US airlines are raking in enormous piles of cash from add-ons and fees, and Spirit Airline
led the pack with its controversial fees.
Between 2008 and 2011, Spirit Airlines
made $142 million in revenue its "passenger usage fee
," reports NerdWallet
, a comparison shopping site that dug through the airline's public SEC filings
The fee is incurred for purchasing a ticket in any other place besides an airport ticket counter.
The airline also created fees for things other than the cost of a ticket
, such as checking carry-on bags and the use of an overhead bin.
The fee revenues allow Spirit to dodge the 7.5% federal excise tax on tickets.
This non-ticketed revenue has spiked 974% between 2006 and June of this year, measured as per passenger flight segment.
The fresh cash stream can be valuable in its own right, of course. Between 2006, when it began adding fees in earnest, and 2011, it swung from net losses to $76 million in profit.
But the add-ons aren't without risk. Last week, Spirit was hit with a class-action suit over
its "passenger usage fee," says Huffington Post Travel.
Here's the infographic
on Spirit Airlines' passenger usage fee: