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How Horrible flying Spirit?


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I’m looking for real life experiences. I’ve only ever flown with delta and southwest before. So flying Spirit is a new experience, but the prices are so good we may not be able to pass it up. We don’t need frills. I don’t need in flight entertainment, although  WiFi for purchase would be nice. We mainly care about sitting together, only because we have 2 little kids. 
I know the option to pay to pick your seat is available, but would they separate a mom and a 4 year old if we don’t pay for that? 
I know there’s a lot of different upgrade options available that I’m sure add up quickly. Well try to avoid those if possible. 
But overall is it it worth it to fly spirit? 

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Is it worth what?

 

I know people who have flown them and said it's fine...they have some oddball routes that legacy carriers require a connection to make instead. Personally Spirit is an airline I won't touch as they don't offer the inflight and ground services I look for when flying. 

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As stated earlier,,, Worth What?

Me personally? Wouldn't fly Spirit if someone else was paying. Would only fly Southwest if my life depended on it.

 

However, those airlines wouldn't be in business if people didn't regularly fly those airlines.

 

With Spirit,, my biggest concern that I would warn a newbie flier to is to check out the dates/ days of the flights and the return. Spirit is one of those airlines that might only have 1 flight a day or maybe even 1 flight a week to/from certain destinations. Can you wait for a couple of days at your expense to catch the next available flight that has seats? Just something to consider.

 

Regarding you and the kids being separated. Forget the airline. As a frequent flier, other passengers are most likely to willingly change seats with you to ensure you and the kiddos are seated together.

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Flew it once, never again. least amount of legroom, poor service, etc. My daughter tried it once and after an equipment problem that caused her a 9 hour delay, she will also never use Spirit. They have a limited amount of planes with few back ups in the event of a problem. Sometimes you get what you paid for.

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5 hours ago, klfrodo said:

Me personally? Wouldn't fly Spirit if someone else was paying. Would only fly Southwest if my life depended on it.

 

Ditto

 

5 hours ago, klfrodo said:

However, those airlines wouldn't be in business if people didn't regularly fly those airlines.

 

Clearly, some people are satisfied with the service; personally, I'd rather pay more than deal with Spirit.

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Thanks guys! Your thoughts helped me. We flew southwest and really liked it, but we live close to Chicago Midway so that’s an easy choice for us. We had a nice experience. But Spirit just feels too budget-y if that makes sense. I don’t need to be pampered when I fly, I just need the basics. I don’t care about entertainment and food/drink. But I also want to have a hassle free experience. But honestly, looking at it, it probably wouldn’t save us that much money to fly Spirit. With 4 of us checking bags, southwest would probably be cheaper given the 2 checked bags free. 

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8 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

Thanks guys! Your thoughts helped me. We flew southwest and really liked it, but we live close to Chicago Midway so that’s an easy choice for us. We had a nice experience. But Spirit just feels too budget-y if that makes sense. I don’t need to be pampered when I fly, I just need the basics. I don’t care about entertainment and food/drink. But I also want to have a hassle free experience. But honestly, looking at it, it probably wouldn’t save us that much money to fly Spirit. With 4 of us checking bags, southwest would probably be cheaper given the 2 checked bags free. 

Good choice based on my experience.  Not being able to transfer your flight to a different airline in case of a flight cancellation is a major risk with Spirit because of their limited flights.  

 

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8 hours ago, kelkel2 said:

Thanks guys! Your thoughts helped me. We flew southwest and really liked it, but we live close to Chicago Midway so that’s an easy choice for us. We had a nice experience. But Spirit just feels too budget-y if that makes sense. I don’t need to be pampered when I fly, I just need the basics. I don’t care about entertainment and food/drink. But I also want to have a hassle free experience. But honestly, looking at it, it probably wouldn’t save us that much money to fly Spirit. With 4 of us checking bags, southwest would probably be cheaper given the 2 checked bags free. 

For your situation, I think you made a good choice.

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On 12/31/2020 at 6:59 AM, kelkel2 said:

Thanks guys! Your thoughts helped me. We flew southwest and really liked it, but we live close to Chicago Midway so that’s an easy choice for us. We had a nice experience. But Spirit just feels too budget-y if that makes sense. I don’t need to be pampered when I fly, I just need the basics. I don’t care about entertainment and food/drink. But I also want to have a hassle free experience. But honestly, looking at it, it probably wouldn’t save us that much money to fly Spirit. With 4 of us checking bags, southwest would probably be cheaper given the 2 checked bags free

 

I think you made the right choice and you will be in good shape.  I am glad you considered the all in cost.  You also have a lot of flexibility in case something goes wrong.  SW, in my experience, is really good on the customer service front in terms of problems that might arise.  Personally, I have never been let down by them and they have always got me home even when things have gone wrong with aircraft and delays.

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I've done it a few times and had fine experiences so far - friendly crews, on-time or early flights. But I have a couple of rules:
 

  • Do the COMPLETE math. Fare + seat reservation + any luggage, checked or carry on. 
  • Buy the Big Front Seat if it's over about an hour. I'm an in-shape, 30-something, 6' guy...the width isn't an issue, the pitch is, and anything over one hour is too much in the normal seat. 
  • Don't take them to anything too important. So far, I have only ever taken them to guys weekends in Vegas, where if I am late I am late (and by late, I don't mean an hour or two, I mean a day, since they only have 1x daily flights on many/most routes, and may or may not be able to re-route). I would never take them for business or something like a cruise or expensive vacation - not worth it. 
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On 12/30/2020 at 5:20 PM, klfrodo said:

Regarding you and the kids being separated. Forget the airline. As a frequent flier, other passengers are most likely to willingly change seats with you to ensure you and the kiddos are seated together.

