Spirit Airlines' Next Fee? Talking to a Human

Expect more fees but CEO rules out charge to use the bathroom.

ByABC News
August 2, 2010, 2:19 PM

Aug. 3, 2010— -- Just when you thought airlines couldn't get any stingier, the CEO of Spirit Airlines said he is considering a new fee to talk with a human at the airport.

Yes, the airline that just started charging for carry-on bags might someday add a fee for getting some help from one of its employees, Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza told ABC News.

Baldanza said passengers won't see this fee "in the very near term." Or at least not until the airline improves its airport technology.

"When talking to a human being becomes an option, rather than a necessity, then we're willing to charge for it -- as we do with the call center -- but we're not at that position in the airports today," Baldanza said. "It's not that we don't think it's not a good idea at some point."

Most major airlines, including Spirit, already charge $5 to $25 to make reservations over the phone but no U.S. airline charges passengers to interact with its ticket and gate agents. European discount airline Ryanair -- often seen as a model for Spirit -- does force all its passengers to check in online. Those who don't are charged up to $60 to have their boarding passes printed at the airport.

Stay Up to Date on the Latest Travel Trends From ABC News on Twitter

"Nothing surprises me anymore and passengers should feel the same," said John DiScala, a blogger known as Johnny Jet. "The airlines have been trying to find ways to scheme passengers for a while now and they are willing to try anything. The only way to fight it is to fly another airline."