Jump to content
pcur

Tips for flying with Spirit Airlines

Recommended Posts

OK, it has a bad reputation, partially deserved. However, I've now flown 4-5 times in the last year (lost track of how many), and I've got the flying part down to a good comfort zone.  But, there's the ugly truth, too.

 

First the good news.  If Spirit really is the cheapest or best schedule for you, then here's what I learned:

 

Join the $9 Fare Club if you are expecting to fly more than once a year on Spirit.  I did this and I've saved double the cost of the annual fee in seat and luggage costs.

 

Seats - pay for the Big Front Seat.  Just do it.  It's like a domestic business class seat.  The price is based on the flight's distance.  Look at the schedules carefully and determine if your layover continues with the same flight number.  You only pay for that seat once on the two flights.  Seats 1A/C get an annoying light from the service area up front on the right side, facing forward.  It's an LED light for the crew to see better in the galley area.  So, be forewarned about 1C in particular.

 

Compare the total cost to other airlines that don't charge for seats (are there any except Southwest???).

 

Luggage - I bought a rolling personal item bag that meets Spirit's size requirements.  This is a no-charge freebie.  I used it for the first time last week on an Adventure of the Seas cruise, and I will never turn back.  It holds an amazing amount of stuff, and no more lugging stuff on my shoulder or back.  I got it on Amazon for $41.  Just search for "personal item carry-on".  It can fit enough for a short trip if you can either take travel size toiletries, or buy what you need from the travel size section at the grocery or drug store after you arrive.

 

If you can afford the extra charge, pay for a carry-on:  you will get into Zone 1 boarding.

 

Checking in luggage is a zip with their kiosks.  Truly fast, even at FLL the morning 3 cruise ships got into port.  They have a scale for you to weigh your luggage, and a big table to repack.  They even call it the "Repacking Zone".

 

Picking up luggage after the flight is a little slower than some airlines.  I'm used to Southwest, and Spirit seems slower.

 

Food - eat before you get on the plane, take food on the plane, and take your own beverage.  They charge for EVERYTHING that will go in your mouth.

 

Service - the crew were truly great on every flight I flew.  Once you are on that plane, they don't care what you put up in the overhead bin.  My personal item bag (which DID fit under the Row 1 seat when I was in Row 2) went up there after I got my Bose headphones and Samsung Notebook out for my pre-downloaded movies.  Yeah, take movies.  But, that's on any flight, not just Spirit.  Same for the headphones:  amazing difference in flying with those.

 

The bad news:

 

We had 3 flights out of 4 - 5 roundtrips seriously delayed.  Make sure your plans are flexible, and allow for delays.  If Spirit announces a flight delay due to "maintenance", it really means "we are too cheap to buy enough planes, so we have a scheduling problem today", and you wait for next plane to arrive at your airport.  Hence, the aforementioned movies.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, pcur said:

Compare the total cost to other airlines that don't charge for seats (are there any except Southwest???).

 

Checking in luggage is a zip with their kiosks.  Truly fast, even at FLL the morning 3 cruise ships got into port.  They have a scale for you to weigh your luggage, and a big table to repack.  They even call it the "Repacking Zone".

 

We had 3 flights out of 4 - 5 roundtrips seriously delayed.  Make sure your plans are flexible, and allow for delays.  If Spirit announces a flight delay due to "maintenance", it really means "we are too cheap to buy enough planes, so we have a scheduling problem today", and you wait for next plane to arrive at your airport.  Hence, the aforementioned movies.

 

 

 

 

 

Not all airlines charge for seat selection, but it depends on the fare class you purchase.  Take Delta for instance.  If you purchase a "basic economy" ticket you can't select seats in advance.  But if you buy a regular "economy" ticket you can.  You won't have a full selection to choose from though.  But if you fly enough to earn even their lowest level of loyalty status (silver medallion) you WILL have access to nearly all seats, including exit rows, and windows/aisles toward the front of the economy cabin. 

