Spirit Airlines Sued Over Carry-On Bag Fees
A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit by Spirit Airlines passengers. They accuse the ultra-low-cost carrier of charging unexpected carry-on bag fees. The lawsuit involves tickets bought through online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Cheapoair, Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity. The Spirit Airlines lawsuit claims these fees often exceeded the cost of their tickets. They totaled millions of dollars a year.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said 22 passengers could sue for breach of contract because there was no evidence that Spirit promptly notified them about the fees, and there were “ambiguities” in the prices they would pay. They know that its online travel agents hide the “gotcha” bag fees people would have to pay at the airport, and make no effort to disclose them.
Spirit countered that federal law precluded the lawsuit, and that its “contract of carriage” specifically provided that a passenger could take one carry-on bag into the cabin, for a fee. Compared with many carriers, Spirit relies more on ancillary fees to offset the financial drag from lower base fares. Other low-cost carrier follow the same business model.
This Spirit Airlines lawsuit is still in the early stages, so we do not know yet how or or if affected customers will be compensated.
The case is Cox et al v Spirit Airlines Inc, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 18-3484.