April 3, 2012 at 12:19 PM ET
Beginning Wednesday, Allegiant Air will charge passengers up to $35 for carry-on bags.
“Under this new structure, passengers will be permitted to bring one personal item that can be placed under the seat in front of them (like a purse, briefcase, laptop, etc.) for free, and if they choose to bring a larger carry-on bag to be placed in the overhead bins, they may do so for a fee,” Andrew Levy, president of Allegiant Travel Company, wrote in a company e-mail.
Fees for travelers who book and pay online will be between $10 and $30, based on several factors such a trip’s origination, destination and length, said company spokesperson Jessica Wheeler. Travelers who pay for their carry-on bag at the airport will be charged $35.
Allegiant passengers who have already purchased their tickets will not be affected.
The carry-on bag fee is Allegiant’s solution to a falloff of fee growth the airline has seen in recent quarters, said aviation consultant Robert Mann of R.W. Mann & Co.
He does not expect larger carriers to follow suit.
Allegiant is “leisure in orientation,” and is unique in its ability to charge a carry-on fee, Mann said. “No business-oriented airline would do this to customers with a laptop and valet bag – they would drive them right off the airplane,” he told msnbc.com.
Allegiant already charges for checked bags, but some passengers feel like they are getting nickel and dimed.
"It's outrageous," Beth Kealy, a passenger flying to Palm Springs, Calif., from Bellingham, Wash., told KING5.com. "It's like they are trying to milk us any way they can."
In 2010, Spirit Airlines started charging up to $45 for carry-on bags. The airline earned an estimated $50 million in 2011 from the fee, according to a report released by IdeaWorks.
“Spirit Airlines has indeed created success from an à la carte fee that every other airline has refused to adopt and even fears to speak of,” IdeaWorks president Jay Sorensen told msnbc.com in December.
KING5.com, NBC News’ Seattle-based affiliate, contributed to this report.
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Joe Myxter has been running msnbc.com's Travel section since 2006. Follow him on Twitter.