 

Two negatives you forgot to mention regarding Spirit:

1.  They don't interline with anyone so if your flight is canceled or severely delayed there is zero chance of them putting you on another airline

2.  On a number of their routes, they only fly the route once a day, or even once every few days.   So again, if your flight is canceled or severely delayed you may be up the creek without a paddle.  They won't put you on another airline, and the next available flight may not be until the next day, or even 2 or 3 days later...with limited seats that a LOT of people are vying for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/10/2018 at 7:16 AM, waterbug123 said:

 

Not all airlines charge for seat selection, but it depends on the fare class you purchase.  Take Delta for instance.  If you purchase a "basic economy" ticket you can't select seats in advance.  But if you buy a regular "economy" ticket you can.  You won't have a full selection to choose from though.  But if you fly enough to earn even their lowest level of loyalty status (silver medallion) you WILL have access to nearly all seats, including exit rows, and windows/aisles toward the front of the economy cabin. 

 

Two negatives you forgot to mention regarding Spirit:

1.  They don't interline with anyone so if your flight is canceled or severely delayed there is zero chance of them putting you on another airline

2.  On a number of their routes, they only fly the route once a day, or even once every few days.   So again, if your flight is canceled or severely delayed you may be up the creek without a paddle.  They won't put you on another airline, and the next available flight may not be until the next day, or even 2 or 3 days later...with limited seats that a LOT of people are vying for.

I haven't had them cancel a flight, but they did delay one to the point where I wouldn't reach my destination that day.  They offered to refund or rebook me the next day.

 

If I was at the airport, they would have vouchered a hotel for the night, but we found out before leaving for the airport and stayed overnight with our son.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, pcur said:

I haven't had them cancel a flight, but they did delay one to the point where I wouldn't reach my destination that day. 

 

Good thing you weren't flying in for a cruise departing that same day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/12/2018 at 6:21 AM, waterbug123 said:

 

Good thing you weren't flying in for a cruise departing that same day!

THAT'S never going to happen, and especially on Spirit!  I even got nervous driving 120 miles to San Pedro when we used to cruise out of Los Angeles!

 

Always the day before, and the earliest departure possible, so we have the equivalent of 2 full days to get to the ship.

 

Our next cruise is Amtrak to San Diego, and even that's going to be the day before!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had to laugh at the topic, "Tips for Flying with Spirit."   When it comes to that particular airline we have zero "spirit" and our tip would be to fly with another airline.....ANY other airline.  28 inch pitch seats probably qualify for torture....worse then waterboarding.

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Had to laugh at the topic, "Tips for Flying with Spirit."   When it comes to that particular airline we have zero "spirit" and our tip would be to fly with another airline.....ANY other airline.  28 inch pitch seats probably qualify for torture....worse then waterboarding.

 

Hank

 

Can always bump up to the very comfortable Big Front Seat for a very reasonable price. I would never fly Spirit without that. I rarely fly them with it, but have a few times and enjoyed them for the price point...but wouldn't fly them to a business meeting or cruise or other truly time-sensitive things. For a weekend in Vegas, sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Buy your ticket at the airport counter if you live close to the airport or happen to be in the area of a Spirit airport.  Spirit adds a substantial fee for tickets purchased on line or via phone.  You can get this waived by buying the ticket at the counter.  It may seem counter intuitive, but Spirit's calculation is that no one will go to the airport to buy a ticket and would rather pay the fee.  I think the savings is about $15 / flight.  For a couple this could save $60 and more for a family.  Of course for some, their time is worth more than an extra trip to the airport so it just depends if this is worth it to you.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, SelectSys said:

Buy your ticket at the airport counter if you live close to the airport or happen to be in the area of a Spirit airport.  Spirit adds a substantial fee for tickets purchased on line or via phone.  You can get this waived by buying the ticket at the counter.  It may seem counter intuitive, but Spirit's calculation is that no one will go to the airport to buy a ticket and would rather pay the fee.  I think the savings is about $15 / flight.  For a couple this could save $60 and more for a family.  Of course for some, their time is worth more than an extra trip to the airport so it just depends if this is worth it to you.

 

Fascinating!  I will remember this next time.  Going east to west we live less than 20 minutes from the airport, and going west to east I can take BART for a few dollars each way to buy the ticket.  Most Spirit flights are with at least one stop, so that would be $30 one way, $60 roundtrip per person, right?  That's $120 roundtrip for two!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, SelectSys said:

Buy your ticket at the airport counter if you live close to the airport or happen to be in the area of a Spirit airport.  Spirit adds a substantial fee for tickets purchased on line or via phone.  You can get this waived by buying the ticket at the counter.  It may seem counter intuitive, but Spirit's calculation is that no one will go to the airport to buy a ticket and would rather pay the fee.  I think the savings is about $15 / flight.  For a couple this could save $60 and more for a family.  Of course for some, their time is worth more than an extra trip to the airport so it just depends if this is worth it to you.

