Spirit hikes baggage fees for holiday flyers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With holiday travel plans just around the corner, another airline fee price hike is set to be released this week.

Flyers now have less than 24 hours before having to pay more to travel with a popular airline.

When you get ready to fly, now you'll have to think carefully about what you'll pack for your trip and how you'll pack for the airport.

Spirit Airlines' latest increase in fees will affect the most important thing flyers bring, a suitcase.

"You try to take only one bag. But it's ridiculous with the fees. We never had this years ago why now all of a sudden?" questions traveler Mary Ann Ward.

Soon, those baggage fees could cost you even more. And if you feel like you're being nickeled and dimed to death, you are.

Price hikes are everywhere you turn, for carry-on bags that you pay for online or at the airport, as well as checked bags.

The biggest fee will now come if you have to check your bag at the gate; it will cost you $100.

According to experts, these fee increases are currently some of the largest seen in the industry. Spirit has been ranked as one of the top airlines to get more out of your wallet from all its different fees.

Travelers say they don't want to pay for the airline's latest actions.

"The airline itself, I have no problem. But their fees? It's just getting way out of line," complains traveler Virginia Ward.

The Spirit price hike starts Tuesday.

Travel experts say whenever you're booking a flight, make sure you always read the fine print so you know what you're getting into. Then plan ahead when it comes to packing.

Across the industry, fees have increased 11 percent over what you were paying last year. The evolving fees are changing some people's thoughts on how they travel.

"How far of a drive is it to Myrtle Beach? You start thinking like that," admits Mary Ann Ward.

Airlines are expected to report making $36 billion this year alone, and that money isn't coming from the fares to fly. Much of that dollar amount is due to the fees you're paying when you book your ticket.

While travelers may expect to pay for bags, we're seeing all kinds of fees popping up now. Delta and US Airways, for example, are now charging you to choose your own seat and for wanting more leg room.

Experts say these fees won't be going away any time soon, so some people are thinking of other options and alternatives.

"Well, I try to pack something I can carry on and just put under the seat. But if I'm going for long distance, it may be cheaper to just send it some other way rather than pay them the money," decides Virginia Ward.

Spirit Airlines accounts for about half of the traffic that comes in and out of the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

Now that MYR is host to increasing fees again Tuesday, some are wondering how this will affect the airport's numbers.

The higher fees will be an interesting mix, since airport managers are trying to get more people to fly through the facility.

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