As of Today, Up to $100 for a Carry-On Bag on Spirit

With all the political coverage over the past few weeks, it's understandable that one piece of airline news may have gone unnoticed by many travelers.

But it's an important one: Today's the day Spirit Airlines starts charging up to $100 for a carry-on bag.

Misty Pinson, a Spirit Airlines spokeswoman, said the timing of the new fee had nothing to do with the election and was "purely coincidence."

In fact, she said, "We absolutely do not want this news to be buried and have been actively working to make sure our customers are aware of this change, including emails to our customers and signs posted at our airports. What's most important is that we truly do not want any of our customers to have to pay $100 for their bag."

Which begs the obvious question: If the airline does not want people to pay $100 for a carry-on, why are they charging up to $100 for a carry-on?

"The fee is intentionally set high to encourage customers to reserve their bags in advance, and it is meant to deter customers from waiting until they get to the boarding gate. When customers wait until the boarding gate, this delays the boarding process for everyone," Pinson said.

With just two weeks until the busy Thanksgiving travel weekend, it's a fee people who still haven't booked -- and are considering a flight on Spirit -- need to factor into their travel budget.

Spirit said it's "Bring Less, Pay Less" bag program passes the cost of handling bags solely to those bringing bags rather than have everyone subsidize these costs. The airline said the program has helped the company conserve the equivalent of nearly six million gallons of fuel in the last year alone compared to the rate of consumption before the introduction of the program.

Passengers who pay in advance will not have to pay $100 for their carry-ons.

Spirit Carry-On Bag Fees:

$9 Fare Club Member Online: $25
Standard Online: $35
Telephone Reservations: $40
Airport Ticket Counter or Kiosk: $50
Boarding Gate: $100

Spirit Airlines was the first domestic carrier to charge for carry-on bags, but they're no longer alone. In April, Allegiant Airlines started charging as much as $35 for a carry-on bag.

In October, London-based low-cost carrier Wizz also started charging for a carry-on. The cost is about $13 in U.S. currency.

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