Imagine this: a friend calls saying she hooked you up with a great deal at a 5 star hotel in Miami next weekend. All you have to do is book your airline ticket. Pretty sweet, right? We just got that call and it sent us into a flurry of computer searches: Travelocity, Orbitz, Jet Blue, Southwest Airlines. All promising to get you out of the freezing weather at home for $400+ (more than we'd like to spend on a quick two day trip). When all hope is you remember to check all combinations of the airports in our area and the two airports near Miami, and cross reference that with different date combinations (Friday to Sunday, Saturday to Monday, Thursday to Saturday). By this time you're so confused you can't remember which was the best deal; but one thing is certain- none of them was great.
Then there's a beacon, something called Spirit Air can get you down there for $250. You never heard of it, so you check out the reviews. One was literally, "Spirit Air is the worst airline in the world!!!!!" Feeling a little nervous, you go to their website where booking there saved an additional $50. It can't be that bad, right? Plus, there's something on the screen about big, leather seats. Just book it now, worry later. Important part is you'll be in Miami this weekend without breaking the bank.
Afterwards we spoke to a friend who said they'd used Spirit to get to the Caymans and had no problems. Good enough for us. Turns out they bill themselves as an ULCC (ultra low cost carrier) and service vacation destinations predominately. Cross your fingers.
Remember, even though Travelocity and Orbitz- type search engines offer the lowest prices, check the airline's homesite. You could get lucky and save yourself some $$- not quite enough for dinner at Nobu; but close.