Spirit Airlines Hit with $50,000 Fine for Fee/Advertising Violations

On Monday, the Department of Transportation slapped Spirit Airlines with a $50,000 fine for violating its full fare advertising rules. According to the DOT, the airline failed to disclose all taxes and fees on certain airfares in some of its advertisements last June.

Are Spirit's $9 Airfares for Real, or a Scam?

Spirit Billboards and Tweets Broke DOT Rules

These ads included billboards and tweets – the government said some of the ads simply noted that more taxes and fees would be added to the fare without specifying an actual amount, and the airline's tweets took recipients to multiple links before disclosing the cost of the taxes and fees.

According to Bloomberg, Spirit says the omissions were accidental, and the DOT will cut the cost of the fee in half if Spirit refrains from further violations for one year.

Spirit's Crazy Ads – Is No Subject Sacred?

Spirit – Famous for Fees

Spirit styles itself as an "ultra-low cost" carrier, and is widely known for its high-priced fees. By general consensus, Spirit's most notorious one is the fee for using a carryon bag ($20-$40 each-way), as it is the only U.S. airline that charges for hand luggage. More recently, Spirit made news by raising its online booking fee to nearly $34 per round-trip flight. Spirit's website refers this (and all the rest of its charges) as "optional fees," but your only option to avoid the cost of booking online is to head to the airport and buy your ticket there.

Anne McDermott
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