Spirit Airlines: Reserve Early or Pay Higher Baggage Fees

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Spirit Airlines has announced, starting April 1st, if passengers wait until the last minute, they will have to pay more for checked or carry-on bags.

For passengers who pre-pay online or over the phone more than 24 hours before their flight, there will be no changes in fees; currently it is $30 for carry-on and $28 for the first checked bag, for domestic travel.

The airline is hoping the new fees will encourage customers to pay for their bags earlier, saving them money, officials say.

"Spirit is encouraging customers to save money by pre-purchasing their carry-on and checked bags [fees] online more than 24 hours prior to departure," says Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson.

Spirit's new fee structure will have four different tiers:

1. When reserving online more than 24 hours in advance: no price changes
2. While checking online or by telephone: $5 more
3. Waiting until at the airport check-in counter or kiosk: $10 more
4. Pay at the gate: flat $45 fee

The airline still offers bag $10 discounts to passengers who are a part of their paid Fare Club.

Spirit Airlines made headlines last year for being the first airline to start charging passengers up to $45 for carry-on bags. The fees have been successful for the airline. Last year from January to September, Spirit Airlines made almost $56 million in bag fees alone.

Meanwhile, there are efforts to fight the airlines and their bag fees. The group, US Travel Association has is lobbying the government to require airlines to allow one free checked bag with the cost of a ticket.

Currently there are two major US airlines that do not charge for your first bag: Southwest and jetBlue, which recently announce a $5 increase for a second checked bag.

Analysts have been predicting carriers would look to raise revenue through fees in the wake of rising fuel costs.

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