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BUSINESS
May 6, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Florida-based Spirit Airline has come under harsh criticism in the last month for its penny-pinching ways, but the carrier continues to expand its network and post sizable profits. Passenger rights groups cried foul last week when Spirit announced that starting Nov. 6 the cost to bring a carry-on bag on a flight will be $100 when paid at the gate - more than double the current $45 fee. Spirit also raised the fees for passengers who pay for carry-on bags online or at airport kiosks.
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BUSINESS
April 27, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
Florida-based Spirit Airlines has topped another unflattering ranking. A few weeks ago the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund analyzed complaint rates among passengers over the last five years. The ultra-low-cost carrier came out on top of that list. Spirit now ranks at the top again - for the rudest flight attendants. A survey of 3,400 people by the travel website Airfarewatchdog found that 26% said Spirit has the rudest flight attendants. Air Canada came in second with 14%, followed by Frontier Airlines with 11% and Virgin America with 9%. Southwest Airlines was at the bottom of the list, with only 1%. The service given by flight attendants may reflect how they are treated by airlines, according to a flight attendants union.
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BUSINESS
November 22, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The U.S. Transportation Department has fined a Florida-based airline for advertising $9 airfares for its flights from Los Angeles without clearly disclosing the full price, including taxes and fees. Spirit Airlines, which promotes itself as an ultra-low-cost carrier, was fined $50,000 Monday for violating federal aviation laws and Transportation Department rules that prohibit deceptive price advertising. "We expect airlines to treat their passengers fairly, and we will take enforcement action when they violate our price advertising rules,"  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.  For a short time in June, Spirit launched an advertising campaign to promote Spirit's five daily flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
BUSINESS
April 20, 2014 | By Hugo Martin
It may be no surprise that the U.S.-based airline that has drawn the most complaints per passenger over the last five years is Spirit Airlines. After all, the Florida-based carrier is known for super-tight seating and dozens of fees, including charges for soft drinks and carry-on bags. But the executives at the ultra-low-cost carrier are probably not sweating the study results because another report released last week said that Spirit also had the highest profit margin of any U.S. carrier in 2013.
BUSINESS
May 29, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Twenty-four African American pilots and supervisors at United Air Lines filed a lawsuit Tuesday, accusing the airline of a pattern of discrimination that has kept them from being promoted. The suit, filed in U.S District Court in San Francisco, contends that all 24 employees have worked for United or Continental Airlines, which recently merged with United, for more than 14 years and have been illegally passed over for promotions because of their race. "We have endured a habitual, longstanding pattern of discriminatory behavior at the hands of United Air Lines," Terry Haynie, a United pilot said in a statement.
BUSINESS
July 23, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Fifty airlines throughout the world collected $22.6 billion from bag fees and other extra passenger charges last year, according to a study released Monday. The fees that air passengers pay to check bags, change reservations, upgrade to roomier seats and buy food and drinks, among other fees, have grown steadily for the past four years, representing a major share of total revenues for most airlines, according to the study by Wisconsin-based IdeaWorksCompany, a consultant on airline revenues, and Amadeus, a travel technology firm based in Madrid.
BUSINESS
January 20, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Domestic airfares have been climbing steadily since 2009, and there was no letup last year. But the uptick in ticket prices was not as steep as the last few years. Domestic airfares increased 4.2% in 2012 compared to the previous year, to an average of $427 per ticket, according to ARC Corp., a Virginia-based company that completes the financial transactions between 16,000 travel agents and 187 airlines. The good news is that the fare increases have been shrinking. In 2010, domestic airfares rose nearly 13% and climbed 8.5% in 2011, according to federal statistics.
NEWS
May 7, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
The nonprofit Consumer Travel Alliance is urging federal officials to force airlines to be more transparent about their fees wherever they sell airline tickets. The action comes on the heels of budget carrier Spirit Airline 's recent announcement that come November it would increase baggage fees. Among the new prices: a $100 charge for a carry-on bag if you check it at the gate. The alliance called Spirit's fee frenzy "a wake-up call" for the Department of Transportation.
BUSINESS
August 2, 2013 | By Hugo Martín
MIRAMAR, Fla. - At the headquarters for low-cost Spirit Airlines Inc., the word "cheap" is not an insult. It's a business philosophy championed by the airline's chief executive, Ben Baldanza. He demonstrates his frugal ways by switching on the lights to his office. Only a third of the light tubes are screwed into the fixtures to save on electricity. Baldanza then pulls a vacuum out of his office closet, which he uses to help save on janitorial costs. "We don't over-spend on that kind of stuff," the 51-year-old executive said with a chuckle.
BUSINESS
April 19, 2010 | By Hugo Martín
Ever since Spirit Airlines Inc. announced this month that it would add a fee of up to $45 per carry-on bag, the airline's chief executive, Ben Baldanza, has been trying to quell the resulting outrage. He went so far as to cram himself into an overhead compartment to argue that with fewer carry-on bags, the boarding process would move faster and the overhead bins would be less cluttered. The result, he said in the video of his stunt: "Everybody wins." It didn't work. Seven U.S. senators have backed proposed legislation concerning the Florida-based airline's carry-on fee. "We are going from the sublime to the ridiculous with airlines," Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.
