Mandatory Spirit fees not included in booking price

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Oct 15, 2017
As much as many people hate flying Spirit because they hate being charged for every little thing that is not a core "butt in the seat" charge that can't be avoided, there are those of us who fly relatively short routes, and have no problem traveling light and avoiding any/all of those fees that can push the cost of a Spirit flight towards that of a legacy airline (at least in some cases). In the same vein, there are those of us who appreciate Spirit's transparency in pricing, where you are able to view the exact components of every flight price (all mandatory taxes and fees) before you make your purchase decision.

Well, my opinion on this front of the airline fell today, when I was booking a flight from MDE to FLL, and noticed that the price displayed on the booking page was always $17 higher than the price displayed when I searched for the flight on the Spirit website, even if I clicked through immediately to book. Confused by this difference, which manifested itself on multiple occasions no matter what I did, I called Spirit, and eventually was told by a rep that the $17 higher fare wasn't a pricing mistake, and instead was due to the combination of a new $2 fuel charge and a new $15 Colombian government tax. She wasn't sure why the price wasn't displaying on the website when I searched for flights, and only when I got to the booking page.

So great, thanks Spirit, I appreciate the transparency after waiting on the phone for 15 min to talk with a rep, but this constant $17 pricing change between search and booking seems (on this fare at least) seems like the definition of non-transparency to me, far beyond the optional fees (for seat selection, bags, etc.) that some people claim make Spirit and other LCC's non-transparent (but which in reality makes them more transparent) , as these are mandatory fees that aren't showing up until the moment I reach the booking page.

So my question is whether anyone else has experienced something similar in terms of mandatory fees not being included in the display price on an airline's site, on Spirit or on any other American airline, and whether its totally above board for them to do so? (And yes, I know they have a disclaimer that says "fares are not guaranteed until purchase," but I always thought that was there to remind passengers about the fact that pricing algorithms can affect prices at the drop of a hat based on demand/supply factors, not that there would be certain fees beyond the display price that I would be obligated to pay).
Feb 9, 2016
be glad they didnt charge you for the phone call

Yes, we have had cases on this website of people clicking thru on an advertised price only to get a higher price on click thru. And this has happened to me personally beforee. I cant recall specifics but it has occured.
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
There are not "mandatory fees" that are required to be shown on the booking page, thanks to Congress who is paid big bucks from the airline lobby to not have to do this.

A bill was pushed in 2014 and never finalized and not passed. There is talk of reintroducing it, but there are parts of the bill that do not truly allow ALL fees to be indicated.
Likes: Warren