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Spirit Airlines’ CEO: Bookings Up 50% Since We Added Carry On Fee

CEO Ben Baldanza says that Spirit Airlines’ bookings for travel after the carryon baggage fee goes into effect are up 50%.  Yes, he is saying that the added fee has driven a large jump in people wanting to fly them.  Possible?  Sure.  First, bookings that far in advance are generally pretty slow, so a 50% increase won’t represent that many seats.  Second, they did lower their fares in conjunction with the carry on fee announcement.  Third, when you go to do a search for a flight to Ft Lauderdale in September online, their fares do appear to be lower, since the carryon bag fees don’t show up on other sites, making their fares look much lower, even though the total cost of the trip may not be lower.

And again, this has been my issue with this fee:  this specific surcharge enters territory where the price being displayed does not represent the true cost to the traveler.  All the grandstanding around how a carry on fee isn’t fare — that’s nonsense. They can charge whatever fees they want.  My issue is that the way travel distribution is currently set up, customers are being duped.

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