When you are booking a flight most of us focus on the price of the flight; this seems fairly straightforward and standard. However, with all of the fees that are out there these days you really need to look closely at what you are getting for that price.
I looked at a sample flight from Boston to Myrtle Beach (a quick flight that is less than 2 hours) from June 7 to June 10, 2012. Spirit Airlines, unfortunately, is the only carrier that flies this route directly without stopping. Spirit’s fare was also the cheapest for any that I checked. However, they nickel and dime you the entire way so that they don’t actually end up being the cheapest. The worst is the charge for having a carry one bag – this seems excessive and is $30 each way.
This flight on Spirit came to a only $240.49. Now add on the extras. $60.00 ($30 each way) for a carry on; also note that this is if you pay for the bag ahead of time. Paying for your bags at the terminal will be significantly more. This, plus taxes, got us up to $337.57 and that was without added fees for a checked bag, being able to choose a seat or pay the extra for a seat in an exit row. Comparing that with Delta, although they had a more expensive fare, the total, because it also includes a free carry-on bag plus a person item, came to $319.20. So, although the Spirit flight is ‘cheaper’ it is really $20 more expensive.
Be very careful when you are booking your flights and check on these add-ons as they quickly add up and you can end up paying more for the ‘cheaper’ flight. Be sure to compare the hell out of your flights and options before booking. TripAdvisor flights does include some options to check fares that include baggage fees but doesn’t seem to include charges for carry-ons just yet.