Spirit Airlines has come up with a counterintuitive way to get customers to check their bags before they reach the boarding gate: charge them $100 for carry-on luggage.
The fee is a penalty the company said customers can avoid by not waiting until the last minute to check their bags when they board a Spirit Airlines flight. Those who do wait will be charged $100 starting Nov. 6.
The airline hopes the exorbitant fee will convince fliers that it's cheaper to reserve their luggage far in advance of a flight. Checked baggage will cost as low as $20 and carry-on luggage will be $25 for passengers who plan in advance.
"Our goal is for no customer ever to pay the $100 fee," Spirit chief operating officer said Tony Lefebvre in a prepared statement. "When our customers choose these time-saving, self-service options, our costs go down, and we can pass those savings along to our customers."
By waiting until the last second to deal with their luggage, the airline said its customers cause delays for their fellow passengers, slow down regular flights and increase company costs, which are passed on to fliers. Spirit said it has already been able to keep fares low and pare its fuel consumption rate by almost 6 million gallons in the past year through initiatives that speed up boarding and loading carry-on bags overhead.