Pay for carry-on bags? We’ll see about that.

We all knew this was coming – someday – right?

Spirit Airlines announced that, come August 1st, you’ll need to pay a fee (up to $45 if you wait until the last minute) to stow a bag, a box, or that container holding our uncle’s cremains in the overhead bin.

The alternatives?  Check your bags (there’s a fee for that as well) or tote less.  Or, as many of the 45,000 people who voted so far in the on-line survey vow to do, fly a different airline.  “Enough is enough,” wrote one voter. “They must think we’re idiots,” said another.

For their part, Spirit Airlines claims that by unbundling this fee, passengers might save money.

Given the fact that Spirit adds fees for just about everything else, the potential to save money by traveling with no luggage is highly disputed.  But the airline also suggests that charging for carry-ons will reduce boarding hassles.  Spirit Airlines COO Ken McKenzie claims the new charge “will reduce the number of carry-on bags, which will improve in-flight safety and efficiency by speeding up the boarding and deplaning process, all of which ultimately improve the overall customer experience.”

We’ll see about that.  And, of course, we probably only have to wait until about, oh, August 2nd, to find out if other airlines will follow Spirit’s lead.  It’s a good bet.  We were all shocked when airlines started charging for checked bags and snacks but now, as my mother used to say about things far worse than that, it’s all just part of the game.

To add your vote to the carry-on bag survey, to read my column on the topic, and to see all sorts of videos and other reporting on this topic, see Unbundled baggage fees reach the overhead bin.

Tidbits for travelers: Free Wi-Fi, Olympic travel tips, and in-flight body-mass tax

We want Wi-Fi

Slowly but surely airports large and small are getting with the program and making free wireless Internet access available in the terminals.

The latest major airport to join the party: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).


Packing tips from Olympic athletes

Curious about what some Olympic athletes do when they’re traveling – or getting ready to travel? Them you may in interested in the video clips the folks at VISA (a 2010 Olympics sponsor) have posted of athletes talking about what they pack, how they prep for a trip, how skier Ryan St. Onge just had to have an airport burrito, and what Olympic Hockey player Angela Ruggiero packs in her carry-on.

Just as interesting, is the fact that the credit card company is giving away a trip to the Olympics – for life. To enter, you just need to charge something on a VISA card.

Seat tax on Air France for Seatmates of Size

And, just a day after announcing that it was introducing “the lightest and most comfortable short-haul seat in the world,” on some of its planes, Air France announced that passengers who cannot fit into a single seat (on any Air France flight) will have to pay for a second seat – at 75% of the cost of the first seat.

The new policy applies to tickets purchased beginning February 1st for flights April 1st and beyond.

Think the new rules may apply to you? Here’s the policy for Passengers with High Body Mass.

What do you think? Should seatmates of size be asked to pay for more than one seat?