Wait, you charge how much for carry-on bags?

By | September 16th, 2016

When you fly, there is a surcharge for everything. Barbara Murphy-Sanders wishes she’d known that — and we wish we could have told her — before she booked her tickets.

Murphy-Sanders and her husband, both of whom are senior citizens, were planning a trip to the Grand Canyon with Road Scholar, an educational travel tour program that caters mostly to elderly clients. As Road Scholar doesn’t book flights, Murphy-Sanders and her husband purchased air tickets for $440 through Orbitz on Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

They were about to get a hard lesson in airline fees. Many of our readers have already learned, in some cases the hard way, that airlines charge for whatever they can in addition to the base fare. But not everyone is aware of this, including Murphy-Sanders and her husband, who do not fly often and are not computer-savvy.

They were shocked to discover that Spirit was charging them $55 per bag and Frontier was charging them $30 per bag for carry-on fees. As Murphy-Sanders puts it, “If there had been any indication that carry-on bags would also be charged we would never have booked these flights. We feel cheated.”

Although they learned from Orbitz that “All prices include taxes and fees and are quoted in U.S. dollars. Your two one-way fares may be processed through multiple transactions” and “The airline may charge additional fees for checked baggage or other optional services,” they did not realize that they would be charged for carry-on bags because Orbitz gave them no specific indication that their airlines would do so.

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And although it could be argued that Murphy-Sanders and her husband might have checked out the websites of both Spirit or Frontier, where they would have found that both airlines do indeed charge passengers carry-on fees, this information is not prominently displayed on the site of either airline. In the case of Spirit, it is contained in section 17.2 of its contract of carriage, for which a link appears at the bottom of the home page, and in the case of Frontier, it is accessible through a link to “Tips and FAQs,” again at the bottom of the home page. Persons such as Murphy-Sanders, with limited knowledge of computers and websites, would not be able to easily find the information.

Since Murphy-Sanders and her husband don’t believe that they can cancel the reservations with either airline without incurring large cancellation fees, they would like to have the fees waived because they “were not well informed on this policy.” Alternatively, “if nothing can be done, then [they]’d like to warn other people.”

Does Orbitz have an obligation to disclose the carry-on bag fees to its customers? And are the fees unreasonable?

Orbitz’s own terms of use indicate that

Additional terms and conditions will apply to your reservation and purchase of travel-related goods and services that you select. Please read these additional terms and conditions carefully. In particular, if you have purchased an airfare, please ensure you read the full terms and conditions of carriage issued by the Supplier, which can be found on the Supplier’s website. You agree to abide by the terms and conditions of purchase imposed by any supplier with whom you elect to deal, including, but not limited to, payment of all amounts when due and compliance with the supplier’s rules and restrictions regarding availability and use of fares, products, or services.

So Orbitz is not going to assume any responsibility regarding the carry-on fees. It’s passing the buck back to its “suppliers” — the airlines in question.

And unfortunately, ancillary fees, such as carry-on fees, have become a lucrative revenue stream for many airlines, especially those that market themselves as “bargain” or “discount airlines,” such as Spirit and Frontier — presumably to compensate the airlines for revenues they forfeit by selling air tickets with low base fares.

On the other hand, the largest U.S. airlines — American Airlines, Delta, and United — all allow passengers to bring one carry-on bag and one personal item aboard flights free of charge, as do JetBlue and Southwest.

Considering that most, if not all, of these airlines are eager to charge whatever ancillary fees they can to their customers, yet don’t charge carry-on fees for at least one bag and one personal item, one might wonder whether it’s reasonable for any airline to charge a carry-on baggage fee.

But both Frontier and Spirit Airlines — and Orbitz — could do a better job of disclosing that the fees will be charged. If Orbitz is communicating to its customers that the airfares sold on its site include “all taxes and fees,” then its customers should not be caught in “gotcha!” situations. Fees for carry-on bags should be separately and prominently disclosed, rather than bundled in a package with ticket base fees and buried in fine print on airline websites or in their contracts of carriage.

