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Confirmed: New Spirit Airlines Fees are Deeply Hateable

May 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM | by | ()

Airline industry watchers awoke Thursday to a Fox News story about the latest Spirit Airlines clusterfark, wherein the airline is refusing to refund the $197 ticket of a dying Vietnam vet who was banned by his doctor from flying. The mess involves typically grating behavior from the deeply obnoxious airline, so that's not what was notable about the writeup.

Instead what got people's attention was that Kate Hanni, executive director of Flyers Rights, has apparently chosen to inject herself into the controversy and to start throwing around language about "meat in a seat" and "history of cruelty." This is... disconcerting.

Hanni and her group are best known for going on hysterical populist rampages against tarmac delays and getting a bunch of incandescently stupid regulations passed (two years ago she waded into our comments section to defend herself and was promptly dismantled by Jaunted readers). So travel writers who loathe Spirit Air—like, say, us—had to ask themselves "is Spirit Airlines hatable enough that we feel comfortable being on the same side as Flyers Rights, which will any day start calling for new and counterproductive regulations to make airlines be nice and smile or whatever?"

It turns out that, for now, the answer is a very firm yes. Because in addition to the Vietnam vet clusterfark, Spirit also choose this week to hike up a host of checked baggage fees. Improbably, they've found a way to increase our already marked antipathy for their carry-on baggage fees.

Travelers who want to use the overhead bin will now have to pay $100 per bag if they pay at the gate. Those and other new fees are described on this Spirit website chart, which is a confusing 3-dimensional grid of different situations and fees (and people accuse them of exploiting novice travelers!)

Check out the chart for yourself. Then look at the top of the page and read how they have the nerve to describe their anti-customer fees as a way to "empower customers to save money." See how hateable?

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