Spirit Airlines, which makes no apologies for the many fees it charges for "extras," like checking a bag, is raising its fees November 6. Then, stowing a bag in an overhead compartment in the cabin will cost as much as $100.

The news has put Spirit's already tree-top reputation into a sharp descent to a net negative sentiment of 36 percent, according to a ConsumerAffairs sentiment analysis of about 27,000 comments on social media.

 

That particular fee applies to tickets purchased at the gate. The current carry-on fee for those tickets is $45, so the increase is 122 percent.

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Consumers rate Spirit

Other Spirit fees aren't going up as much. The fee for a carry-on bag with a ticket purchased online is going up to $35 from $30. The first checked-bag fee on domestic flights is going up from $28 to $30.

For tickets purchased at the reservations counter or at an airport kiosk, the carry-on fee is going up from $40 to $50.

Low fares, lots of fees

Spirit offers low fares but makes up for it by charging a fee for just about everything. If consumers aren't aware of this policy, they can easily assume the posted fare is what they'll pay and be in for a rude shock.

"I purchased a ticket on Spirit to Dominican Republic on spring break, because it was $80 less than American Airlines. Boy, was that a mistake," Diego, of Miami, Fla., wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. "Spirit charges you $44 per checked bag, plus $25 per carry on, and if you go over 1 pound, they charge you 25 bucks. The service is horrific. The airplanes are filthy. Flight attendants are rude."

 

PR pounding

Meanwhile, the airline is taking a public relations pounding this week after it denied a refund to a dying ex-Marine, whose doctor ordered him not to fly. Consumers, like Melissa, of Tampa, Fla., have blasted Spirit after it denied 76-year old Jerry Meekins' request for a refund of his $197 ticket charge.

"The statement you gave regarding the elderly man with terminal cancer who could not be refunded his money was extremely cold-hearted," Melissa wrote at ConsumerAffairs. No. Let me re-word that more accurately: stone cold, Ted Bundy cold. If a refund could not be issued, would it have killed you people to be sympathetic, apologetic, and slightly gracious in your choice of words? You basically told that man he can croak and thanks for the $190.00! How uncaring!"

The incident prompted one outraged consumer to launch a "Boycott Spirit Airlines" Facebook page. The page had more than 17,000 likes in a few days time.

 

 


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