Unfortunately, we’ve been making the argument for completely transparent airline ticket pricing, with full disclosure of all fees, taxes, and other charges included in the cost of air tickets, for years, and the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Transparent Airfares Act in 2014. It was reintroduced in the Senate by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in 2016 and referred to a committee, where it remains as of this writing. And unless and until a government body passes legislation or issues other legal prohibitions against “gotcha!” ticket pricing, customers are stuck paying whatever airlines choose to charge for airfares — and ancillary fees.

So we advise all travelers to seek as much information as possible about fees charged by airlines, including ancillary fees – which may include charges for carry-on bags. Even if you’re not computer-savvy, be prepared to check out airline websites and look for their contracts of carriage or other language that indicate that you will be charged ancillary fees.

And if you don’t want to pay what an airline is charging, vote with your wallet — and book your tickets on airlines that don’t charge ancillary fees that you don’t want to pay.

Should we take Barbara Murphy-Sanders' case?

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  • AJPeabody

    If “fees” means what it says, buying a ticket which inludes fees should, well, include fees. Saying look for it yourself on “other fees” is a clear shirking of an implied duty if one is to consider Orbitz an on line travel agency and not just a money/ticket broker. How difficult would it be to say “This airline charges $xxx-$yyy extra at the airport for checked bags, carry on bags, food, air, bathroom privileges” whenever a Spirit or Frontier ticket is proposed? One simple line of code! If every user of an OTA protested this nonsense or, better yet, used a real travel agent, the OTA’s might get the message.

  • MarkKelling

    The Transparent Airfares Act will provide anything but transparency! It allows airlines and other sellers of air transportation to advertise tickets without including all the mandatory fees and taxes. It is a good thing this act was NOT passed! It should never be passed. The current requirements provide much more transparency as to the total cost of a ticket.

    The fees for carry on baggage and all other baggage fees and fees in general are very clearly displayed during the booking process on Frontier. You literally cannot skip seeing them and selecting what you want for your flight long before you get to the part where payment info is entered. While I don’t fly Frontier any more because I don’t like their general business practices compared to what they used to be, I will give them credit for not hiding any of their fees. The various online travel resellers should not hide this in the booking process either. There is no excuse for not including it in what is shown to the customers during booking.

    Reasonableness of the fees is a completely different matter. As long as passengers pay the fee and continue to use the airlines that charge them, it must be assumed the fees are reasonable enough.

    Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a case to take as no laws were violated. The OP should have done a little more looking before buying.

  • sirwired

    If I’m Orbitz, I’m going to go out of my way to note the unusual fees charged by Spirit, Frontier, etc. I can’t imagine why they do not.

    On another note, I’m with Mark: You got it completely backwards on the “Transparent” Airfares Act, which would have DECREASED fare disclosure by allowing airlines to go back to the bad old days of advertising pre-tax fares. Yowza! (And this site commentated extensively AGAINST the act, as well it should have.)

  • AAGK

    If they knew about the fees they wouldn’t have booked these flights? So they would have paid more for an airline like Delta that doesn’t have carry on fees or would they not have traveled at all? If it’s the latter, ok. If the goal was the cheapest way to get to the destination then sounds like they got it anyway. They must have done some comparison shopping or they wouldn’t have ended up with this airline. They would have picked an older legacy airline, if they were really super senior.

  • Hanope

    Spirit seems to snag a lot of inexperienced flyers. They see the low price and think its going to include everything because they so rarely fly, it never occurs to them that some airlines now charge for carry-ons and checked luggage. Frankly, just like some consumer products require big warnings lables on their products for seemingly common sense things (don’t use hair dryer while in the bathtub), airlines should be required to put big warning lables on their websites when selling tickets.

  • Shawn R

    The very first page for Spirit has a section called “Spirit 101” that clearly states that “If you know you’re going to need a checked bag or carry-on, buy it early and online to save major moola.”

    I hate Spirit with the passion of a thousand suns, but you can’t fault them if a customer doesn’t even bother himself/herself checking out an airline before booking with them.

    I get that there are lots of inexperienced flyers out there, but being inexperienced doesn’t excuse them from doing minimal research.

