Are you ready to pay for carry-on?

Unless there’s a future announcement involving a significant reduction in fares, it’s hard to see how Sun Country Airlines’ new baggage fee policy does much more than encourage people not to fly Sun Country anymore.

The airline, which announced last month it’s going to adopt more fees and “bundle” its offerings in the manner of no-frills airlines, announced today it’s going to start charging people more to carry their luggage onto the plane than to check their baggage at $20 each. Carrying on will cost $30, $40 if you wait until you arrive at the airport to make the decision.

“Sun Country Airlines is always looking for new and innovative ways to bring value to our customers,” the airline said in its press release this morning. “The new Bundle & Go product offering gives customers more choices when it comes to planning and budgeting for their specific travel needs.”

But the airline didn’t announce any value to its passengers that would make flying Sun County at all attractive. That is: It offered no fare incentive to make putting up with the new fees any real choice at all. The airline president did indicate to the Star Tribune, however, that there’ll be an adjustment in fares, although he didn’t say how much. Without that information, it’s impossible to know whether this ends up being a good deal for passengers.

The new fees begin with bookings that passengers make start Wednesday for travel that commences on Jan. 19.

For comparison, let’s try a Friday-Monday round trip to Boston on Jan. 19. Booked now, the fare will run you $358.40 plus the baggage fees. Delta’s more numerous flights at the same time also cost $358.40. Delta doesn’t charge for carry-on, although the checked baggage is $5 more than Sun Country’s.

Asked what the fare might be after the baggage fees are implemented, a Sun Country spokesperson said only, “Sun Country will continue to provide competitive fares and the reputable customer service for which Sun Country is known.”

Sun County says the new fees will result in “people getting to their destinations sooner” because it will take less time to get off the plane. But that’s true only if your destination is the baggage claim carousel.

The 800-pound gorilla in the room, however, is Jet Blue, the low-cost airline that will begin flying nonstop between Minneapolis and Boston next spring, charging $236 round trip, $284 with a checked bag.

Once Jet Blue starts flying here, Sun County will reduce its fare to $266.40, still slightly higher with the new baggage fees.

Sun Country’s popular flights to Las Vegas will have a base fare in January of about $282 (plus the new baggage fees). Delta’s $308 fare is competitive for those who carry on luggage.

All of that will change, of course, if people decide they like the idea of paying for carry-on luggage. Other airlines would most certainly follow suit.

Oh, by the way, shipping your 35-pound suitcase via UPS or another carrier isn’t much of an option for you in the new age of increased fees. A suitcase shipped to Boston, for example, will cost you about $58 each way.

  • Gary F

    I would love to see the people who carry on get charged more than folks checking baggage. Just think how much easier the plane would load and unload if only half the carry on folks actually checked baggage? The time wasted by stuff not fitting, the time wasted by someone having to stuff something overhead and not by their seat when it comes time to retrieve it.

    Next step if were in charge, call out the passengers that have connecting flights and let them out first.

    This “Who Concert” mentality of boarding and leaving a plane drives me nuts.

    • The thing is: You don’t really WASTE any time because the baggage isn’t at the carousel, usually, when you get there. The only thing that changes is where you spend your time waiting.

      • Gary F

        I’m tired of the cluster F_ _ _ of loading and unloading of the plane. It’s a sh – – Show every time.

      • QuietBlue

        True as far as the amount of time goes, but walking to baggage claim is a good chance to use the restroom, grab a cup of coffee, etc. Plus it’s time you’re not sitting on the airplane.

    • QuietBlue

      Agreed. Ideally, airlines wouldn’t charge for checked baggage (up to a certain amount), but if they’re going to do that anyway, I’m cool with people paying more to check bags. I don’t carry on anything more than a small shoulder bag/backpack unless I have to. I’m fine with making provisions available for those who need it, like medical equipment and such. But overall, I see anything that discourages people from carrying on luggage is a good thing.

    • Zachary

      The one that really makes me laugh, is when everyone stands up a soon as the ‘seat belts off’ chimes, and then stand there for another 20 minutes holding their stuff. Cause it’s first standing, first off, right?

      • Gary F

        The big race. Then someone up front has bags in back. Or cant get the bag out of the overhead that the shoved in there with a 100 ton hydraulic press.

      • Matthew Hallacy

        People stand up to stretch and uncramp. Hopefully (but usually not) to also prepare for deplaning by getting their carry-ons out of the overheads.

