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Spirit (of Greed) Airlines Baggage Fees

Spirit CEO: Luggage not essential for travel, who needs bags?

John Kelso  Jul 18, 2010

Most people are on Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza's case for telling Congress the other day that bringing luggage is "not essential" to airline travel.

"We are certain that Spirit's decision to unbundle services not essential to the transportation of passengers has enabled more passengers to fly at lower cost," Baldanza said.

What I'd like to spank Baldanza for first, though, before I suggest that he's saying you don't need to brush your teeth, is his bureaucratese when he uses the alleged word "unbundle."

Spirit is fixing to charge passengers $20 to $45 for a carry-on bag in the overhead bin. Spirit will also charge for picking your seat in advance. That goes for $8 to $60. They'll even charge extra for picking that lousy seat in the middle where you'll be stuck between the two sweathogs. These services used to be contained in the price of a ticket, but now that there's an extra fee tacked on by Spirit, Baldanza refers to this practice by using the term "unbundle."

So "unbundle" is the new bureaucratese word meaning "This is a stickup." Or, "Bend over and hold on."

Let's think of the ramifications if nobody brought a suitcase when they went on vacation on the big iron bird.

You could do this if you could stand wearing the same clothes for a week or two. There are people who do this, but you don't usually see them out at the airport. Usually you see them at Sixth and Lamar.

If this is the market Baldanza is chasing, let me congratulate him for competing with Greyhound.

I used to know some guys in college who would throw their dirty clothes in the corner. Then, after the laundry had aired out for a couple of weeks, they'd wear them again because by then they'd freshened up enough, they figured.

These guys would be comfortable with Spirit's new rule. Just remember when you pay your $8 to $60 to pick your seat on Spirit to tell them you don't want to sit next to one of these bozos.

This sort of fashion statement is not for everybody, though, so the way around this is to put all of the stuff you plan to use on vacation in your pockets — you know, underwear, deodorant, medications, shirts, electric toothbrush, cell phone charger and so on. Perhaps Baldanza keeps a pair of socks in his suit pocket.

One problem with this approach is that you don't have enough pockets. And if you do, taking all of that stuff out of your pockets to get through airport security will gum up the line for two or three hours, if everybody is doing it.

The other thing you can do is call ahead to your relatives on the other end of the trip and ask them to go to Target for you. Just send them the shopping list in advance. I'm sure they'll be real happy about that.

Oh yeah, almost forgot. Let's say you're a college physics professor named something like Ali. And you try to board a plane without any bags.

Can you say strip search?

Spirit CEO: Luggage not essential for travel, who needs bags?
Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza: "Leave your bags at home" / Image via


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