Spirit Airlines employees charged in $238,000 reservation scheme

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier headline of this story misattributed the amount the employees allegedly pocketed.

Three former Spirit Airlines employees were charged this week with a scheme to profit off passengers looking to get cheaper flights.

The indictment from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania alleges that two Pennsylvania-based reservation agents and their supervisor would encourage travelers to book cheap future flights, then alter their reservation to a more expensive flight for free without charging the airline's change fee. Instead, the indictment says, the agents would charge customers a "commission" via CashApp and pocket those funds.

Between December 2017 and August 2018, the indictment says the fraud cost the airline more than $238,000 in fees for more than 1,700 flights.

A Spirit Airlines plane at Myrtle Beach International Airport in August 2022
A Spirit Airlines plane at Myrtle Beach International Airport in August 2022

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“As alleged, these defendants used access and privileges granted by virtue of their employment to cheat the airline reservation system and skim money off the top for themselves,” said U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Romero said in a statement.

Although the indictment does not specifically mention Spirit Airlines, it does say that the three people charged with the scheme worked for "a major U.S. airline headquartered in Florida."

Spirit Airlines' headquarters is in Miramar, Florida.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spirit Airlines employees charged with $238,000 fraud