        Frankly, I think they should let everyone without a carry-on get off first. Every flight with sun country lately has been a sh!t show of the gate people telling people to check their damn baggage now or be forced to later, then waiting forever on the plane while people try to get their crap out of the overheads.

    • crystals

      I was on a flight about six months ago where people actually followed the flight attendant’s request and stayed in their seats to let tight connections off first (we landed about an hour late). I never thought I’d see the day. I might never again.

      • Personally, I usually just sit there until everyone is off. I don’t need the hassle of trying to wrestle through a ton of crabby people.

    • John K

      >”I would love to see the people who carry on get charged more than folks checking baggage. ”
      I agree. And any ‘carry on’ with wheels should get charged double. If you can’t or won’t carry it, then check it in.

    • 212944

      I have not paid for checked luggage for at least the past five or six flights (I don’t fly more than twice a year, has always been Delta over the past ten years for me).

      I typically have a carry-on bag and backpack/computer bag. At the gate, there is now always a request for carry-on bags that they may check without fee.

      I have given up caring whether my bag fits their carry-on size requirements as 1) the gate agents and flight staff don’t enforce it themselves (probably more drama that it would be worth when someone is trying to carry on the obvious item that won’t fit, which is now common) and 2) they offer to check for free (again, probably in part because of number 1).

      Agree with the need to call for those who need to make a transfer first.

      Would also make a lot more sense to board back-to-front.

  • Bob Sinclair

    This is already happening with Frontier airlines. Another reason why I’ll never fly with them.

    • Sam M

      My trip this weekend on Spirit was pretty similar as well. I also didn’t notice any time saving. People still don’t know how to take turns and exit a plane.

    • QuietBlue

      The larger carriers are getting in on it too. I just flew United’s Basic Economy fare a couple of weeks ago, where you’re limited to just one under-the-seat personal item. Not every fare on the plane was like that, but some were.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        Oddly enough I paid the extra for the Regular Economy seat, but will probably check a bag anyway this week when I head east for a wedding. Never take Sun Country I prefer Newark to LaGuardia. (But all of this is why I prefer the calm comfort of Amtrak when the schedule allows it.)

        • Jack

          Love Amtrak. I need to go on another trip like that again.

      • Barton

        how do they verify you don’t have anything in the overhead?

  • wjc

    Start thinking of flying as a pain-in-the-tuchus bus ride in the sky and you’ll never be disappointed.

  • Zachary

    When I fly (which is relatively rare now, but used to be quite a bit and mostly overseas) I would always check my main bag. For carry-ons, it would be my backpack, containing pillow, ipod, books, etc – and my company laptop (which you should always carry-on, and never check, btw). All of this stuff could fit under the seat if necessary (and in the case of my backpack, I often would want it there).
    This seems directed at the folks who try to cram everything into one of the ghastly hardside wheeled “carry-on” abominations, plus a laptop, plus a ‘personal item’ i.e. usually a backpack or large bag or something.
    Door side checking should be mandatory for those type of bags. They are not compressible (so you can’t fit much around them in the overheads) and it’s clear they don’t have anything in them that you need in-flight (when coupled with a backpack or similar).

    In any case, my luggage is usually waiting for me at the carousel by the time I get there.

  • Horatio

    As a New Hampshire-ite (but native Minnesotan) my wife and I have flown Sun Country on nearly every visit to the homeland. I have enjoyed the Minnesota touch starting at Logan Airport, and the Surly available in the cabin. I have a list of SY tailnumbers we’ve been on; I think we’re getting close to the full set, but I doubt we’ll complete it. With the new carry-on fees, though, I suspect we’ll be taking advantage of the new JetBlue service instead.

  • Mike Worcester

    At one time I read an idea that travelers would get charged for total weight of their luggage — checked, carry-on, etc. It seemed intriguing but then again, just about anything can sound more appealing than how we get shoved along now while boarding and de-planing.

  • Barton

    I honestly love checking my luggage (though I do hate paying for it). Then I don’t have to get anxiety about not having it near me, not having enough room in the overhead, dropping it on someone’s head when I put it up/take it down (had this happen to me once). And except for international flights, I really haven’t had to wait for my luggage at the carousels. Now, on international flights, I hate waiting for my luggage – and its FREE to check there. I’ve just spent 7 plus hours on a flight, but I always seem to wait a minimum of 45 minutes but usually over an hour for my luggage to get to the dedicated carousel. That’s in the no-man-zone with zero restrooms.

  • Jeff C.

    Today is the first day of this “offering” and the MSP->BOS flights that I looked at are the same prices as they were on Monday.