Thursday, January 17, 2008

ManyBag and LapChildren Fees from Spirit Airlines

By Mike Grasso

Spirit Airlines currently permits checked bags on their flights for a $5-$10 fee (the lower reflects bag payment made online versus the airport). Effective February 20th, that fee doubles; $10-$20 per bag. More than 3 bags will cost an additional $100 bucks each. You may haul a free carry-on and one personal item onboard the plane free of charge.

While other airlines charge excess baggage fees, Spirit takes it to a higher level. American and United for example charge $80 and $85 respectively, for a 3rd checked bag. Southwest, even with the introduction of charging a fee for the 3rd bag (effective January 29), it will set you back only 25 bucks. Spirit is truly leading the way in higher baggage fees.

Want to bring a LapChild along during your Spirit flight? (They don't count as the free carry-on). Children under the age of 2 are not required to purchase their own seat, but come May 1st if they're going to sit in your lap, those little people incur a LapChildren fee of $25 bucks each way on Spirit Airlines.

To compare LapChild fees, SkyBus, often referred to as the lowest of low cost carriers operating in the U.S, charges $10 for each segment a child is parked on your lap, but they also charge as little as $10 bucks for a flight; the added fee seems reasonable there. Otherwise, this type of fee doesn't really exist with other airlines in the United States. So in sum, that infant of yours will soon pay for his/her share of onboard oxygen and fuel costs when flying Spirit Airlines.

In defense of these fees, the airlines are struggling to cut costs, and a few pounds of infancy do add a few bucks to operating costs. It's possible then, in the larger airline world, we might expect other airlines to follow Spirits move on similar LapChildren fees, and modify their existing ManyBag fees.

Background on Spirit Airlines:
Spirit Airlines inaugurated flights from San Francisco Airport in 2006, but does not currently offer routes from the Bay Area; it's unknown whether the airline pulled out completely, or seasonally. Spirit offers a huge network of routes throughout the East Coast and the Caribbean.