Following a class-action lawsuit over up to $100 in bag fees intended to “trick and trap consumers,” Spirit Airlines will pay out $8.25 million.

Following a class-action lawsuit over up to $100 in bag fees intended to “trick and trap consumers,” Spirit Airlines will pay out $8.25 million.

Spirit Airlines has agreed to pay a settlement of up to $8.25 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit brought by passengers regarding undisclosed and deceptive baggage fees that could amount to $100. The lawsuit, initiated by a group of first-time flyers who booked their trips through third-party travel websites between 2011 and 2017, alleged that Spirit Airlines’ charges for carry-on bags were intentionally hidden to generate profits. The legal action claimed that the airline employed tactics like ‘bait-and-switch’ and ‘gotcha’ to confuse and trap consumers.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs presented the settlement to a federal court in Brooklyn, seeking approval, and characterized it as a reasonable resolution. The lawsuit contended that Spirit Airlines used misleadingly low prices on travel websites without adequately disclosing the potential additional bag fees that passengers would face at the airport. The airline’s practices were accused of deceiving passengers by presenting attractive airfare deals only to impose substantial fees later.

Passengers who did not pay for a carry-on bag in advance might be confronted with a $100 charge at the gate, even though pre-booking checked bags typically cost around $40. The lawsuit argued that Spirit’s fees were not clearly displayed on its website or third-party vendors’ sites, leading consumers to be unaware of these substantial charges until after purchasing seemingly low-priced tickets.

Originally seeking $100 million in punitive damages, the plaintiffs later abandoned this claim. The class-action lawsuit encompasses passengers who booked flights through platforms such as Expedia, Travelocity, Kiwi, CheapOair, CheapTickets, or BookIt. Those eligible for refunds under the settlement may receive up to 75 percent of their fees back, with the actual amount dependent on the total refund requests from all class members. The settlement’s maximum payout also includes attorneys’ fees.

Similar to other budget airlines, Spirit Airlines relies on ancillary fees to offset lower base fares. Requests for comment on the settlement were directed to Spirit Airlines, headquartered in Miramar, Florida.

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