Spirit Airlines to pay $8.25M after class-action lawsuit over bag fees

Spirit Airlines to pay out $8.25M after class-action lawsuit over bag fees of up to $100 designed to ‘trick and trap consumers’

  • A group of first-time flyers on the airline who booked their trips using third-party travel websites between 2011 and 2017 sued the airline six years ago
  • They claimed the budget airline’s carry-on bag fees were a surprise and intentionally hidden to make profit 
  • The lawsuit stated that Spirit’s ‘bait-and-switch and ‘gotcha’ tactics are designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers’

Spirit Airlines has agreed to pay up to $8.25million to settle a class action lawsuit by passengers over sneaky bag fees of up to $100.

A group of first-time flyers on the airline who booked their trips using third-party travel websites between 2011 and 2017 sued the airline six years ago.

They claimed the budget airline’s carry-on bag fees were a surprise and intentionally hidden to make profit. 

The lawsuit stated that Spirit’s ‘bait-and-switch and ‘gotcha’ tactics are designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers’. 

Lawyers for the plaintiffs disclosed the deal in a motion on Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn and asked a judge to approve it, saying it ‘represents a fair compromise.’

Spirit Airlines has agreed to pay up to $8.25million to settle a class action lawsuit by passengers over sneaky bag fees of up to $100

A group of first-time flyers on the airline who booked their trips using third-party travel websites between 2011 and 2017 sued the airline six years ago

They claimed the budget airline's carry-on bag fees were a surprise and intentionally hidden to make profit

In the lawsuit, travelers accused Spirt of advertising misleading low prices on travel websites that did not reveal the bag fees passengers would have to fork out at the airport. 

‘Spirit falsely misled the Plaintiff and numerous other consumers, and continues to mislead consumers into believing that they are purchasing low airfare, when, in fact, Spirit makes up whatever discount it purports to give consumers in fraudulent and unwarranted charges,’ the suit read. 

‘Spirit’s bait-and-switch and ‘gotcha’ tactics are designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers to the public’s detriment.’ 

Those who did not pay for a carry-on bag ahead of time could be forced to pay $100 at the gate to have their bag on the flight, according to the lawsuit- even though bags checked ahead of time usually cost around $40. 

‘Spirit’s fees are not conspicuously shown on its website or the websites of third party vendors, and consumers are often unaware of Spirit’s large and plentiful fees until after they purchase a ticket that initially appeared attractive,’ the defendants argued in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit stated that Spirit's 'bait-and-switch and "gotcha" tactics are designed to confuse, trick, and trap consumers'

The travelers accused Spirt of advertising misleading low prices on travel websites that did not reveal the bag fees passengers would have to fork out at the airport

They said these fees were sometimes as much as the tickets themselves. The plaintiffs originally sought $100 million in punitive damages, though that was dropped from a later version of the lawsuit.

The class-action includes those who boked their flights through Expedia, Travelocity, Kiwi, CheapOair, CheapTickets or BookIt.

Eligible travelers who seek refunds under the deal will get up to 75 percent of their fees back, though it could be lower depending on the total amount of refunds sought by all class members. 

The $8.25 million maximum payout will include attorneys’ fees, according to the motion.

Like other low-cost airlines, Miramar, Florida-based Spirit relies on added fees to help make up for lower base fares.  

Dailymail.com has contacted Spirit Airlines for comment. 

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/652092550/cDcF-xcNhHpkYeZQ?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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