In its latest protest against new regulations on hidden airfare fees, Spirit Air has announced a $2 “unintended consequences” fee for all passengers.
The fee comes less than a week after the airline launched an online campaign against the government’s new rules, one of which allows customers to cancel flights within 24 hours of booking.
Spirit justified the new fee in a statement Tuesday, arguing that keeping seats open for 24 hours will lead to higher fares for other customers.
“This rule mandates that we take out seat inventory for those who may or may not decide to pay for it,” the company says.
“This prevents us from selling these seats to someone who definitively wants to book their reservation and leads to seats not being filled. The consequence is that we must spread costs over fewer customers, thus raising the cost for all passengers.”
This isn’t the first time Spirit has gone head-to-head with the government over fee regulations. It was fined last year by the Department of Transportation for deceptive advertising when it publicized $9 one-way fares without disclosing additional fees and taxes.
Last week, the DOT fined it another $100,000 for mishandling complaints from disabled passengers.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told CNN Spirit’s new fee is “just another example of the disrespect with which too many airlines treat their passengers.”
“Rather than coming up with new and unnecessary fees to charge their customers, airlines should focus on providing fair and transparent service — that’s what our common sense rules are designed to ensure,” he said.
Spirit operates more than 175 daily flights to 45 destinations in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
The airline was made famous by its $9 one-way fare club, but it charges at least $20 for carry-ons for club members and up to $35 for non-members. Checked bag fees range from $28 to $38.
Company CEO Ben Baldanza weighed in on the new fee:
“Wouldn’t we all like to eat all we want and not get fat? Regulators like to try to sell the idea of this rule, but have ignored the cost impact to consumers. You simply can’t eat all you want without consequences.”
It’s perfectly fine to protest new regulations, but it’s unfortunate Spirit’s decided to take out its beef with Uncle Sam on its own customers.