It was the fare that convinced me. $274 round trip Montego Bay to New York. With fees, the total cost of $366 was just within my budget. I typed in my credit card information and a few minutes later, I had my confirmation via email. I was thrilled.
I arrived at the ticket counter with two suitcases – one half-full, the other empty — and put them on the scale. Even though I’m a light packer, I breathed a sigh of relief when the half-empty one came in under the weight limit.
Then the ticket agent said something about baggage fees. I heard $43 and started to look for the money when a friend who was with me asked if it was for both. No, she replied. The fee is $43 for the first bag, $50 for the second. Ninety-three Dollars total!
You could have knocked me down with a feather. I fumbled around in my wallet, trying to find US dollars that I had tucked away so I wouldn’t get them mixed up with my Jamaican money. Where had I put them?
Flustered, and angry at myself for not noticing the baggage fee when I purchased on Travelocity, I began grumbling. Why didn’t I see the %*&#! baggage fee? Was it in the fine print? Why didn’t I pay attention to the fine print?
One suitcase’s empty, I said plaintively, trying to appeal to her. She didn’t reply. I looked from her to the baggage handler who was waiting to put my luggage on the conveyor belt. He was expressionless.
After this flight, I said addressing her but loud enough for everyone else to hear, I’ll never fly Spirit Airlines again. They just suck you in with their cheap flights then they gouge you on everything else. Don’t say that, she said, but there was no sympathy in her voice as if she’d been reading from a script.
Finally, I found the money and gave it to her. When she handed me a receipt, I stared at the total, thinking how much less it would have hurt if I had just thrown the money away. I was still furious when I landed in New York six hours later.
I checked Travelocity and they do have a line in their General Policies that states, “Airline baggage fees may apply and may not be included in the price.” And according to their information, Spirit’s fee for the first bag is $23-33, $30-40 for the second on international flights. Why was my fee $10 higher?
A check of the airline’s website confirms that I paid $10 more for each bag than what’s listed. This from an airline that claims to “empower customers to save money on air travel by offering ultra low base fares with a range of optional services for a fee, allowing customers the freedom to choose only the extras they value.” Excuse me? When did luggage become an extra?
In Jamaica, we say “the cheapest always works out the dearest.” My total so far is $459 and I still have the return leg of my flight and another fee to pay. In the meantime, I’m going to see about getting back my $20.
For a list of what airlines charge and how much, check out airfarewatchdog’s list.