Angry Over Regulation, Spirit Institutes Snarky Fee

'Unintended Consequence' fee intended to chide transportation department

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 3, 2012 1:10 PM CST

(Newser) – Spirit Airlines is angry over a new Department of Transportation rule—and it's making sure customers know it, by slapping a $2 "Department of Transportation Unintended Consequence Fee" on all tickets. The new rule, which went into effect last week, requires airlines to give customers a full refund, without additional fees, if the customer requests one within 24 hours of booking a flight, USA Today explains.

That may sound innocent, but Spirit insists that it's "costing customers millions," arguing that it will lead to unfilled seats on flights, forcing the airline to spread the resulting costs to other customers. But DOT chief Ray LaHood isn't buying it. "This is just another example of the disrespect with which too many airlines treat their passengers," he said. Spirit has also railed against a rule requiring it to include taxes and fees in advertised ticket prices.

A Spirit Airlines jet is seen in this file photo.
A Spirit Airlines jet is seen in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
A sign is posted stating new fees for carry-on baggage by Spirit Airlines at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Monday, Aug. 2, 2010.
A sign is posted stating new fees for carry-on baggage by Spirit Airlines at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Monday, Aug. 2, 2010.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
A Spirit Airlines Inc. employee walks under a plane on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport in this file photo.
A Spirit Airlines Inc. employee walks under a plane on the tarmac at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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