In the Spirit of Airline Unbundling

I have been a proponent of unbundled pricing. I have published methods, based on consumer behavior research, to improve customer acceptance of unbundled pricing. But I am not supporting Spirit Airline’s plan to charge $45 for the carry-on bags. Not as a customer rights advocate but as a marketer who  practices data driven decision making.

For pricing to be truly unbundled, the feature must be truly optional and the customers must have valid alternative. In the case of baggage fees for check-in bags, customers had options. But it is inconceivable to think of anyone traveling with no  bags – they either checkin bags and pay or carry-on bags in cabin and pay.

Yes there is value to the customer in not checking in and instead relying on carry-on bags. But that value component is inseparable from the main product. They justify this price as realignment of incentives to discourage customers from bringing in oversize carry-on bags to avoid checking in bags. But they could fix that by strict enforcement of carry-on size rules. Customers have the option of not bringing oversize bags but not no bags at all.

Something to think about: If Spirit is monetizing carry-on bags, should TSA get its share for scanning the bags?

So instead of trying to show a low ticket price plus the price for carry-on bags, Spirit will be better off with one price and stricter size enforcement.

I will go out on a  limb and predict other airlines will not follow Spirit.