The Secret to the Penny Fare

I traveled for a penny….okay I didn’t really walk up and give the airline a penny, but that’s how much Spirit made off of me since I only had a personal item.

Let me go back….Spirit is known for the “Bare Fare,” which in their words includes “gas [to get you there] and [a seat for your] ass.” Everything else cost extra and that includes using their website.

When searching for a flight on any airline, they are required to show you a total price including any fees, taxes or other charges for a basic ticket (not including baggage). This allows them to bake in any strange fees like Spirit’s $2 fee for “Unintended consequences of DOT regulation” and $17.99 “customer usage fee,” but remember every fee is meant to be beaten.

What do those fees really pay for? Well, the DOT fee is what Spirit says it cost them to comply with new Department of Transportation regulations that include the 24-hour cancellation policy (booked more than 7 days from departure). The usage fee is a fee to buy through their website.

You can avoid these fees by buying your ticket at the airport (major credit cards only). It requires standing in line with departing passengers so plan to purchase well ahead or after check-in times. I like to combine it with a departing or arriving trip so I’m not paying for parking to avoid paying a fee.

This works for any of the ULCCs. Frontier charges $10-$19 for using its site. Allegiant charges $13. Keep in mind these are per leg per person. A round-trip ticket for a family of four could pay nearly $160 just for the privilege to buy a ticket from home.

Remember anyone can buy a ticket for anyone else, so feel free to ask a friend for help. They will need your birthday though.

Finally, make sure to check counter hours before going to the airport. Allegiant puts them online. Frontier is generally open two-hours to 30 minutes before departure time. Spirit has the longest counter hours, but they also restrict sales about an hour before departure and when only one agent is available.

The penny fare is really listed on Spirit.com at $38.09. When you strip away the aforementioned fees it will bring your total down to $14.21. The government gets $14.20 and Spirit makes $.01. Just my two-cents.
The Secret to the Penny Fare The Secret to the Penny Fare Reviewed by Brandon on April 03, 2017 Rating: 5

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