Bottom-dollar carrier Spirit Airlines is trying very hard to become the Ryanair of the U.S., announcing that it will soon begin charging travelers $5 to have a boarding pass printed by a Spirit staffer at the airport.
The fee will start appearing this week, but will not be applied to travel before Nov. 1. On that same date, Spirit will counter the extra cost by lowering fares on nonstop flights by $5 each way.
For now, there will be no fee if you print the pass on your own or at an airport kiosk. However, Spirit says it will begin charging $1 for printing the pass at the kiosk starting next summer. And heaven forbid they take the Tickemaster model and start charging you to print the pass at home.
“We want to give [passengers] the ability to choose the extras they want without forcing them to pay for add-ons they don’t want or need,” Said Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza. “By lowering the fare for everyone and then charging only those who choose for us to print their boarding pass, we let the customer decide. It’s all about consumer choice.”
Cheapo European airline Ryanair has been charging people for printing boarding passes for a while, though a Judge in Spain believes the fee is against the law.
Last year, Spirit became the first U.S.-based airline to charge for carry-on bags, a move that Baldanza called “a consumer benefit.”
More recently, the airline began charging extra to passengers who didn’t pay their baggage fees far enough in advance.
Thanks to Thad for the tip!