IBTraveler -- Spirit Airlines announced this week that it would add a $2 "unintended consequences fee" to all tickets due to new federal regulation aimed at protecting consumers. The "Department of Transportation Unintended Consequences Fee" was added to each ticket effective immediately and is a direct response to new DOT rules put in place Jan. 26 to offer travelers better "passenger protections."
The most visible of the new rules was a law that required airlines to include mandatory government taxes and fees in all advertised fares. Other rules pertained to ticket cancellation policies and baggage fees. Spirit says it's the DOT regulation allowing passengers to change flights within 24 hours of booking without paying a penalty that's forced them to add the fee. The low-cost airline says the new regulation forces them to hold the seat for someone who may or may not want to fly while not allowing someone who really does want to fly to book that seat.
However, the nation's transportation chief disagrees. "This is just another example of the disrespect with which too many airlines treat their passengers," Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "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."
HT: W.E. Heasley