According to Consumer Reports, "DOT rules require all price advertisements for air travel to list the full price to be paid by the consumer, including all carrier-imposed surcharges." But, as part of a campaign over the summer, "Spirit sent Twitter feeds announcing one-way fares for $9. A consumer who clicked on the link was taken to a second Webpage where the carrier disclosed for the first time that the fare did not include all taxes and fees, and that to qualify, a roundtrip ticket had to be purchased. Only after clicking on another link was the amount of additional taxes and fees disclosed."
Spirit Airlines Inc. was fined $50,000 for failing to list all fees and taxes on its tickets this summer, although half the penalty will be dropped if the airline avoids breaking the rules for a year.
The Department of Transportation said Monday that Spirit tweets, billboards and posters violated full-fare advertising rules that require airlines to state the full price owed by the consumer, including charges imposed by the airline.
The department said that for a short time in June, a Spirit truck-borne billboard and posters advertising flights from Los Angeles had an asterisk next to the price, leading viewers to small print that warned of additional taxes, fees and conditions -- but didn't give a figure for the charges.
Spirit also tweeted about fares of $9 each way, but Twitter users had to follow a link to learn there could be additional fees, and click on another link to learn the amount of the fees and taxes.
In a consent agreement, Spirit said the omissions were accidental.