Nickel and Dimed by Spirit Airlines

I'm new to South Florida, so I've never had the pleasure of flying on Miramar-based Spirit Airlines before. But as a die-hard bargain shopper, I was thrilled to discover last night that Spirit was offering a direct flight to Boston for $215 roundtrip.

What a steal! That was $75 less than all the other, nondirect flights. Now I could attend my little cousin's bar mitzvah without breaking the bank. My thrifty soul rejoiced.

For less than a minute.

As soon as my ticket purchase was confirmed, a disgustingly cheerful screen appeared asking for more money.

Pick your seat!  The website helpfully noted that the $60, first-class-type seats were the most "popular." I settled for the $12 cramped ones. That's $12 each way, mind you.

Check your baggage! That will be $19 to check it, $30 to carry on -- for each leg of the trip.

My stomach turned. I hate the feeling of being suckered. I hate math even more.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that the carry-on fee won't become effective until August 1, so I can still bring a free bag for my trip in May. But that's small comfort.

When all is said in done, I'll soon be paying just as much for my Spirit flights as I would for any major airline.

Now I'm angry and broke. Welcome to commercial airline travel.

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