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No frills airline challenging Alaska Air for Portland-San Diego business

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on Aug. 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
August 29, 2012 3:20 pm

Low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines is challenging Alaska Airlines in another one of its monopoly non-stop routes.

Spirit announced this week it will begin flying between Portland and San Diego this fall. Alaska is the only airline now providing non-stop service on that route, three flights daily.

Spirit, which also flies from Portland to Las Vegas and Dallas, says it will offer one-way fares beginning at $29.80 each way on the San Diego route.

That amount isn’t likely the amount you’ll be paying. Spirit, like Ryan Air in Europe, is known to changing myriad additional fees for services other airlines such as Alaska include in their fares.

Spirit, for instances, charges fees for both checked and carry-on bags. On-line reservations trigger another fee of up to $16.99 each way as a “passenger usage fee.”

Seat selection requires payment of yet another fee as well. Onboard refreshments including sodas require payment. Printing a boarding pass at the airport either at a kiosk or at the passenger counter incurrs yet another charge.

The Miramar, Fla., airline, nonetheless has attracted a following who claim they can cut their travel expenses if they’re careful about dodging the extra fees and book early to get one of the limited number of ultra-low-cost fares.

Spirit , which flies more than 200 flights daily, doesn’t yet serve Sea-Tac Airport.

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