An Ohio couple has filed a class-action lawsuit against Spirit Airlines because the low-cost carrier’s pandemic boarding policy stopped them from getting onboard their flight ahead of other passengers. If successful, the lawsuit could make thousands of other Spirit Airlines customers eligible for compensation.
Anthony Pochiro and Barbara Kuhns claim the Florida-based airline sold them queue jump ‘Shortcut Boarding’ for an extra fee knowing that the passes would be of no use because COVID-19 rules meant that the airline was boarding its planes in strict order from back-to-front.
Shortcut Boarding lets customers get onboard in Group 2 ahead of most other passengers and at just $5.99 it seems like a reasonable upgrade to snag overhead bin space and settle in before the hoards of other passengers arrive.
There was, however, one big problem.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Spirit knew that due to state and federal health regulations, it would be unable to allow the early boarding privileges it advertised,” the lawsuit, which was filed in the South Florida District Court last week claims.
When the couple booked their flights from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland, nine months into the pandemic, Spirit continued to sell Shortcut Boarding despite the fact that it couldn’t honor the special boarding privileges.
Anthony Pochiro and Barbara Kuhns claim they only found out that Shortcut Boarding passes were useless when they showed up at the airport and gate agents broke the bad news to them.
Spirit warns that Shortcut Boarding might not be available at all airports it serves but the airlines does not provide a list of routes where the upgrade can be used.
“Spirit, through misrepresentations, intentional omissions, or other business practices in connection with the advertising, marketing, promotion, and sale of Shortcut Boarding reaped benefits, which resulted in Spirit’s wrongful receipt of payments for a service that was not provided,” the lawsuit continues.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the couple argue Spirit has engaged in a “deceptive business practice” in violation of Florida law. They have asked a court to force Spirit to “disgorge” its “ill-gotten profits it received from the sale of non-existing Shortcut Boarding”.
There’s no way of knowing exactly how many other customers could be included in the suit but lawyers want anyone included who bought Shortcut Boarding via Spirit’s website or at the airport who wasn’t able to make use of it.
Anthony Pochiro and Barbara Kuhns have requested a jury trial and have demanded their money back along with damages.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.