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Spirit says "Lower fares generally available at the airport."

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Old Apr 1, 12, 12:14 am
  #31
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ATL is such a sprawler that many people living on the topside could drive 70 or so miles RT to get to the airport, and the counter operation is a small one.

The whole "Passenger Usage Fee" is sleight-of-hand on steroids. It's based on the business model of TicketMaster (an even more consumer-hostile company), which charges a variable "convenience fee" for not having to go to the venue and buy the ticket (and if you do go there, who runs the ticket system there? TicketMaster, of course.). Both Spirit and TicketMaster this get to call their fees "optional" when they really are just by the strictest of definitions.

It looks like the PUF is under pressure now, though, from the government's requirements to quote the total fare including both the taxes and the airline-imposed fees made to look like taxes.

Spirit clearly doesn't like this and has been monkeying around with its website of late, trying to re-introduce pricing opacity while staying within the letter of the law. The calendar feature with "$X more" and "$X less" blocks rather than actual prices is a classic dodge that will probably backfire (simply confusing customers), and trying to list prices with "government's cut" also tries to reframe things a bit (though at least those are real taxes).

They're clearly uncomfortable with being forced into greater transparency, but IMO that just shows how dependent the business model was on pulling people in with some very low-sounding number but then having a total that didn't really resemble that number. And that's before playing a full unbundling game with luggage fees and the like. More people are realizing that the price gap isn't what they'd thought, and if they hit some of the bag and other fees as well they may actually pay more than on a legacy.
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Old Apr 14, 12, 5:38 pm
  #32
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I'm glad to hear that people have saved money this way. I've been wondering for years if it actually works. One thing I still don't understand, though: how does this benefit Spirit? They are paying an airport agent to spend 15 minutes with a customer at the counter (average time according to previous posts) and giving the customer a discount, when they could just be paying what must be very minimal costs to have the customer do all the work online themselves. I can see how they want to justify additional fees wherever they can, but with new fare transparency laws, it's not like they're hiding any convenience fees from an online customer: it's all there in plain sight. So, from Spirit's point of view, what advantage is there to giving a customer a discount at the airport instead of charging them full price (or more)?
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Old Apr 28, 12, 2:50 pm
  #33
 
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I'm planning on taking advantage of this, since I'm flying out on AA next week out of DFW.

Since this is my first time flying Spirit, let alone buying a ticket at the airport, how long should I allow for this on Monday morning at DFW? My AA flight departs at 8.40am. So I probably want to be done with Spirit by 7.20am. And do I wait in the check in line or some other customer service line?

Is DFW a zoo at Spirit on Monday mornings around 7am?

TIA.

Last edited by bmchris; Apr 28, 12 at 3:36 pm
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Old Apr 30, 12, 12:36 pm
  #34
 
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Long time reader, first time poster...

I fly Spirit back and forth from FLL to MCO. I can normally get a roundtrip ticket for $55-$75. I'm going to stop at the airport today and see how much cheaper it can get. According to their site they are only charging me $0.02 for the flight and the rest are "taxes and fees" $33 is the "passenger usage fee"

I'll repost later today to let you know how it works out for me. If it really saves a lot this will be a lifesaver for me!
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Old Apr 30, 12, 6:17 pm
  #35
 
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Originally Posted by cody27 View Post
So, from Spirit's point of view, what advantage is there to giving a customer a discount at the airport instead of charging them full price (or more)?
Spirit doesn't pay taxes on the fees, only the fares, so they'd rather the pax pay a greater percentage in fees over fares. The passenger usage fee was a creative way to get another fee after they had already maxed out the bag and seat fee concept.

They know that majority of the people will buy online because going to the airport just to buy tix is inconvenient, so those pax will pay the fee, which can be a fee, because it's still optional. One could go to the airport. However, Spirit often has online coupons (e.g. 35OFF) that can only be used when purchasing online, thus make going to the airport not worth it.

Another benefit with Spirit going to secondary airports is Spirit gets associated with airports when it is the only carrier (ACY, LBE, Phoenix-Meza, Niagara Falls), and these airports get listed with lowest average fare (but fees aren't mentioned!).

As much as I dislike the practice, the public university that I attended used to have hefty fees along with tuition, and fees weren't refundable. So, it isn't just a practice by commercial airlines.

Last edited by rtalk25; Apr 30, 12 at 6:30 pm
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Old Apr 30, 12, 7:39 pm
  #36
 
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Went to FLL today on my way home....
my trip from FLL to MCO online was $119.20
At the gate.... $43.24!!!!!
I was dumbfounded (as was the agent, she thought she accidentally hit one customer instead of two)

Also checked on a one way to Boston for the summer...came out to $19 cheaper per person. If you live close enough, its basically helping you pay for a big front seat or a bag!!
Not a bad deal at all
Now if only I could get them to refund me for the rest of my $9 fare club membership!
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Old May 12, 12, 12:38 am
  #37
 
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Spirit Fares at Airport ARE Lower!!

