Dear Spirit Airlines: Thanks for giving me a good deal on a flight to Costa Rica. ($431 Round Trip FTW!) I hope those savings pay for the therapy I’ll need for how badly you tried to violate me with ridiculous fees.

As many of you know, I’m going to Costa Rica for three weeks this summer to learn Spanish and surf. I got time off approved by my manager last week, so I decided to buy my plane tickets and lock in that expense right now. If Libya and the rest of that part of the world keeps acting crazier than Charlie Sheen and driving oil prices up (I’m all for revolution against dictatorships; I aint mad at ya Libya), plane tickets are gonna just get more expensive.

Spirit Airlines – Where we Charge you to Breathe

To fly from Dallas (DFW) to San Jose, Costa Rica (SJO), the cheapest airline I could find was Spirit Airlines. I checked all the big travel sites: Kayak, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire, Cheapoair, and others. In all the sites that had Spirit Airlines, they were the cheapest. To be honest, I’ve never heard of Spirit Airlines, but I figure a plane is a plane, right?

However, as I went to purchase my tickets at a very reasonable price of $431 round trip (including taxes and government fees), the Spirit website asked me a strange question:

Would you like to purchase a CARRY ON for $30 each way?

I’ve heard of airlines charging for checked baggage (which this one does and it’s even more than the carry on charge), but never for a carry on. Is this real life?! At least they were generous enough to give me one personal item. I guess a free bag of peanuts is out of the question.

A plane with one wing

I declined the carry on fee (I can change it later if I want) and then it sent me to a new page where I could pay them more money to pick my seat. Not only did it want to charge to assign me a seat (you even have to pay for crappy back row middle seats), but it was going to charge me PER FLIGHT.

Since my flight has a connection in Florida, I would have had to pay them for both legs of the trip. Then they wanted me to pay for both legs of the return flight. They tried to hit me up for a seat charge for FOUR FLIGHTS. First they inconvenience me with a layover, and then use that opportunity to double their seat selection revenue?! Tell me again why we are mad at Wall Street and not the airlines.

I obviously declined both of those options and just paid my $431. Lindsey Lohan will go a week without doing something illegal before I pay them to assign me a seat (you can have your seat assigned at the airport free), but I may need more than just a personal item considering I’m going to a new country for almost a month.

What Should I Do?

Here are my options:

  1. Pay the $60, pack whatever I think I’ll need in one suitcase and hope I have everything (I have no idea what I will need to bring)
  2. Load up my “personal item” with whatever I can, wear a few layers of clothing on the plane, and try to buy whatever else I need when I get to Costa Rica
  3. Just wear clothes on the plane, and when they get dirty just go naked for the rest of the trip

I’m leaning towards option #2. Not only am I pissed off at Spirit Airlines for trying to wring so much money out of me, but I kinda think it will be fun to just buy some clothes from a street vendor or something and see what happens. It could end up costing me a lot more then $60, but it could also cost very little, depending on if I find the right merchant.

The problem is, I don’t speak a whole lot of Spanish. I’ll need to find the right deal on the streets of San Jose looking like a tourist and speaking very broken Spanish. Oh and try not to get pick-pocketed. Could be tough.

What do you think I should do? Should I fork over the $60 and bring my own stuff, or should I take a chance and see what happens on the streets of San Jose? Or see how long I can go naked in Costa Rica without being arrested/deported?