Allegiant Airlines is the latest low-cost domestic carrier to begin charging customers for their carry-ons, following Spirit Airlines similar move in 2010. While you’re still allowed one personal item—such as a purse or laptop bag—starting this April, bringing smaller suitcases on board is no longer the guaranteed way to avoid baggage fees.
Although Allegiant and Spirit advertise more affordable airfares, extra costs such as carry-on baggage fees can surprise travelers, especially those trying to save on checked baggage charges, which often start at $25 per bag. In an attempt to offset high fuel costs, Spirit Airlines became the first domestic airline whose optional fees range from $20 to $45 for carry-on baggage. Allegiant’s fees depend on weight and when you pay; at the airport, the fee is an automatic $35, but reserving in advance can bring prices as low as $10.
While the fee may seem superfluous considering the many other fees airlines charge today, one benefit of carry-on baggage costs could be that it will help expedite the boarding and deplaning process. Passengers packing as much as possible into a smaller carry-on can cause delays due to limited overhead cabin space.
Andrew Levy, president of Allegiant Travel Co., acknowledges today’s à la carte fee structure, “When flying Allegiant, travelers do not pay for something they do not need or want. We are confident that our customers will continue to appreciate our efforts to keep their base fare as low as possible, while offering a completely customized travel experience.”