SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - It's a deal that sounds too good to be true -- a $9 non-stop airfare from San Diego to Las Vegas. But there may be a catch. Just days after Spirit Airlines announced the deal, some customers started complaining.
One viewer emailed us his itinerary. He was hoping to get a $9 flight for he and his wife, but the trip cost over $270. So what happened? News 8 booked a flight to find out.
Spirit Airlines does offer some seats for $9, but you can only get them if you join their membership club, which comes with an annual fee of just under $60. So we decided to see what it would cost to fly from San Diego to Vegas over Thanksgiving if we didn't join the club.
Flying out on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we found a $39 flight, with a return flight for $99, but that's before $37.40 in taxes and fees, which in fairness to Spirit, you'd have to pay on any airline, bringing our total to $175.40. Not exactly 18 bucks, but not unreasonable for a holiday weekend.
The problem is, Spirit isn't done with the charges. There's a $30 fee each way for carrying on a bag to put in the overhead compartment. If you want to pick out a window seat ahead of time, that's another $10 each way. Suddenly the fare, including one carry-on bag and a window seat is $269.40. But Spirit isn't done.
Most airlines charge for beer and wine, but Spirit charges for soda too, $3. And forget about free pretzels or peanuts -- you can buy snacks starting at $2.
Spirit stands behind its charges, claiming it's transparent. You know exactly what you're paying for each service, and it's not forcing you to pay for the ones you don't want.