Spirit Airlines introduced (06-Apr-2010) PENNY PLUS fares and reduced its checked bag fees for its USD9 Fare Club members. The airline reduced its lowest fare by over USD40 each way on average, while checked bag fees for USD9 Fare Club members have been reduced to USD15 for domestic flights and USD20 for international flights. The carrier also introduced the next phase of unbundling with the introduction of a charge for carry-on baggage to be stored in overhead compartments, as well as an additional fee for priority boarding. The new carry-on baggage fee ranges from USD20-45 and is effective for reservations purchased after 05-Apr-2010, for travel from 01-Aug-2010 and will be available for purchase on or before 01-Jul-2010. Smaller "personal items" will still be allowed onboard for free. The carrier stated the move will allow it to reduce fares even further and allow passengers the option of paying only for the services they want. [more]
No other larger airlines indicated they would follow suit, despite their acknowledgement of the advantages of reduced baggage handling (The New York Times, 06-Apr-2010).
Spirit Airlines: “In addition to lowering fares even further, this will reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve inflight safety and efficiency by speeding up the boarding and deplaning process, all of which ultimately improve the overall customer experience,” Ken McKenzie, COO. Source: Spirit Airlines, 06-Apr-2010.