  • Pat

    It’s Friday, it has been a long week, and I had a good chuckle with this one. Just love the stories of because I was not told every bit of detail before I purchased and then throw in because I am , I should not have to pay and due a refund. Orbitz and other web sites cannot list every fee and how much for every airline, hotel, car rental, and so on has. Then you have the problem of the fee went up after they purchased and there are people that would say they should pay the original fee amount. Or a new fee is added after they purchased and there are people that feel they should not pay because there no fee then. Or they will say that Orbitz and other web sites should have informed them of the changed fee or new fee and they are owed the difference they had to pay.

  • jmj

    It’s not as easy as it sounds. Orbitz (or other websites) then needs to keep a database of fees, and not just for luggage either, since there are many fees–onboard wifi, early boarding, unaccompanied minor, etc. Furthermore, these may change without notice and then orbitz may be liable for misstating the fees. so it’s simpler (and in my view, better) to state that there can be optional fees.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    “including Murphy-Sanders and her husband, who do not fly often and are not computer-savvy.”
    They are not computer-savvy yet they were able to purchase tickets on Orbitz and was able to find this website. Even if they are not computer-savvy and are infrequent airline passengers, why didn’t they use the services of a brick & mortar travel agent that could explain these things to them; walk them through the process, etc. instead of being their own DIY travel agent.

  • David___1

    “are not computer-savvy” Here’s what comes to mind. I don’t know how to drive, I’m not comfortable behind the wheel, so I get in a car, try to drive somewhere, crash. So it’s not my fault that I wrecked the car? Sorry, if you’re not comfortable with something, not “savvy”, then get help or use another method such as a travel agent.

  • Pat

    One of the many things I have learned over 42 years of programming computers, if someone says it is a simple one line of code, it is not a simple one line of code.

  • MarkKelling

    And that simple one line code change can bring down the entire system to a complete and fatal halt.

  • Pat

    How true. Seen it and been the guilty party.

  • disqus_00YDCZxqDV

    I find it hard to believe that anybody breathing in the USA is not aware that airlines like Spirit and Frontier offer cheap prices and then make it up with fees, as well as having the worst on time performance in the industry

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    A year ago, I was driving to the post office. A car ran a stop sign and hit my car and took off. The police were able to catch the driver which was a teenager that had her license for a week or two. The father of the driver said “she has a learning disability that is why she took off and is not responsibility for the accident.” So she was able to get a driver license with her learning disability but she can’t follow the rules (i.e. stopping at a stop sign, leaving the scene of an accident, etc.) once she is driving because of her learning disability. She was driving by herself going to her after school job.

  • Annie M

    Sometimes do it yourself is not all that it’s cracked up to be. A real travel agent would have been able to better serve these people. And again – had they booked directly through the airline instead of a third party they probably would have known this before hitting the buy button.

  • Annie M

    I agree – is the cost of the tickets with the fees still cheaper than they would have paid with a main airline? If so then they still came out ahead.

  • James

    AJ Peabody has the real issue: Is Orbitz an “on-line travel agency” or just a “ticket broker.”

    I expect my travel agent to inform me of the expected additional fees associated with a purchase, whether they are luggage fees, or resort fees or whatever. That is a big part of their job, and their value-add.

  • Jeff W.

    Do not advocate. You are wasting your time. Orbitz clearly indicates that you need to check with the carrier for any additional fees and the business model of Spirit is predicated on such fees to make money.

    If you are not computer savvy and do not travel very often, then should not be a DIY exercise. If not a travel agent; then a child, grandchild, neighbor, or friend could have walked them through the process.

  • Michael__K

    There were competing bills with similar names from both parties. Chris linked to both.

  • Michael__K

    The code change is not the issue. The issue is their business model. Carriers, especially the bottom feeders like Spirit and Frontier, want their flights to show up at the top of OTA’s search results when flights are displayed by price, as is usually the default.

    If they publish all their fees (and if the fees cannot be changed after purchase) then OTA’s could easily allow customers to select their choice of add-on options and display flights sorted by all-inclusive prices in real-time. Which would mean Spirit’s and Frontier’s flights wouldn’t appear at the top nearly as often.

