Amicus Brief Prevails in Spirit Airlines “Gotcha” Fees Lawsuit

For more information, contact Paul Hudson, 
President, at 800-662-1859
Paul Hudson has been a member of the FAA
Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) since 1993
September 13, 2019 – Washington, DC –’s amicus brief by Andrew Appelbaum prevailed in a federal appeals court in New York that said low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines must face a lawsuit alleging that it hides fees from passengers who book on third-party websites.

Reuters reported that the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with 22 passengers suing the airline, who claimed they were “blindsided” by the extra charges for carry-on bags. The court said the carrier did not provide them with any notice about fees, beyond the cost of their tickets.

Spirit aggressively pushes ancillary fees and has 70 “optional fees” that are hard to avoid. Carry-on and checked bag fees can sometimes exceed the cost of the original ticket.

The lawsuit alleges that passengers who book tickets on third-party websites like Expedia or Travelocity are not warned about additional fees for carry-on baggage.

Spirit has eluded the full-fare advertising rules since they were implemented in 2012. The US Department of Transportation requires that all fare advertisements show the full cost of a ticket, including taxes and fees. is the nation’s largest airline passenger organization. It publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and operates a hotline for passengers: 1-877-FLYERS-6.