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Airlines cracking down: How one passenger was banned for two years

Nov. 26, 2020
3 min read
A yellow Spirit Airlines aircraft sitting on the tarmac
Airlines cracking down: How one passenger was banned for two years
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Airlines have banned hundreds of passengers for not wearing masks, but another customer was banned for an entirely new level of bad behavior.

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Spirt Airlines banned a San Diego man for at least two years for basically cheating the carrier out of bag fees -- then teaching his social media followers how to do it too. Spirit called it "egregious conduct."

The low-cost carrier is famous for charging additional fees on its super-low base fares, including checked and carry-on luggage. Not everyone is a fan.

Related: Everything you need to know about flying Spirit

Photo courtesy of Spirit Airlines.

According to published reports, he was banned by Spirit back in October for “showing users how to manipulate a Spirit Airlines boarding pass and fraudulently indicate they paid for a carry-on bag to the financial detriment of Spirit Airlines.”

The man posted a video to TikTok showing how how to do it apparently right before a flight, although he also claimed he didn't need to do it - just that you could. Spirit accused the man of telling his followers which apps to use to successfully manipulate their boarding passes. The Points Guy is not naming the man or explaining exactly how he did it to prevent copycats.

Later the man posted a video to his TikTok account showing the letter from Spirit Airlines banning him for two years. Spirit says he can write to them then and ask to be un-banned. The airline even threatened to report him to law enforcement if he tried to violate the ban.

Related: Why one TPG staffer is so excited about Spirit's new loyalty program

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In fact, it's part of a wave of crackdowns by the airlines on bad behavior. COVID-19 has forced the airlines to better policy bad passenger behavior especially for refusal to wear masks.

Related: How many passengers have been banned for not wearing masks?

Delta has been the most aggressive about banning customers from what we can tell. In fact, the Washington Post reports Delta has banned 460 customers for not wearing masks.

The Atlanta-based carrier is blocking seats through March, cleaning planes at each turn and modifying inflight service protocols.

Related: Delta blocking seats through the holidays

Delta Air Lines requires passengers to wear masks or appropriate face coverings from check-in, to SkyClubs to baggage claim, and of course on the flight itself.

Related: Here’s what might land you on a government or airline no-fly list

The Washington Post also reporting United Airlines told them they'd banned over 300 people and Alaska Airlines has banned 146 so far.

TPG has your complete guide to airplane etiquette during the pandemic. Wear your mask and be considerate.

To summarize? This holiday season, don't be a jerk.

Featured image by SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees