07/17/2012 07:13 am ET | Updated Sep 16, 2012

Ask Airfarewatchdog: Airlines Charging For Carry On Bags, Airfares To Hawaii

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Q: Do airlines charge for carry on bags?

A: Currently, only two airlines charge. Small but growing Allegiant Airlines charges between $10 and $35 for a carry on bag weighing no more than 25 lbs. and measuring no more than 9 in. by 14 in. by 22 in. The fee varies depending on the route you fly and is assessed per segment (a segment is a take off and landing).

Spirit Airlines, another small low-cost carrier, currently charges $20 for carry on bags if paid for before check in or $25 if paid for at check in. Fees are $10 higher for bags paid for at the airport counter and cost $45 if paid for at the airport gate. Those fees will go up by $5 effective Nov. 6, 2012. So you could conceivably pay up to $100 round-trip if you don't pay for your cabin bag ahead of time.

Whether other airlines will follow suit is anyone's guess, but Hawaiian Airlines sometimes weighs carry on bags as passengers board planes and their weight limit is 25 lbs., which while not a "fee" will result in a checked bag fee if a bag weighs more than the limit.

Q: We have reservations for Christmas week at the Halekulani resort in Honolulu but haven't booked our airfare yet. Fares seem pretty high. Is there a chance they'll go down? Hawaiian Airlines had a sale for holiday travel a couple of years ago but it only lasted 24 hours.

A: Coincidentally, I just flew from New York to Honolulu on the new Hawaiian Airlines nonstop, and they had an amazing short-lived sale for $340 round-trip including tax. (Fares on that route are typically $700 to $1,000 or more). I found out about it because I subscribe to the Hawaiian Airlines email alerts and also have their co-branded credit card.

Will fares go down? Probably. Allegiant Airlines is now flying to Hawaii, which will be downward pressure on fares, and Alaska Airlines has increased service. Fares to Hawaii fluctuate without notice and some of the best deals are unadvertised. Sign up for "airfare alerts" on your chosen route, and as you've discovered you need to pounce quickly when there's a sale.

And also, coincidentally, I stayed at the Halekulani for three nights during my trip. You'll be happy to know that the hotel looks better than ever after an extensive renovation. It's my favorite hotel on the islands.