New Airline Fee from Spirit
There’s nothing like new airline fees to get people talking, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this one:
Q: What’s behind this crazy story that an airline is going to start charging fees for boarding passes?
A: It’s not so crazy. Spirit Airlines has announced that from now on, those who don’t print their own boarding passes but ask an agent at the airport to do it for them will pay. The fee for this service: $5. Note: you can still get your boarding pass printed out for free at an airport kiosk until June of 2012, but after that it’ll cost you a buck.
For the record, Spirit says it’s also dropping the cost of flights by five dollars, so only those who use this service will pay. However, Spirit is well known for being in the vanguard of unusual fees; after all, it was just last summer that the airline became the first U.S. carrier (and still the only one) to charge for a carryon bag.
By the way, there is at least one other airline that charges this “boarding pass printing” fee: if you don’t show up at the airport with a pre-printed boarding pass for a Ryanair flight, the UK discounter will charge you as much as $60 to print it out for you. Of course, this is also the airline that proposed charging flyers for the use of its planes’ lavatories. It hasn’t happened yet, but some fees may surprise you so be sure to check out the Best, Worst and Hidden Airlines Fees.
What’s next? Given Spirit’s cheekiness and propensity to add to their sushi menu of fees, nothing they do surprises me anymore (although I would be surprised if they added a “toner” surcharge on top of the new printing fee).