Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air is poised to impose fees on carry-on bags stuffed into overhead bins, all part of what it describes as its "ongoing effort to develop an innovative, new approach to travel."
Allegiant doesn't have a global footprint. It is a relatively small airline with a little more than 50 MD-80s serving about 77 smaller cities in the US and Canada.
But, with Spirit Airlines imposing carry-on fees in August 2010 and making some huge money off them, don't be surprised if such fees will be coming before long to an airline near you.
Allegiant Air president Andrew Levy informed employees of the move in an internal memo March 30 and said the fees would be imposed this week. Levy wrote:
"Next Tuesday evening, we will introduce the newest change to our product menu and provide travelers with options and fees for carry-on bags. Under this new structure, passengers will be permitted to bring one personal item that can be placed under the seat in front of them (like a purse, briefcase, laptop, etc) for free, and if they choose to bring a larger carry-on bag to be placed in the overhead bins, they may do so for a fee."
A graphic which was part of the memo showed that carry-on fees paid at the airport would be $35 per segment. Levy didn't detail how much the fees would be if paid online.
"At the center of our success has been an ongoing effort to develop an innovative, new approach to travel," Levy wrote. "This approach provides affordable base fares along with a menu of choices, allowing individual travelers to build an experience that fits their needs and budgets."
Some would argue that charging fees for carry-ons does nothing to improve the traveler experience and that some travel companies need to transition away from an anti-consumer past.
And, if other airlines parrot the actions of Spirit and Allegiant, then bringing back the glory days of air travel will indeed be a fantasy.
Even before the imposition of carry-on fees, Allegiant's fee schedule was detailed and lengthy.
Note: Photo of shopping bags by Shutterstock Images