Spirit Airlines rolls out new fee to cover cost of new fare rules

Spirit Airlines, which is setting up a crew base at McCarran International Airport, has come up with a novel way to express displeasure at new U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

On Tuesday the carrier started adding a $4 "unintended consequences of DOT regulations" fee to ticket prices.

The move is a response to new regulations of airline marketing that include allowing passengers to wait as long as 24 hours to pay for a reservation. Almost all airlines have required immediate, nonrefundable payment for discount fares.

Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza said in a statement that the new rule takes seats out of circulation, albeit temporarily, limiting the inventory for people willing to pay on the spot. As a result, he said, the airline now has to spread costs over fewer passengers, and add the $4 fee.

Spirit and Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Co. have been the industry's most vocal critics of the new rules. Spirit's online booking site includes links for those wishing to urge Congress to kill the rules.

Allegiant Travel, which operates Allegiant Air, has also argued against the 24-hour rule, but hasn't imposed an added fee.

Contact reporter Tim O'Reiley at toreiley@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290.


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