  • Michael__K

    None of this information is available on third party websites which sell Spirit and Frontier flights.

    And this is by design. The low cost carriers are opposed to publishing this information to GDS’s such that OTA’s can programmatically see them, because they want their flights to show up at the top of the search results, without those fees being included.

  • Michael__K

    That’s great for people booking on Spirit. Spirit opposes publishing of ancillary fees to GDS’s, which would address the problem faced by consumers booking on OTA’s.

  • Michael__K

    It’s fairly common for Spirit/Frontier flights to show up as the cheapest flights on OTA’s, even when they are considerably more expensive inclusive of carry-on fees.

    OTA’s cannot support apples-to-apples price comparisons — and this is because carriers have blocked efforts to require for ancillary fees to be published to GDS systems, just like base fares, . But the way flights are sorted by price, inexperienced consumers think they are looking at apples-to-apples comparisons.

  • Michael__K

    The fee cannot go up after purchase, thank goodness, as of 2011, in spite of the industry’s intense lobbying efforts to the contrary. Otherwise what is the point of doing research if the price can go up by any arbitrary amount later?

    Under 14 CFR 399.88, any seller of scheduled air transportation within, to, or from the United
    States (or of a tour or tour component that includes scheduled air transportation within, to, or
    from the United States) is prohibited from increasing the price after the air transportation has
    been purchased by the consumer, except in the case of an increase in a government-imposed tax
    or fee if the potential for an increase was disclosed as required prior to purchase. The
    prohibition on increasing the price includes increases in applicable carrier-imposed mandatory
    fees such as fuel surcharges, as well as increases in fees for ancillary services such as those for
    checked baggage, carry-on baggage, advance or upgraded seating assignments, pillows and
    blankets, and meals, whether or not these items are purchased along with the air transportation.
    Section 399.88 caps the price of ancillary services and products for a given consumer at the time
    that he or she purchases the air transportation, as the existence of a fee for other services or
    products related to air transportation, as well as the amount of any such fee, can influence a
    customer’s purchasing decision

    But the airline lobby has succeeded, thus far, to resist efforts to require publishing of ancillary fees to GDS’s. Which is why OTA’s can’t see them and disclose them to customers.

  • Michael__K

    I would agree except the OTA’s can’t do their job properly because ancillary fees aren’t published to the GDS systems which are used to search and book fares. And the carriers fight to keep things this way.

  • Michael__K

    Because they don’t know what they don’t know.

  • Pat

    Mandatory fees and taxes should be included in the total cost for proper comparison. If every passenger and airline has to pay it, include it. Luggage and carry-on fees are optional not mandatory. While the government has to make laws to protect from bad behavior by the airlines, people also have to take some responsibility to research to make an informed decision. And if the person cannot do that themselves, they need to get someone that can help them make an informed decision. We should not be requiring every possible optional fee be disclosed with the price before the purchase. There has to be a middle ground that protects the passenger while not

  • Michael__K

    For many trips for many passengers, some sort of bag, at least a carry-on bag is not optional. The passenger can do all the research in the world, and it won’t matter if the carrier changes their size limits and their pricing after purchase.

    The carriers should take some responsibility and publish these fees to all their distribution channels. The only reason to hide this information is if they hope customers don’t find it.

  • Rebecca

    But that’s not a fair argument, it simply isn’t an excuse. Ignorance of the law is not a defense. I can’t go commit a crime, and then expect no consequence just because I didn’t know it was against the law. Life doesn’t work like that.

  • Rebecca

    This is a true story. Many years ago, when I was getting my drivers license when I turned 16 (I’m 35 this month), my mom took me to the local office on a Saturday morning. It was very busy, so there was a line out the door. We’re standing outside chit chatting with a woman a bit older than my mom was at the time and her elderly mother.

    They were telling us the mother was getting her drivers license for the first time. She was 86, and had never driven, but her husband that drove her everywhere had passed earlier that year. This was the fifth different office she had been to. I don’t know if this is still the case in Illinois, where I grew up, but at the time you were apparently allowed to fail the behind the wheel test six times. After six failures, you had to wait a year from the date of the last test to try again.

