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Reaction mixed on Allegiant plan to charge up to $35 for carry-ons

FARGO - Starting today, passengers traveling with extra baggage will have to pay a little more to ride with Allegiant Air.

The regional airliner is now charging passengers for carry-on luggage, and Fargo-Moorhead area residents are giving the new fee mixed reviews.

Allegiant Air plans to charge between $10 and $35 for any carry-on luggage passengers want to stow in above-seat compartments available in seating cabins.

Passengers will still be allowed one personal item at no cost - a purse, laptop bag or briefcase, so long as that item can fit in the space beneath the seat.

The new fee won't apply to Allegiant passengers who purchased tickets before the policy is effective today.

Allegiant, which touts itself as a low-cost airline, provides service from Fargo and other regional airports across the U.S. - including Grand Forks, Minot and Bismarck - to vacation destination hubs like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Phoenix.

With its new fee, Allegiant becomes the second airline in the country to charge for carry-on baggage. In 2010, Florida-based Spirit Airlines started charging up to $45 for carry-on bags.

Allegiant already charges between $25 and $35 for checked luggage, and some travelers said that fee ought to be enough.

"Allegiant is pricing themselves right out of the ballpark with all their fees," Moorhead resident Penny Carlson said. "What is the $35 fee supposed to be for? The passenger is the only person that handles that bag."

Some locals responding to the decision vowed they would never fly Allegiant again. But other frequent fliers in the area welcomed the new fee, hoping it would prevent delays caused by passengers who haul oversized luggage aboard to try to avoid existing checked-baggage fees.

"The items people think they simply 'must have' have gotten out of hand," Valley City resident Jean Legge said. "Make them pay! Maybe they will think about how much junk they are hauling around. It's costing all of us."

Moorhead resident Richard Isbell agreed.

"Personally, I'm glad that they are doing it," he said. "I am sick and tired of people bringing mid-size 'carry-ons' and the airline not enforcing the bag-size rule."

The Los Angeles Times reported that Allegiant President Andrew Levy announced the new fee in an email to employees, saying the changes are part of "an ongoing effort to develop an innovative, new approach to travel."

Allegiant Air did not respond to The Forum's request for comment Tuesday.