 

We saw an amusing Spirit tale on the web.  A guy, who lives just 2 miles from Boston/Logan decided to buy his Spirit Ticket at the airport.  When he arrived there was a long line at the counter and he patiently waited 45 min until he reached the counter.  When he asked to purchase a ticket (for a future flight) the clerk told him he did not have the time as they had two flights to get checked-in.  So he waited another 15 minutes until somebody would handle is ticket purchase.  But meanwhile, the cost of his flight had increased from the online price so it actually would have cost him more (after waiting over an hour plus parking at the airport).   

 

Hank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, pcur said:

Fascinating!  ..... Most Spirit flights are with at least one stop, so that would be $30 one way, $60 roundtrip per person, right?  That's $120 roundtrip for two!!!

 

Well, USUALLY even though it's two flights with a connection in each direction, it's usually still considered one trip/one ticket in each direction, so $15pp each way, not $30.  But it's been years since my "one and done" flight on Spirit so maybe they do charge a booking fee for each individual flight segment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, waterbug123 said:

 

Well, USUALLY even though it's two flights with a connection in each direction, it's usually still considered one trip/one ticket in each direction, so $15pp each way, not $30.  But it's been years since my "one and done" flight on Spirit so maybe they do charge a booking fee for each individual flight segment.

I'll still check it out next time I want to book Spirit.  And, I found this helpful too:

 

https://customersupport.spirit.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000381132-Preferred-Ticketing-Hours

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/21/2018 at 9:51 AM, pcur said:

... Most Spirit flights are with at least one stop, so that would be $30 one way, $60 roundtrip per person, right?  That's $120 roundtrip for two!!!

 

To be honest I don't really know.  I only did this once when I bought at ticket for a family member for a non-stop flight.  My gut suggests it is for the entire journey and by flight leg, but I don't really know.

 

On 11/21/2018 at 2:38 PM, Hlitner said:

We saw an amusing Spirit tale on the web.  A guy, who lives just 2 miles from Boston/Logan decided to buy his Spirit Ticket at the airport.  When he arrived there was a long line at the counter and he patiently waited 45 min until he reached the counter.  When he asked to purchase a ticket (for a future flight) the clerk told him he did not have the time as they had two flights to get checked-in.  So he waited another 15 minutes until somebody would handle is ticket purchase.  But meanwhile, the cost of his flight had increased from the online price so it actually would have cost him more (after waiting over an hour plus parking at the airport).   

 

Hank

 

There are many amusing stories on the web for any subject you want.  My own personal experience wasn't that bad as I  was already at the airport after returning on a different flight and it seemed to be an off time for Spirit at my local airport.  I was told that any check-in would take priority over them selling me a ticket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to pcur and this thread, our recent FLL-BOG flight on Spirit went okay.  I do  not know if I would risk it again (we went one way on Spirit with return on Jet Blue because pre-holiday Dec Florida flights to Bogota were mostly booked by Aug) but I would definitely use Spirit for a short flight if I did not need to arrive exactly on time.  Our flight was on time and as said above, once you are on the plane-they do not care much what you put overhead or under seat and the flight attendants were nice.  We did bring food, drink, and entertainment so did not care about their offerings.  Jet Blue for the similar 3 hr flight charges less for 1 checked bag and gives chips and a drink with slightly more comfortable seats but costs more.  The only reason I would hesitate to take the international flight again is that they really did only have 1 flight a day and maybe could not have given a flight the next day if this one did not go.  Still in a pinch, it does not hurt to give them one chance.  What did Jet Blue do better?  They gave announcements in both English and Spanish while Spirit said almost nothing in Spanish and the attendants did not speak Spanish unless forced.  They should fix this for the South American market as there is reliable competition that is not that much more expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Win a Cruise with the Most Highly-Awarded Small Ship Cruise Line in Alaska
      • Q&A with Daniel Skjeldam, CEO Hurtigruten
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×