    The first two tests, she took at her local office and failed. Then they tried at three additional offices. The one we were at was their fifth office, sixth test. They were trying different offices because (I swear they actually said this) they knew she’d probably fail and they were hoping to get a sympathetic person administering the test. After all, the daughter was going with all these times, swearing up and down to the person giving the test that she’d male sure her mom got more practice before she drove alone. All of them had explained she could get a learner’s permit, but that was just silly and they didn’t want that. What was the big deal?

    As we’re leaving later, with my new drivers license, my mom was telling me that the elderly woman had again failed the behind the wheel test. The daughter was apparently pleading and then started to get nasty with the instructor. They did not get her a permit. And we watch as this elderly woman gets behind the wheel of the car to drive home, illegally as she has no license or permit. And she promptly backs right into a car in the parking lot and drives off. And yes, we did get their plate and go give the info to the person whose car it was. It left quite a dent, and we saw her pulled over a few blocks away because the employees saw it happen and called the police.

  • Michael__K

    What law did they break? That’s an off-target, and frankly offensive, comparison.

    As a matter of fact, it’s the airline industry which enjoys a completely unique regulatory arrangement, in which they are immune from FTC regulations and from most state and local laws, unlike any other industry. You might notice that OTA’s do a better job of disclosing fees for hotels and car rentals, even if those disclosures aren’t as prominent as ideally they should be.

    The customer deserves to be allowed to see the full terms of sale before purchase. Yet this is not the case and even the regulars here who boast about their savviness — including travel agents — have betrayed a lack of awareness that air carriers are not required to disclose the full rules of the fare you purchase(d) except at physical ticketing locations. i.e.. at the airport.

  • Bill___A

    It is unfortunate that they didn’t know but the best thing to do is to chalk it up to experience. I don’t like those fees either, and I don’t fly those airlines. If I got caught in this situation, I would pay the fee that one time and not fly them again.

  • JewelEyed

    Is it reasonable to decide to fly an unfamiliar airline without doing any research on them?

  • Altosk

    Congressmen (and women) get too many kickbacks and favors from the airlines for anything to pass that would benefit the common man.
    Also, don’t advocate. I’m sorry these folks didn’t do their homework, but its not like the information isn’t easily available at their fingertips.

  • MarieTD

    I call these The Invisible Rules which seasoned travelers assume novices “should” know. How is the novice traveler to know there are additional actions they must take after they’ve already followed all the rules they know about? When is it safe to stop looking further for traps?

  • cscasi

    I guess they should go online and go to the website of the Airlines(s) they are going to fly and familiarize themselves with the fees and add-ons that they can be or will be charged. That, or they should go through a travel agent who will point out everything to them as a part of the service it provides.
    I realize that many non-frequent flyers are not aware of all these things, but they are just going to have to take the time to become aware if they are going to fly. Things are not going to get better in the airline industry any time soon; not as long as they continue to make more money from all these fees.

  • I am a senior, yet I am computer savvy, but there was a good deal of thought before I finally clicked “No”. It seems to me if you are not computer savvy, you should be using a travel agent.

    Alternatively, I have to agree with AJPeabody “If ‘fees’ means what it says, buying a ticket which includes fees should, well, include fees.”

    jmj also has a point about changing fares, etc. However, it would behoove sites like these to put one sentence in large red lettering “Read the baggage restrictions for this airline before you make your final purchase.” It seems to state various disclaimers in the Terms of Use or Service as disingenuous and actually a backhanded way to do business.

  • cscasi

    I just went on Orbitz and asked for flights from DFW to MCO. Of course, Spirit was at the top. I added the two flights and then on the next screen on Orbitz, on the right side, here is what it shows:
    Important Flight Information

    We want you to know the airline you’re travelling with has the following restrictions regarding your flight.
    Tickets are non-refundable and non transferable. Name changes are not allowed.
    All Spirit Airlines fares are nonrefundable
    Spirit’s low Bare Fares™ get you from A to B with a free personal item (such as a purse or small backpack) that must fit underneath your seat (Maximum dimensions: 16”x14”x12”)
    Additional purchases required for:
    One carry-on bag per passenger
    All checked bags (over-weight charges apply starting at 41 lbs)
    Advance seat assignments
    All onboard drinks and snacks
    For the full pricing list, please visit: Spirit AirlinesOpens in a new window
    Estimated fees for baggageOpens in new tab and other optional services.

