Spirit Airlines revealed plans to charge $20 – $30 per carry-on bag that won’t fit under the seat. While some may scoff at more airline fees, this one will actually start to right the ship when it comes to the insanity which has become air travel.

  1. People can pack rationally again – a fee for checking-only causes strange behaviors. Currently, most people cram everything into a roll-aboard and carry on, filling the overhead bin until it bulges. Now, you can choose the most convenient way to travel, which for some will be handing off the bag and not dealing with lugging it through your connections.
  2. Everyone’s bag will fit on board – no more gate-checking your bag because cabin is full, and no more waiting in baggage claim (unless you choose to).
  3. Prices will decrease – the more airlines add in fees, the cheaper the underlying ticket will be. Plus, more baggage fees means people will pack less, so fuel costs will decline, trickling down to ticket prices as well.
  4. Flights will arrive earlier – it takes a lot of time to load people and bags. With fewer bags and a more reasonable distribution of bags between on-board and checked, flights will turn-around faster and spend less time sitting at the gate.
  5. More differentiation – airlines can choose which fees to add, which will allow airlines like Southwest to offer “Bags Fly Free” while others can offer different amenities. And consumers can choose the best option for them to fly.

I expect it’s only a matter of time until other airlines catch on as well. But it was clear from Spirit’s announcement, this is not a indication of increasing prices – it’s a pricing structure shift, which is good news for all.

Photo by: NewbieRunner

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