Spirit Airlines (SAVE) mulls tying fees to flight demand

a a a a
Share this story

NEW YORK (AP) -- The complex world of airlines fees might soon get even more confusing.

The fees fliers pay to check a suitcase or pick a more desirable seat might soon become much more complicated and costly.

Spirit Airlines is considering tying the fees passengers pay to check a suitcase or pick a more desirable seat to demand. On a peak travel day, for instance, the fees could be much higher. Passengers who booked a Spirit flight for this holiday season can relax however - the changes are months away, if they happen at all.

The changes could benefit passengers as well. Someone flying on a slow Tuesday afternoon, for example, might catch a break on price. Spirit did not say how much the fees could change.

Spirit's bag fees already vary in price depending on how early customers choose to pay: $30 for the first bag when buying a ticket online or prior to check-in, $35 starting 24 hours before the flight at online check-in or $45 at the airport.

CEO Ben Baldanza told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that during peak days there sometimes isn't enough room in the belly of the plane for all the bags. Other days, there are only two or three checked suitcases. Clearly, he said, that shows the airline isn't pricing its extra services correctly.

"This is something we've been thinking about for a while," Baldanza said. "It's not a foregone conclusion."

The low-cost carrier based in Miramar, Fla. is one of the few airlines that charge a fee to select any seat - window, middle or aisle - in advance. It also charges extra for water, to place a bag in the overhead bin and to have an agent print a boarding pass at the airport.

Baldanza said lower prices for seat assignments on a slow day might induce more people to buy. It will also make the online seat map appear fuller, causing more passengers to pay extra to avoid middle seats near the back. "If you look at seat map that is empty, you are less likely to buy," Baldanza noted. The price might be lower, but Spirit could ultimately take in more revenue with a higher volume of sales.

Airlines have priced tickets this way for the past three decades. The more demand for a particular flight - say one on the Sunday after Thanksgiving - the higher the price will be. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines already price some seats with extra legroom at different levels based on the demand for that flight. No airline currently does that with luggage fees.

Baldanza said his company needs time, if it moves forward with the changes, to update its technology and inform passengers.

"It's not just something we can snap our fingers and do tomorrow," he said.

--

Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at HTTP://TWITTER.COM/GLOBETROTSCOTT .

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More National News
Boston kid wants to win Boston Marathon for city
Boston kid wants to win Boston Marathon for city

Shalane Flanagan grew up in nearby Marblehead with a reverence for the Boston Marathon and dreamed, like many locals and foreign…

VIDEO: Obama calls Easter time for hope, renewal
VIDEO: Obama calls Easter time for hope, renewal

President Barack Obama is encouraging Americans to draw strength and inspiration from the Easter and Passover holidays.

Woman finds body while hunting for Easter eggs
Woman finds body while hunting for Easter eggs

A Tennessee woman says she made a grisly discovery while hunting for Easter eggs in her back yard with her 3-year-old son: a dead body.

REPLAY: SpaceX rocket blasts off from Cape
REPLAY: SpaceX rocket blasts off from Cape

A SpaceX commercial rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral on schedule Friday afternoon and is heading to the International Space Station.

U.S. power grid vulnerable, experts warn
U.S. power grid vulnerable, experts warn

“The destruction of more than three transmission substations would cause long-term blackouts in many areas of the country,”…

Local runners make emotional return to Boston
Local runners make emotional return to Boston

Several local runners are heading to Boston this weekend to make a statement to the world.

Obama: Anti-Semitic Ukrainian leaflet sickening
Obama: Anti-Semitic Ukrainian leaflet sickening

President Barack Obama's national security adviser says anti-Semitic leaflets distributed in Ukraine were "utterly sickening"…

Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag
Ohio woman finds bird leg in Dole spinach bag

An Ohio woman, who eats a salad nearly every day and makes spinach smoothies, has lost her appetite for her favorite vegetable after making a…

Boston Marathon runner: 'Let's show these jerks'
Boston Marathon runner: 'Let's show these jerks'

After running more than 25 miles, exhaustion was setting in for Roswitha Goossens-Winter, but she was determined to complete the 2013 Boston…

Mich. judge to woman: 'I hope you die in prison'
Mich. judge to woman: 'I hope you die in prison'

If a judge could throw the book at a woman, he managed to do so Wednesday.