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Spirit Airlines boosts fee for booking domestic flights online

November 15, 2011 |  3:22 pm


Florida-based Spirit Airlines, the only airline in the nation to charge passengers for carry-on luggage, now charges nearly $34 to book a round-trip flight online.

Spirit has long promoted itself as the ultra low-budget airline that offers fares as low as $9 each way. But the airline also boasts one of the most extensive lists of extra fees in the industry.

Earlier this month, Spirit raised the "passenger usage fee" from $8.99 for one-way domestic flights to $16.99. The fee for international flights dropped from $18.99 to $16.99.

The only way to avoid the fee is to buy a ticket at an airport counter. But as of Jan. 24, 2012, the airline will charge passengers $5 to print out a ticket at the airport counter.

The airline announced in August 2010 new fees to stow a bag in the on-board overhead compartment, in addition to charges to check luggage in the cargo area.

The carry-on fees range from $20 to $40, depending on whether passengers pay online or at the airport counter. The lowest luggage fee is charged to members of the airline's $9 fare club. But it costs about $60 a year to join.

A few months after announcing the carry-on fees, Spirit said it planned to install "pre-reclined" seats that do not adjust.

The airline says the new slim leather seats are 30% lighter, cutting down on fuel costs and offering 20% more space under the seat. By eliminating a steeper recline, the airline can also fit more seats into the plane.


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-- Hugo Martin

Photo: Passengers speak with a Spirit Airlines worker at Detroit International Airport. Credit: Reuters