Tonight I went to the Ft Lauderdale airport to see if it was really true. I have been watching Southwest & Spirit for about a month for fares to Chicago. My kids are flying to see my ex June 11 - July 14. We usually use SWA so went there first. On line price $127 each way each kid (3) to Midway total $760.80. NO discount for airport - in fact alot higher. Then we went to Spirit. On line price was $118.78 each way each kid to O'Hare for total of $712.68. BUT if I purchased them at the airport, it was only $99.79 each! I had read it was the passenger use fee, but it was even more than that! So, on that flight, with 3 kids round trip, the total was $598.74! That is a savings of $113.94!! I don't know why since they charge for everything else, inclusive of printing out your boarding pass there - it is now $5.00 so they told me.
ANYWAY, it pays to read these postings and check it out. The airport is only 30 minutes away so it was well worth it.
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Old May 14, 12, 2:16 pm
  #38
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I've purchased tickets at BOS on several occasions. It has always taken multiple staffers to figure it out but they finally did it. The counter opens and closes several times during the day based on flight schedules so it's best to arrive at the airport at a time when a flight is near departure. (On one occasion I arrived 30 min prior to a departure and saw a surprising number of frantic passengers cutting it pretty close considering that they needed to check baggage and get a boarding pass.)
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Old May 15, 12, 5:10 pm
  #39
 
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Thanks for all of the advice everyone -- quick question. Has anyone re-booked at the airport?

It looks like I'll need to cancel/rebook a flight in July, and was wondering if it's just easiest to do it all at the airport (cancel and rebook), or do the cancellation online, and bring the info with me to the airport (I could see this being more complicated possibly).

I don't live very far away from the airport, and it looks like I could save the $30+ on PUF, so that would be nice.
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Old May 15, 12, 5:26 pm
  #40
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Originally Posted by mjm855 View Post
Tonight I went to the Ft Lauderdale airport to see if it was really true. I have been watching Southwest & Spirit for about a month for fares to Chicago. My kids are flying to see my ex June 11 - July 14. We usually use SWA so went there first. On line price $127 each way each kid (3) to Midway total $760.80. NO discount for airport - in fact alot higher. Then we went to Spirit. On line price was $118.78 each way each kid to O'Hare for total of $712.68. BUT if I purchased them at the airport, it was only $99.79 each! I had read it was the passenger use fee, but it was even more than that! So, on that flight, with 3 kids round trip, the total was $598.74! That is a savings of $113.94!! I don't know why since they charge for everything else, inclusive of printing out your boarding pass there - it is now $5.00 so they told me.
ANYWAY, it pays to read these postings and check it out. The airport is only 30 minutes away so it was well worth it.
Welcome to FT!
Did you also happen to look at other legacy carriers?
(i.e. AA, DL, COdbaUA, US)
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Old May 17, 12, 11:04 pm
  #41
 
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Originally Posted by pykerl View Post
Thanks for all of the advice everyone -- quick question. Has anyone re-booked at the airport?

It looks like I'll need to cancel/rebook a flight in July, and was wondering if it's just easiest to do it all at the airport (cancel and rebook), or do the cancellation online, and bring the info with me to the airport (I could see this being more complicated possibly).

I don't live very far away from the airport, and it looks like I could save the $30+ on PUF, so that would be nice.
Just a quick update, I just cancelled online (saved $10 vs. the airport I believe), and just went ahead and booked online since I changed from a RT to a one way (so I was under the amount paid anyways). I added a checked bag to make up the difference -- so it did allow me to allocate the cancellation voucher towards baggage fees and taxes/fees, so that was nice.
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Old Jun 18, 12, 10:23 pm
  #42
 
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I just got a SAN-LAS RT at the airport.
Online it was $61.58
I went to airport and they waved the passenger usage fees each way ($15+) and I got it for $23.68. lol.

I think I'm gonna stick with UA tho
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Old Jun 19, 12, 4:54 am
  #43
 
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This is great advice, I did not renew my $8 fare club membership and will buy future tickets at MCO directly.
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Old Jun 19, 12, 11:15 am
  #44
 
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Made the trek out to Terminal 2 at MSP and bought my first Spirit flight, the check in area had a solid vibe of "caveat emptor" with pretty much every passenger checking in leaving with a fair amount of cash less than they arrived.

I thought I arrived at a quiet time but a delayed flight killed that idea, after waiting for 10 minutes for the sole agent that could handle selling tickets the puchase itself took nearly 30 minutes due to seating complications. The trouble came when I wanted to add the Big Front Seat on one of the legs, the agent offered to sell it to me for both directions despite my knowledge their was no availability on the return. That cleared up and the total was ~$25 higher than I expected, it turns out that the Big Seat is more expensive at the airport than online. Booked without seats for an all in roundtrip of $39.60 and I can add a seat upgrade online later.

I was chatting with the agent while he fought wih the computer and was told that about half of the flights since starting service here have faced oversells and told me I was passenger #128 on my flight. Interesting that the low fare still exists with that few seats left. Also how flexible/useless is a Spirit free flight certificate?
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Old Jun 20, 12, 4:12 am
  #45
 
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I think the trick is to buy the ticket at the airport and then later upgrade the seats and buy the luggage online.
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