MIDDLETOWN, DAUPHIN COUNTY—Whether its extra leg room, checked baggage or even food, it seems you have to pay for everything aboard an airline. Now, one carrier wants you to pay for the suitcase you bring aboard.
Spirit Airlines will now charge flyers up to $45 for carry-on luggage. They are the only airline instituting this fee, but with the growing list of fees hitting the airline industry, some say, enough is enough.
"They are going to get their money somehow," said flyer Kim Houseal.
Low cost carrier Spirit Airlines is turning some heads, announcing they are charging for carry-on bags, $30 in advance, $45 at the gate.
"That's a surprise. That will take an adjustment for passengers," said flyer Jonathan Shaw.
As a Chaplain in the Army, Jonathan Shaw flies about once a month. He has been inendated with new fees over the past several years, but this one he says, takes the cake.
"Any airline will get a lot of push back if they start charging for carry on bags as well," Shaw said.
"Customers are responding really positively to this," said Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza.
Spirit Airlines CEO is defending the decision to add the fee. He says the company is lowering ticket prices, making the extra charge a wash.
"Consumers can decide whether they think our trade off of a very low entry fare and a fee for carrying on a bag is a good trade off," Baldanza said.
The fee comes from a loophole in federal law. Carry-on bags are considered non-essential items for travel, meaning airlines don't have to pay taxes on money collected from those fees.
Still, some travelers are weary of the growing number of charges just to get off the ground.
"I paid enough for the ticket, why should I have to pay for the baggage too. But they got me, so what am I going to do?" said first-time flyer Chris Crossley.
"I feel the airlines are going to get their piece of the pie somehow, someway if they raise their prices of their flights or charge you for your carry-ons. It doesn't matter," Houseal said.
As of yesterday, five major carriers had announced they are not joining Spirit air by charging for carry-on luggage, including American, Delta, United, US Airways and Jetblue.
Congress is also joining in the debate. Legislation is being drafted by some members that would close the loophole in the law and thus make the fees null and void.