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What Spirit Airlines CEO Deems 'Not Essential' to Air Travel

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DailyFeed
Spirit Airlines chief Ben Baldanza sat in front of Congress this week to defend his company's hand in the popularization of ubiquitous airline fees. Baldanza has become a prime target for frequently frustrated fliers as Spirit leads the industry in extra charges and collected 21% of its revenue from fees at the end of 2009, according to ABC News -- far above the average of 6.5%.

But while that may appear to be blatant abuse of a necessary service, Baldanza justifies the extra fees because it keeps ticket costs low.

"We are certain that Spirit's decision to unbundle services not essential to the transportation of passengers, has enabled more passengers to fly at lower cost," Baldanza claimed. "Indeed given our low fares, it has allowed many to travel who otherwise simply could not afford to do so."

But what exactly are these "not essential services" that Spirit Airlines has omitted from the base ticket price? Extra leg room? Wi-Fi? Three-year-old episodes of Two and a Half Men?

How about luggage?

Spirit charges extra for both checked and carry-on bags placed in overhead bins. Carry-on luggage, Baldanza claimed, also contributed a "safety risk" to flight attendants and added delays to the lockstep flight schedule of your typical airport.

And judging from the list of extra costs, advanced seat selection, cups of coffee, and soon, reclining seats are all services Spirit deems "not essential."

So, be grateful, America. Spirit may charge you for the carry-on, but wearing a few dozen extra layers of clothing is, as of yet, a free alternative.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.
TAGS:  AIRLINES, FEES, SPIRIT, AERIAL DESPAIR    SOURCE:   ABC News

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