Spirit Airlines is protesting the new fare rules requiring full disclosure of all costs for a flight, claiming that the government is requiring them to hide the taxes from their customers. And they’re doing it in style. Their main homepage now shows this when you visit:
If you click the link offered you get this:
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s latest fare rules, Spirit must now HIDE the government’s taxes and fees in your fares.
If the government can hide taxes in your airfares, then they can carry out their hidden agenda and quietly increase their taxes. (Yes, such talks are already underway.)
And if they can do it to the airline industry, what’s next?
As the transparency leader and most consumer-friendly airline, Spirit DOES NOT support this new USDOT mandate. We believe the better form of transparency is to break out costs so customers know exactly what they’re buying.
The scary thing here is that I almost actually agree with them.
It is true that, by requiring the big, final price number to be displayed to the customer the actual tax burden is obfuscated. So they’re not really wrong there. But that obfuscation also prevents all sorts of other fees from being hidden, the sorts of fees that Spirit is famous for. And that’s a good thing.
Plus, at the end of the day, most customers care much less about how much of the fare is for taxes and how much is for the airline. A $300 ticket is a $300 debit on my credit card. Whether the airline keeps $150 or $250 of that doesn’t skew whether I think it is a good price for the trip.
Besides, there is nothing stopping Spirit from showing the full breakdown underneath the all-in price. That way they can continue to be a "transparency leader and most consumer-friendly airline" as they always have.