Spirit Airlines, a leading U.S. ultra-low-cost carrier that's known for squeezing everything it can in fees and add-ons to its super-low "Bare Fare" tickets, is now shrinking the handbag allowance even tighter.
The airline charges for luggage going into overhead bins or checked, but allows one personal item, such as a handbag or briefcase. Starting April 4, the maximum size for that bag will shrink 16x14x12 inches to 18x14x8, a cut of about 25%. Fees for cabin baggage are $26, and checked bags go for $30 to $150, depending on size.
Baggage issues are not unique to Spirit; over the past decade baggage fees have become a multi-billion dollar profit engine for most airlines. But the pressure has tightened with the growth of the ultra-low-cost carriers, and the U.S. Big Three have recently started selling 'basic economy' fares that also include restrictions on use of the overhead bins.