In reaction to the new regulation, Spirit is imposing a $2 "Dept. of Transportation Unintended Consequences Fee" on all tickets. Their talking point is that "consumers have a right to know that this misguided regulation is expensive and is hitting consumers directly in their pocket books." To be clear: they're petulantly lashing out at the government by charging all customers an additional $2 on all tickets. Cute. Stupid. But undeniably cute.
Let's pause here for three reminders. One, Spirit pushes fees much more aggressively than other airlines, from their carry-on feeswhich have been periodically hikedall the way to fees for buying your ticket online or checking yourself in at the airport. Two, the airline's attention-whoring ranges from being tactless about politics to being tactless about celebrities to being tactless about natural disasters to showcasing boobs and penises. Three, Spirit is aggressively unfriendly to its customers.
So the new fee ban was in some ways a perfect storm, hitting Spirit in the pocketbook while giving them an excuse to get attention at their customers' expense.
The airline was already delightfully pissy over the new transparency laws that force them to disclose the actual prices of their tickets, including taxes and fees (not a surprise given how they've been fined for dishonestly advertising airfares before). The new rule seems to have put them on tilt. It's the equivalent of giving a teacher giving the whole class time-out until someone admits to shooting that spitball.
Depressingly, this temper tantrum probably isn't going to cost Spirit any customers. $2 won't make or break a ticket price, which is how travelers overwhelmingly make their purchasing decisions. There's even an argument to be made that the stunt will help Spirit becauseper the usual Ryanair playbookit gets the airline attention while reinforcing its brand as a super-cheap airline. Unhelpful.
[Photo: Ivan Martinez / Wiki Commons]