MIAMI (AP) — Low-cost Spirit Airlines is being sued in South Florida over a passenger fee the lawsuit claims is deceptive.

The lawsuit was filed in Miami federal court on behalf of a New Jersey man who paid a $16 passenger usage fee when he bought a Spirit ticket in March 2011. The lawsuit seeks class-action status to represent thousands of passengers who also paid the fee.

Plaintiffs' attorneys say the fee has no real value and that Spirit has misrepresented it as supposedly required or sanctioned by the government.

Spirit has said the fee is used to cover ticket distribution costs. A company spokeswoman said Wednesday that the lawsuit is without merit and that Spirit will defend itself in court.

Spirit offers low fares but also charges a variety of extra fees.

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