SEATTLE (AP) — Alaska Airlines has been quietly warning passengers for years that it charges $25 for every oversized carry-on it has to check at the gate.

The airline said on Tuesday it has actually had to charge the fee on occasion lately, but contrary to some media reports, it isn’t considering setting up a cash register at the gate.

“We’ve had the policy in place for quite a long time,” even before the airline started charging $20 to check bags, said airline spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey.

Customer education and promotion of the $25 fee has taken care of most problems concerning oversized bags and extra luggage people are trying to place into overhead bins, she said. The $25 fee is not charged often, but is announced on a regular basis so it serves as a deterrent, Lindsey added.

“I can’t even say how much we’ve collected because it’s that minimal,” she said.

She believes the Seattle-based airline’s carry-on rules are similar to other carriers. The Alaska Air fee differs significantly from new fees at Allegiant Air and Spirit Airlines. Those airlines are charging for anything that goes in the overhead bin.

“The whole goal is trying to keep the boarding process smooth,” Lindsey said.

The airline wants to make sure there’s plenty of space on board for people who are following the rules, she added.

They will continue to offer to check some customers’ bags at the gate for free, as long as they already pass the one bag and one purse or backpack rule, Lindsey added.

Strollers, medical devices don’t have to fit in the one-plus-one rule, neither do the bags of first class passengers and some frequent flyers. And people traveling within the state of Alaska are not charged a baggage fee, Lindsey noted, because they are often transporting necessities.

— Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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