Tomorrow morning, when my son Joaquin and I catch the first flight of the day out of BWI to FLL on Spirit Airlines, we’ll be armed for low-cost travel.

I bought our two tickets for about $476, including $70 that Spirit calls “the Government’s Cut.”

We’ll have checked in online rather than at the airport to save $20.

We’ll have minimal baggage.

If we do check bags, I’ll do it ahead of time to avoid paying $100 per person. “Last-minute purchases slow down boarding and cause delays,” Spirit’s website tells me.

If I do check bags or carry them on board, it will now cost me more than it would have had I paid during my initial booking. Here’s what I mean: If I pay to bring a carry-on bag onboard during online check-in (where I’m at in the process as I write this blog post), it will cost me $45 – 10 smackers more than had I paid before online check-in.

As it stands, I’ll likely check one bag in for the both of us because checking in a bag is cheaper than carrying one on the flight. To check the first bag for one person, it will now cost me $40 – again, 10 bucks more than had I paid before online check-in. (See screen shot below.)


Can I complain? Well, of course I could – but, for now, I won’t.

After all, I shopped for and selected the cheapest price, forgoing more-expensive flights on JetBlue and Southwest. Both were more expensive than Spirit, by the way, even if I’d paid to check one bag apiece; Southwest’s free-checked-bag policy didn’t make a difference.

And the bottom line is that Spirit discloses its miser friendly charges.

Will I regret my purchase? I’ll let you know once I land in the Sunshine State!

Addendum: Veteran aviation policy pro Stephen Van Beek takes issue with Spirit’s reference to the “Government’s Cut.” He writes in the comments section below that the taxes represent air traffic control services, “capital and other costs of Spirit doing business. Their rhetoric clouds the public’s perception of how we pay for and operate the National Aviation System.”