Spirit Air Agrees To Repay $8M in Hidden Carry-on Bag Fees
Spirit Airlines, Atlantic City International Airport's only major carrier, has agreed to pay up to $8.25 million to settle a class action lawsuit by passengers who said they had to pay hidden fees on baggage on tickets bought through third-party travel services.
Reuters.com reports that lawyers for the passengers disclosed Wednesday that a deal had been reached with Spirit in federal court and asked a judge to approve it.
The lawsuit covers first-time Spirit passengers who booked flights between August 2011 and May 2017 using Expedia, Travelocity, Kiwi, ChepOair, Cheap Tickets, or Book It.
People who are eligible will get up to 75% of the fees back, though the amount could vary depending on how many people seek refunds.
Spirit Air, like other low-cost carriers, depends on added fees to make up for their lower base fares.
The 2017 lawsuit accused Spirit of advertising misleading low prices on travel websites but hiding "gotcha" bag fees travelers were forced to pay at the airport. Some customers said those fees were often as much or more than the price of the flight itself.
The settlement arrives at a challenging time for Spirit Airlines, as the company faces pressures to charge fees for extras, such as baggage charges, to supplement its fares.
However, this business model has faced criticism for lack of transparency and customer awareness.
Regular travelers from Atlantic City International have learned the ins and outs of traveling lean when flying on Spirit to avoid paying those baggage fees.