BUSINESS
August 4, 2013 | By Hugo Martín
MIRAMAR, Fla. - At the headquarters for low-cost Spirit Airlines Inc., the word "cheap" is not an insult. It's a business philosophy championed by the airline's chief executive, Ben Baldanza. He demonstrates his frugal ways by switching on the lights to his office. Only a third of the light tubes are screwed into the fixtures to save on electricity. Baldanza then pulls a vacuum out of his office closet, which he uses to help save on janitorial costs. "We don't over-spend on that kind of stuff," the 51-year-old executive said with a chuckle.
BUSINESS
August 2, 2013 | By Hugo Martín
MIRAMAR, Fla. - At the headquarters for low-cost Spirit Airlines Inc., the word "cheap" is not an insult. It's a business philosophy championed by the airline's chief executive, Ben Baldanza. He demonstrates his frugal ways by switching on the lights to his office. Only a third of the light tubes are screwed into the fixtures to save on electricity. Baldanza then pulls a vacuum out of his office closet, which he uses to help save on janitorial costs. "We don't over-spend on that kind of stuff," the 51-year-old executive said with a chuckle.
BUSINESS
July 28, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
No one ever accused Spirit Airlines of being classy. After all, the Florida-based airline sells wine in a can for $7 and has installed coach seats that don't adjust. Spirit is fortifying its brazen image with new ads that play off the birth of Britain's royal baby as well as the latest misadventures of New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. One ad proclaims, “The Weiner rises again,” alongside an image of a hot dog wearing a mask and suggestive hat. Another shows a baby in a crown getting dropped out of a window.
BUSINESS
June 5, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Spirit Airlines Chief Executive Ben Baldanza recently compared his Florida-based airline to a fast-food restaurant--cheap, with no frills. So it's no surprise that Spirit announced Wednesday that passengers can now relax on a flight with cheap, no-frills wine--in a can. Spirit Airlines has teamed up with another Florida company, Friends Beverage Group, makers of Friends Wine in a Can, to offer what the airline calls "delectable wine products in...
BUSINESS
May 26, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Life is not always smooth flying for airline executives, even with relatively stable profits and growing demand. Take Ben Baldanza, chief executive of Spirit Airlines, the no-frills carrier based in Florida. He had been scheduled to appear on CBS' “This Morning” show Wednesday. By coincidence the latest Consumer Reports airline ratings were released that same day. The survey ranked Spirit dead last by consumers and Baldanza was suddenly in the hot seat, forced to defend an airline that got a 50-point rating on a 100-point scale.
BUSINESS
May 7, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Spirit Airlines, the Florida-based no-frills carrier that introduced fees for carry-on bags, has found another way to pass on its costs to its passengers. The airline quietly replaced its toll-free customer help numbers with regular toll-charge number. "Our new numbers are allowing us to keep our costs low, which we in turn continue to pass along to our customers by way of the ultra-low fares they have come to know and love," said airline spokeswoman Misty Pinson. Quiz: Test your knowledge about airport security The Spirit phone numbers all have 801 area codes, which corresponds to an area near Salt Lake City.
BUSINESS
April 7, 2010 | By Hugo Martin
Spirit Airlines Inc., the low-cost carrier based in Miramar, Fla., announced Tuesday that it would charge passengers as much as $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage. The move is a departure from other airlines that have added or increased fees to check luggage into the cargo bay. Most airlines have added such fees in the last two years to help make up for declining demand. Airline watchdog groups wonder whether the move by Spirit will prompt other airlines to do the same. "The real question is will other airlines follow, and will this actually be good for air travel?"
BUSINESS
April 24, 2010 | By Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times
Spirit Airlines, the air carrier that recently announced a $45 fee for carry-on bags, has launched another change that may not sit well with passengers. The Florida carrier's latest money-saving idea is seats that passengers cannot adjust. The airline calls them "pre-reclined" seats, meaning they are already reclined about 3 inches. Want to lean back to take a nap or sit up to eat a snack? Sorry, these seats won't budge. The airline says the slim new leather seats, built by Brice Seating in Pacoima, are 30% lighter, cutting down on fuel costs and offering 20% more space under the seat.
BUSINESS
January 20, 2013 | By Hugo Martin
Domestic airfares have been climbing steadily since 2009, and there was no letup last year. But the uptick in ticket prices was not as steep as the last few years. Domestic airfares increased 4.2% in 2012 compared to the previous year, to an average of $427 per ticket, according to ARC Corp., a Virginia-based company that completes the financial transactions between 16,000 travel agents and 187 airlines. The good news is that the fare increases have been shrinking. In 2010, domestic airfares rose nearly 13% and climbed 8.5% in 2011, according to federal statistics.
BUSINESS
July 23, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Fifty airlines throughout the world collected $22.6 billion from bag fees and other extra passenger charges last year, according to a study released Monday. The fees that air passengers pay to check bags, change reservations, upgrade to roomier seats and buy food and drinks, among other fees, have grown steadily for the past four years, representing a major share of total revenues for most airlines, according to the study by Wisconsin-based IdeaWorksCompany, a consultant on airline revenues, and Amadeus, a travel technology firm based in Madrid.
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