    So, excuse me, but it does seem to show that at least Orbitz DOES show the information that supposedly is not available on third party sites. It’s clearly called out before one gets to the actual booking and payment page. While it does not call out the exact charges, one can certainly check the carrier’s website or call and find out.

  • joycexyz

    Chris’ columns should be mandatory reading for anyone anticipating travel! Many lessons to be learned, as well as self-defense tactics.

  • joycexyz

    I like a video I saw a few years ago in which a young man showed how to travel without any luggage. He wore all his clothes in layers, stuffed the pockets with other necessities, and, as a final coup de grace, wore a towel as a cape! Bravo!

  • joycexyz

    If they’re not computer savvy, why use a computer to spend a lot of money?

  • joycexyz

    Wow! What a story! The stuff people will do to get their own way never ceases to amaze me.

  • ctporter

    I looked on Orbitz for a random flight from Seattle to Oakland at the latter part of next month. I see that it defaults to cheapest flight, but I can easily sort by other options (length, number of stops, etc). If I pick a Spirit flight I get a new screen showing the flight I picked but, it has a hyperlink (in blue, so it stands out) labeled as “Flight details and baggage fees”. Clicking on that gives me a clear detail of what the fees might be, but also a warning that the fees are an estimate please confirm with the airline. It goes on to say that this flight is not eligible for the best price guarantee. There is also a flight “rating” for this flight (3.8 out of 10). That should also tell me something about that flight and/or the airline. I compared the results with an Alaska flight (the one that came out cheapest) and saw it was rated as “A very good flight 7.8 out of 10”, and the Flight Details link shows carry-on as free and details the fees for other checked bags – 1st, 2nd, and how to pay including a tip that fees may be cheaper if purchased directly from the airline. I can even preview seat availability to determine if I want to book that flight due to seating options or not. All this was gained by ONE CLICK from the results of my search. I do not think that is in anyway onerous to a user. The fees are not buried in the fine print of some terms and conditions page. I cannot think how this could be more clear even though I never use Orbitz (or any online OTA for that matter). Ive learned to book direct, or when traveling for business use my corporate TA.

  • Travelnut

    Well, yeah but normally code changes are tested in a development environment before they’re released to production. I’m sure airlines and OTAs make code changes all the time. Just not when they’re favorable to the consumer.

  • Michael__K

    If you book on Spirit’s website, then the add-on’s are offered and live pricing is shown. Orbitz can’t replicate this because this content is not published for them.

    It’s good that Orbitz shows at least the general information you quote now. I’m not sure when they started doing this, it wasn’t always there. Note that they have to maintain such content manually, entirely on their own, which means it could be out-of-date.

  • Blamona

    So if I break the law and didn’t know it was against the law, I can get away with it? Should this be under your sarcastic thread? Seriously I feel bad they didn’t read everything before buying, but in this day and age you must!

  • gpx21dlr

    Gee, I bet he was very comfortable during his flight…not.

  • MarkKelling

    Yes, but you can only test what you expect will occur. :-)

    I remember once way back when the internet was new. Someone I was working with then coded a customer feedback form (by hand, no tools or fancy drag-n-drop screen builders existed yet) and it was rigorously tested for all possible data being entered including garbage. Immediately after it was moved in, the web page started failing, customer were calling, it was a complete disaster! Why? The page was coded so that each field could only be filled in the order the programmer thought they should when you tabbed into it. If you clicked into another field that was not the next one expected, the web page threw up all sorts of errors that were not recoverable from. So, thoroughly tested, but completely missed catching what everyone else said should have been the first thing looked at! It never happened again. :-)

  • DepartureLevel

    Because they think they are getting a “cheap” deal. Cheap = Paying a higher price in one way or another.

