The Miami Herald reports that [[Spirit Airlines]] has reinstated a $5 each-way fee ($4.90, to be exact) for bookings made online and by phone. The fee, dubbed a ”passenger usage fee,” is effectively the same fee Spirit implemented and then rescinded last summer.
But this is more than just a case of an airline waffling back and forth on a fee. Initially, Spirit claimed it nixed the fee due to negative customer feedback, which was seen as a minor win for customers tired of relentless nickel-and-diming. But the Herald tells a different tale.
Apparently this fee was added on to a customer’s airfare toward the end of the booking process, meaning the customer ended up paying $5 more than the fare initially agreed to. The Department of Transportation (DOT) caught wind of this, and, according to the Herald, was “in discussions with Spirit regarding its website” when the airline canceled the fee. The DOT followed up with a $40,000 fine in December.
DOT spokesman Bill Mosley told the Herald, “They can’t say the ticket is $225 plus a $25 fee [for example]. They have to say, ‘The ticket is $250, this includes a $25 passenger usage fee.'”
Which, it seems, is what Spirit will now do. And its passengers will once again pay a $5 booking fee each way. So much for customer feedback.