Legislators Say Spirit Airlines Got Carried Away with Carry-On Fees

by  Molly Fergus | Apr 15, 2010
Spirit Airlines airplane
Spirit Airlines airplane / Boarding1Now/iStock

Lawmakers are finally feeling the fee fatigue of the masses. Just one week after budget carrier Spirit Airlines announced plans to charge flyers up to $45 to carry on bags (set to be effective for August 1 travel), democratic senators Benjamin Cardin of Maryland and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are clamoring to squelch the whole thing. Cardin and Landrieu introduced a bill on Tuesday that would guarantee passengers the right to bring aboard anything essential to their health, work, or safety. In the meantime, senator Charles Schumer of New York headed straight for Spirit’s pocketbooks by threatening to flip the Treasury Department’s January ruling that carry-on bags are not “reasonably necessary” for travel – which would force Spirit Airlines to pony up a 7.5 percent federal excise tax on carry-on bag fees. Now, airlines net all luggage fees tax-free, checked or carried-on. If Schumer gets his way, Spirit Airlines would be nickel-and-dimed just like its flyers – up to $3.38 per $45 carry-on.

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