  • ctporter

    I seem to recall a certain phrase that went something like “caveat emptor” which might have been around a while….. but, it seems to be only recently (the computer age of DIY) that a buyer need not necessarily be aware of any terms or conditions, nor even have to adhere to them (my turn to be slightly ironic) I too feel bad for the passengers, sadly though this was entirely their fault and even worse, was easily avoided or determined.

  • Rebecca

    I apologize, I didn’t mean it offensively. The adage that immediately sprang to mind was ignorance of the law is not a defense.

    I don’t disagree that a customer needs to see the full terms before purchase. However, the fact is, from my perspective anyways, consumers have really created this problem. I suppose a better adage would be that the cheap comes out expensive or penny wise and pound foolish. In the case of air travel – even more than any other product I can think of – travelers are so price sensitive that they will choose one option over another to save literally a few dollars.

    When I make any purchase for hundreds of dollars, I take the time to do my research. I don’t just look for the cheapest possible option. If you buy the cheapest possible item, especially when it’s a relatively expensive purchase, odds are you’re going to get what you pay for. You don’t need to buy the most expensive one, but you need to actually look into your options to make sure the item you’re purchasing suits your needs and works with your lifestyle.

    I don’t think that purchasing airfare should somehow be exempt from this requirement. Everyone should do their due diligence. Are there times it could be more clearly disclosed? Sure, of course there are. I’d say it’s similar to buying the cheapest item and discovering when you get home that it didn’t include batteries. All the more expensive models and versions came with batteries. But if you just buy the bare bones cheapest, based only on price, any adult should know that they should check for the tiny print on the bottom or buried on the back of the package that says batteries not included.

  • kittymocha

    These type of travel sites (Orbitz, Travelocity, etc.) need to have a notice that is very prominent that the customer NEEDS TO CONTACT THE AIRLINE THEY ARE BOOKING TO CHECK ON ADDITIONAL FEES. Put the notice is bold, capitols and with something like **** before and after the notice so people are warned they don’t know what the airline fees are. One person posted that these types of sites don’t have all fees listed because of the number of airlines and the number of fees/variations the airline will charge. I think that would be a simple fix and then it would totally be on the backs of the customer if they don’t read thoroughly the information on the site.

  • Jeff W.

    Spirit’s whole business model is selling cheap fares and making money on the add-ons. They are quite proud of that fact and getting any type of refund from them is very next to impossible. They won’t do it and it isn’t worth the effort to try.

  • Jeff W.

    I agree. As someone who works in systems and had an done an occasional test plan or two, we sometimes say “users do the darnedest things”.

    Because I have certainly designed screens where I expected it to be used like A, and maybe have accounted for B, C, and D. And the professional testers even come up with E, F and G. Then when it goes out into the real world, an option Z is presented.

    There are so many moving parts. And properly testing, code reviews, and QA is an expensive undertaking.

  • Tigger57

    Should have used a travel agent! They would have explained all the fees and helped decide if they were really saving money in the long run.

  • Hanope

    These days, that’s definitely true. People that I know who used Spirit did so a few years ago, so the website may not have been quite as transparent. I know they told me how shocked they were to find out all these fees. I wasn’t surprised at all, I knew. But then, I travel more often.

  • Daddydo

    There is not a judge in the land that will rule in the Sanders’ favor…..yet. I did not understand has never stood up in court. It is indeed time to sue the airlines, if a suit can be made, instead of waiting for the Transparent Airfare act to never be enacted. Cruise lines, tour companies, airlines, and OTA’s, are charging fees for anything that they wish. There is no control in place unless you are an incredible interpreter of rules and regulations. Every travel agent in the country including the OTA’s know that their are al lot of fees for the 3 bottom feeders: Allegiant, Spirit, and Frontier. If I don’t travel very often is a huge excuse. Then you are in a too bad so sad situation. These bottom feeding airlines look to make their entire profit off of these fees, especially the ones paid directly at the airport instead of on-line, so know what you are doing before you purchase, or go to an agency that knows what they are doing. (or ask a 2nd grader for assistance)

  • BMG4ME

    People want cheap fares and some people don’t understand that in order to get cheap fares the discount on the full fare has to be made up from somewhere. I actually think that carry-ons should be charged for and checked baggage should be free.

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