NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28, 2015: A Spirit Airlines passenger aircraft (Airbus A320) takes off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, New York. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28, 2015: A Spirit Airlines passenger aircraft (Airbus A320) takes off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, New York. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

Spirit Airlines reviews frequently proclaim a common perception: the low-cost carrier imposes strict baggage fees that are unavoidable unless you get on the plane with nothing but a purse or camera bag. Its rules are enforced to the letter, and initial cheap airfare quotes quickly grow when the final tab comes into view.

In my experience, there is truth in this perception. But as with most low-cost carriers, Spirit is misunderstood by a large group of budget travelers who make the false assumption that low-cost carriers are the same as traditional air carriers, only cheaper.

It pays to familiarize yourself with Spirit’s approach to air travel before you make non-refundable bookings with the airline.

Itinerary for Review

The itinerary reviewed on Spirit was a one-way, non-stop flight from Chicago (O’Hare) to New Orleans in July 2016. The total cost of the trip for two passengers was $250.18 USD, which broke down as follows: flight price $130.86, baggage $64, seat reservations $20, and taxes $35.32.