Spirit Airlines: Free To Pee

Spirit Airlines has announced that it won’t charge for the use of lavatories on its flights, which I would be relieved to hear if I ever intended to fly Spirit, which I don’t, or if I believed a U.S. airline could get away with charging for lavatories, which it could not.

Look at the uproar Spirit caused by charging $45 for carry-on bags, which was really an attempt to force customers to pay checked bag fees. The Department of Transportation fumed. Congressmen and senators introduced bills.

Charging for lavatories simply would not go over. It’s hard to believe that even Ryanair, which appears ready to sink to any new low it can imagine, isn’t really serious about it.

Spirit made its generous announcement about free lavatories in conjunction with an announcement that it has sold advertising on the bathroom mirrors “to help cover our lavatory costs.” The press release declares that Spirit won’t charge for lavatories because “the airline will not charge for things that are necessary during a flight.”

Really? How about room to sit down? Spirit’s newest jets have a knee-cracking 28-inch seat pitch, cutting 4 inches of leg room from the already cramped standard 32 inches. Who can tolerate that? Maybe very short people — provided they are unconscious.

I’m a budget traveler and I’m always looking for a bargain, but I can’t recommend Spirit Airlines. It has earned an abysmal reputation for customer service. You might put up with that for ultra-low fares, but as the fees pile up, the alleged bargain tends to disintegrate.

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