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Spirit Air Plummets to New Low in Airline Industry

Spirit, the airline based in Miramar that has a frat boy's sense of humor and a  loves to brag about its low fares has committed some low-down tricks, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which today announced a $375,000 fine. That's a record!

But is it enough to knock the smug smile off the face of CEO Ben Baldanza? Doubt it.

From the Biz Journal:

Spirit bumped passengers from oversold flights, but did not provide compensation or a written notice of their rights to compensation as required. Spirit also failed to resolve baggage claims within a reasonable period, on one occasion taking 14 months to provide compensation.

In addition, the airline violated DOT rules by providing compensation for delayed baggage only for the outbound leg of round-trip flights and only for purchases made more than 24 hours after arrival.

Spirit also violated baggage liability laws for international travel by refusing to accept responsibility for missing laptop computers and certain other items it accepted as baggage, the DOT said.

The airline violated DOT rules requiring airfare ads to state the full price by omitting carrier-imposed fees from the base fare. Spirit also violated DOT rules by failing to retain copies of consumer complaints and by failing to file required reports in a timely manner, the DOT added.

Prospective Spirit passengers may want to draw up a checklist before buying a ticket: Great rate, but does my plane come with wings? With pilots? With landing gear?

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Thomas Francis

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