Airlines have spent the past few years inventing new ways to charge passengers extra for services: bag check fees, seat selection charges, fees for pillows and blankets, extra charges to talk with a reservation agent, for-sale meals and beverages, and extra legroom charges.
Now Spirit Airlines, the self-described “ultra low-fare carrier” that brought its passengers fees for carry-on luggage, is carrying the fee game to the next step: $5 fees for a ticket agent to print a boarding pass and a $1 fee to print those passes at an airport kiosk.
The airline says the new charges are designed to reward those who print their boarding passes from their home computers. Spirit says it is cutting its fares by $5 each way on nonstop flights so those who print their passes at home will fly even more inexpensively. “We believe it is important to let customers decide what is of value to them,” said Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza. “Why would you want to pay for services that you don’t use?”
Spirit’s network is centered on its hub in Fort Lauderdale. It doesn’t fly to Sea-Tac yet, but it announced Monday that it will begin flying between Portland and Las Vegas this fall. Can Sea-Tac be far behind?
John Gillie, staff writer