If you're the sort of flyer who avoids checked baggage fees by stuffing a carry-on to capacity, you may want to rethink your packing strategy. At least if you're flying Spirit Airlines that is. As of yesterday, the budget carrier began charging a fee for carry-on baggage. Passengers are allowed one free personal item/bag which must fit underneath a seat (16 x 14 x 12"). Items such as umbrellas, cameras , infant diaper bags, assistive devices, outer garments, car seat/strollers, reading material, and snacks do not count towards the carry-on baggage allowance. Any carry-on baggage beyond this must be stored in the overhead bin (22 x 18 x 10"), 1 item per purchased seat, with fees ranging from:

$20 for $9 Fare Club members (online check-in)
$30 for online or phone check-in for non-members
$45 for check-in at gate

Now it's entirely possible to shell out more for the transport of your carry-on than for the actual seat. But before you go clutching your pearls in outrage, try and see the silver lining here. With fewer folks dilly dallying in the aisles as they struggle with bags in the overhead, boarding and take off should be a tad quicker. Or that's the idea, anyhow.

Will other carriers soon follow? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, you can review Spirit's new baggage policy here.

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