Spirit's $100 carry-on fee starts next month

MIRAMAR, Fla. -- Spirit Airlines Inc. will begin charging passengers $100 for carry-on bags unless they pay a smaller fee before getting to the airport.

The higher fee starts Nov. 6 and applies to customers who pay the carry-on fee at the boarding gate. The airline announced in May that the $100 fee was coming.

Spirit touts low fares but makes up some of the difference with fees that account for 40 percent of its revenue. The average customer pays more than $100 per round trip in fees.

For baggage _ whether checked or carried on board _ Spirit has an unusual tiered system that charges passengers more the longer they wait.

Passengers who are members of Spirit's $9 Fare Club will be charged $25 for a carry-on bag. Other passengers who pay the fee online will be charged $35 online, $40 over the phone, $50 at the airport ticket counter, and $100 if they get all the way to the gate before declaring their carry-on.

Spirit said Monday that its fees pass the cost of handling bags to passengers who bring them rather than raising prices for all customers.

The Miramar, Fla.-based airline lets customers bring one free personal item on board if it fits under the seat.

Spirit shares rose 12 cents to $17.20 in afternoon trading.