! They want to charge $45 for a carry on bag. Doesn’t everyone take bags on a trip? Of course they do. These added fees are just a rip off and an annoyance to the traveling public.
The following article appeared in Business week.
Click here to see how a Travel Companion from CareToGoTravel.com can help you navigate through these charges.
(Adds Spirit’s response in ninth paragraph, Hawaiian Airlines chief starting in 13th.)
By Jeff Plungis
April 13 (Bloomberg) — Two Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation that would ban airlines from charging fees for bags carried aboard planes one week after Spirit Airlines Inc. became the first carrier to announce a charge.
The legislation by Senators Benjamin Cardin of Maryland and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana would assure that items essential to people’s health, work and safety can be carried on board without extra fees, according to a statement today. The bill also would require advance notice of special fees for checked items, according to the statement.
“Only one airline has announced plans to charge for carry- on item fees, but we cannot allow these flood gates to open,” Landrieu said in the statement.
Carrying a bag onto a Spirit flight will cost passengers $45 at the gate, or $30 if paid in advance, starting in August, the Miramar, Florida-based discount carrier said in an April 6 statement. Customers paying the fee will board first and all travelers can carry, without charge, small personal items such as a purse or briefcase that fit under the seat.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in an April 8 interview with travel writer Christopher Elliott, said he would hold Spirit’s “feet to the fire” over fees, especially in efforts to ensure consumers understand what they’re paying.
“I think it’s a bit outrageous that an airline is going to charge someone to carry on a bag and put it in the overhead,” LaHood said. “I’ve told our people to try and figure out a way to mitigate that. I think it’s ridiculous.”
Carriers are seeking revenue beyond tickets sales as fares last year stagnated at 1998 levels amid the recession, according to U.S. statistics. The five largest U.S. airlines will collect $1.76 billion for checking first and second bags, a $117 million increase from last year, according to a Jan. 20 report by Ideaworks, a Shorewoods, Wisconsin, consulting firm.
UAL Corp.’s United Airlines was the first major U.S. carrier to impose a fee in 2008 when it began charging for a second checked bag. Most major airlines charge at least $20 to check one bag and $30 for a second, and permit carry-on bags and personal items for free.
Spirit Airlines adjusted fares and fees to help speed up security lines, make boarding quicker and end a “carry-on bag crisis,” spokeswoman Misty Pinson said in an e-mail.
“Spirit is even further lowering fares, lowering checked bag fees, giving customers the option to carry-on a bag for a fee that includes priority boarding, and personal items are still free,” Pinson said.
Spirit said passengers signing up for its discount fare club, at a cost of $39.95 a year, will pay $20 for carry-on bags when they prepay using the Internet. The carrier is lowering fees for prepaid checked bags for club members, to $15 for the first and second bags from $19 for one and $25 for the second.
Cardin and Landrieu failed in a bid to add their bill as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that passed the Senate last month, the statement said.
Congress should avoid legislating fees as airline deregulation helped the industry lower fares and add flights, said Mark Dunkerley, chief executive officer of Hawaiian Holdings Inc., parent of Honolulu-based Hawaiian Airlines. “You ought to allow all kinds of airlines to try new and innovative things to attract customers,” Dunkerley said in a telephone interview. “It’s important that legislation stay away from directing airlines what they can and cannot charge for.”
Hawaiian has “no plans” to add a carry-on bag fee as it watches developments at Spirit “very closely,” he said.
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, yesterday asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to use his power to declare carry-on luggage as a necessary part of air travel, which would subject the fees to a federal excise tax. The decision would discourage airlines from charging fees for bags, he said. If the Treasury Department doesn’t act, Schumer said he’d introduce legislation to have the same effect.
“Airline passengers have always had the right to bring a carry-on bag without having to worry about getting nickel and dimed by an airline company,” Schumer said. “The Treasury Department needs to close the loophole that encourages this abusive practice and rein in these fees.”
–With assistance from Mary Jane Credeur in Atlanta and John Hughes in Washington. Editors: Steve Geimann, Romaine Bostick.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at email@example.com
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