Pardon the following rant, but…
I need to take a business trip to Houston to view a new grassroots campaign software program that could be really great for underfunded candidates, especially those who think the GOP’s “Voter Vault” program sucks. My assistant and #1 daughter, Kristen, will be joining me.
So I went to Expedia and checked out roundtrip airfares, and Spirit Airlines popped up as the low-fare leader. I’ve never flown Spirit…I almost always fly Southwest. But my meeting is actually closer to Houston Intercontinental on the north side of the city than Hobby Airport on the south side, so I figured I’d give Spirit a shot.
I mean, how bad could it be, right?
So I picked out the flights I wanted and had the company bringing us in make the reservations for me. They did. And my reservation and receipt were emailed to me. And what a crock of…
The pair of tickets themselves cost $591.06 total. But then came the add-ons!
If I wanted to select my seats in advance, rather than be assigned my seats randomly at the airport on the day of the flight…risking the possibility of not being seated with my daughter…$40 extra. Just to pick two seats together in advance!
And then there was this one, and I still have no idea what it means: $8 for, get this, “Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations.” WTF? The guy on the phone never did explain this, but it says it’s a “carrier fee” which means it’s money that goes into the airline’s pocket, not the government’s.
In other words, it should have just been included in the airfare since it’s mandatory. By itemizing it out separately, it allows the airline to fool customers into thinking it costs less to fly on this airline than it really does. If this isn’t a deceptive trade practice, I don’t know what is.
But it was this next one that really greased my grits: $67.96 for a “Passenger Usage Fee.”
This, too, was a “carrier fee.” I asked what it was for and was told it was a fee tacked on for calling the airline and making the reservation! Seriously? These people charge you to make a reservation to do business with them? To the tune of $67.96! Unbelievable.
But these pirates weren’t through yet. Unbeknownst to me at the time the reservation was made, you’re not allowed to carry on a small bag OR check a small bag for free. Indeed, to either carry on OR check the smallest of suitcases that are free on every other airline I’ve ever flown is going to cost me $35 PER BAG.
And on top of all that, there’s the usual government tax, TSA fee, passenger facility fee and “segment fee,” whatever the heck that is.
So the cost of roundtrip airfare for two people that I was led to believe would be $676.60 (which includes the government’s taxes and fees) is actually going to cost me $862.56 – almost $200 higher than I believed thanks to all the a la carte add-on fees that are included in the airfares of every other airline I’ve ever flown.
As much as I love Southwest Airlines, that’s how much I hate Spirit Airlines…and I’ve never even flown on them yet. I can just imagine the service we’re gonna get once in the air.
We now return you to our regular programming…