Spirit Airlines begins flights from IAH to 7 Latin American destinations

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Low-cost air fares to Mexico and Latin America are now available from Houston. Spirit Airlines has begun operating between Bush Intercontinental Airport and seven destinations south of the border.

But before you book, some advice: Spirit is great if you are on a budget because one-way tickets can be bought for under $50; but if you are not careful, hidden fees could hike the price to hundreds of dollars.

Country music greeted the first flight of passengers leaving on Spirit Airlines from Houston to Cancun, Mexico. We found round trip fares as low as $193.

The airline is well known for its eye-popping prices, but even Spirit's own staff admits travelers must follow the rules or risk seeing the price go way up.

"Our complaints mostly is from people being surprised, if they go to an online travel agency and they buy our fare and they go, 'I am thrilled with Spirit I saved $260.' Six weeks later when they travel., they feel that it is a bait and switch," said Spirit Airlines Spokesperson Paul Berry.

Berry says customers may not realize they will be charged $100 at the gate for carry-on bags that do not fit under your seat. Bags checked at the airport also cost $100. It costs $10 to print tickets at the airport. Travelers have to pay for water and drinks once they get on the plane.

However, Spirit's website does break down the charges and how to avoid them by prepaying for services online before you get to the airport.

"Unfortunately, sometimes people do not take that opportunity to get that education," said Berry.

For passengers flying Spirit Airlines, the savings are the key. They tell us as long as you know about the rules, you can save money.

"I was trying to tell my friends, they said, 'They nickel and dime you to death,' and I said, 'So does Delta, but they just package it in one thing and you do not use all the things in there,'" said traveler Desdemona Sesay.

Spirit Airlines will soon serve 22 U.S. and Latin American cities from Bush Airport. But before you buy a ticket, make sure you know all the ways to prevent hidden fees from raising the prices.
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