From the Associated Press:
Spirit Airlines' controversial carry-on fees took effect Sunday, catching some customers unhappily by surprise. But the low-fare carrier contends that the move will cut down on flight delays, potentially allowing Spirit to add new flights.
Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said the new approach already appears to be working. "The check-in process is going well so far," Pinson said Sunday afternoon. "It looks like this is going to speed things up."
Samantha Robles, 22, who was getting ready to check in for a flight at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, called the new charges "ridiculous." After finding out about the carry-on fees at the airport, she said she checked her suitcase because it was cheaper than paying for a carry-on. Robles said she would probably not fly Spirit again.
Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza admitted the company has received "an understandable number of complaints," mostly from people who don't realize that Spirit's ticket prices have been lowered. Spirit has cut fares overall, in some cases by more than enough to offset the cost of a carry-on bag.
"I think what we'll find is over the next weeks and months as this program evolves, and more and more people understand it, that people will see that the trade-off is a really good one," he said on Sunday. "Not everyone will think that, and those people may choose to fly someone else, but they'll likely pay more for their total travel than they will on Spirit."
Since airlines started charging for checked luggage, more flyers have brought carry-on bags on board. Spirit's new fee -- the first in the industry -- is aimed at discouraging passengers from stuffing the overhead bins because it often takes extra time to get bags settled and gate check those that won't fit onboard.
Spirit is charging $30 at check-in for any bag that's too big to fit under the seat. The price goes up to $45 for passengers who wait until they get to the boarding gate to pay, another step aimed at saving time. Members of Spirit's special fare club will only pay $20 for a carry-on. Umbrellas, camera bags, strollers and car seats are among the items that will remain free of charge.
Do you think other airlines will follow Spirit's lead? Should they?