If you’re one of those cunning travelers who sneak all their luggage into the cabin to avoid paying checked baggage fees, the free ride is over with Allegiant Air.
The Las Vegas-based carrier has announced a new carry-on baggage fee. Passengers will now be charged between $10 and $35 for each bag that needs to be stored in the overhead cabin bins. The price will vary according to the route and distance traveled.
Smaller items like purses, briefcases and laptop bags will be exempt from the new charges, provided they can fit safely on the passenger’s lap or underneath the seat. But anything bigger than that will be going in the overhead bins for a fee.
The new charges are sure to be greeted with skepticism by the traveling public. Allegiant has occasionally been accused of a “quick buck” business model that values short term earnings over customer satisfaction. The airline has shown a willingness to abruptly cancel routes and services that aren’t delivering immediate profits.
The shareholders are happy, at least. Allegiant shares rose nearly 3% in value after the new fee system was announced.
Allegiant is the second airline to introduce a carry-on baggage fee in the United States. In 2010, Spirit Airlines began charging up to $45 a piece for bags that didn’t fit under the seat. While the move stirred controversy and raised the ire of consumer groups across the country, Spirit doesn’t appear to have suffered any negative consequences. In the two years since, the budget airline has recorded much stronger profits than most of its full service competitors.
Allegiant is clearly banking on a similar outcome.