 

And I'll play devil's advocate and tell you that if you need to sit together, then book however you need to book to ensure that, without relying on other pax to switch seats.  Yes, many people will gladly switch with you, but it's presumptuous to expect/hope/assume they will; they may have selected their seat for a particular reason and/or paid to do so, and thus many won't take kindly to you trying to skirt the system to save a buck.  And yes, airlines will separate parents and children if they didn't book seats together or pay for that privilege.

 

On 12/31/2020 at 9:59 AM, kelkel2 said:

 I don’t need to be pampered when I fly, I just need the basics.

 

If you consider decent legroom to be a basic, Spirit may not suit your needs.  They have some of the tightest seat pitch (legroom) in the industry, and even average height people often find it cramped.

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21 hours ago, waterbug123 said:

 

And I'll play devil's advocate and tell you that if you need to sit together, then book however you need to book to ensure that, without relying on other pax to switch seats.  Yes, many people will gladly switch with you, but it's presumptuous to expect/hope/assume they will; they may have selected their seat for a particular reason and/or paid to do so, and thus many won't take kindly to you trying to skirt the system to save a buck.  And yes, airlines will separate parents and children if they didn't book seats together or pay for that privilege.

 

 

If you consider decent legroom to be a basic, Spirit may not suit your needs.  They have some of the tightest seat pitch (legroom) in the industry, and even average height people often find it cramped.

Totally agree. If I pay extra, which I often do, to get the seat of my choice, fat chance I am moving for someone who wouldn't/didn't spend the money to sit together!

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I fly, I am always willing to switch to an equal or better seat to accommodate families. However, in the past, I have been pressured to switch to a worse seat. Not happening for the reasons mentioned by waterbug.

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40 minutes ago, teacherman said:

I have flown on them 2 times, and both times I had major delays and crew difficulties.  I would rather pay more and have a better chance of actually "enjoying" my flight.

 

Not to discount your experience and opinion at all, but interestingly enough Spirit is at 18.51% delayed flights between 1/1/19 and 1/1/20 (before things went crazy, so I'm using that as a more reliable year of data). 

 

For the same period, AA = 20.59% late, United = 21.08% late, Delta = 14.41% late, Alaska = 18.28% late. Even everyone's precious Southwest was barely better than Spirit at 17.07% late. 

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  • 3 months later...

Southwest is les than Spirit when you factor in luggage and paying for seats. About the only thing to add on SW is Early Bird Checkin.

 

For instance from OAK-LAX-OAK Sw is $97 with. 2 free bags and Spirit is $160 with everything.

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The one big bargain with Spirit (NK) is their Big Front Seat.  For $20 to $70, you get 2-2 seating and about 36 inches of pitch.  Of course, you still have all of the other NK charges for everything except the lav and the air in the cabin.  Everyone can make their own determination of what is worth what.

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1 hour ago, travelplus said:

Southwest is les than Spirit when you factor in luggage and paying for seats. About the only thing to add on SW is Early Bird Checkin.

 

For instance from OAK-LAX-OAK Sw is $97 with. 2 free bags and Spirit is $160 with everything.

 

That's the kind of overall blanket statement that can't possibly be true in all cases.  Totally depends on the specific routes, dates and times of travel.  I bet there are a number of dates and/or flights where WN charges MUCH more than $97.  So one has to check their specific needs to see what works best for them.

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2 minutes ago, FlyerTalker said:

 

That's the kind of overall blanket statement that can't possibly be true in all cases.  Totally depends on the specific routes, dates and times of travel.  I bet there are a number of dates and/or flights where WN charges MUCH more than $97.  So one has to check their specific needs to see what works best for them.

I agree with you but are you addressing the $97 price or the statement that SW is less than Spirit, or both?

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21 minutes ago, d9704011 said:

I agree with you but are you addressing the $97 price or the statement that SW is less than Spirit, or both?

 

Both.

 

Blanket statements such that "ZZ airline is always cheaper" are, on their face, inaccurate.  There is no "always cheaper".  And as for the $97 claim - I doubt that would be the price for all seats, on all flights, on all days.  WN has "Wanna Get Away" fares that are often low, but they also have regular fares that can be quite steep.

 

So, like so many things in life, the devil is in the details.

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22 hours ago, travelplus said:

Southwest is les than Spirit when you factor in luggage and paying for seats. About the only thing to add on SW is Early Bird Checkin.

 

For instance from OAK-LAX-OAK Sw is $97 with. 2 free bags and Spirit is $160 with everything.

 

As already addressed, this is a very broad statement. I've flown Spirit a couple of times on guys weekends to Vegas where I have done a personal item only, purchased a big front seat, and still saved a good chunk versus Southwest (the only two airlines that do the route from my home airport nonstop). In the latest case, just before Covid, Spirit was $150ish round-trip with a personal item and big front seat. Southwest was $250ish round-trip. Yes, of course, checking bags (or even a carry-on) would change that...but not everyone has them on every trip. So, as always, doing the math for your specific circumstances can change things a bit. 

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On 5/3/2021 at 1:58 PM, Zach1213 said:

 

As already addressed, this is a very broad statement. I've flown Spirit a couple of times on guys weekends to Vegas where I have done a personal item only, purchased a big front seat, and still saved a good chunk versus Southwest (the only two airlines that do the route from my home airport nonstop). In the latest case, just before Covid, Spirit was $150ish round-trip with a personal item and big front seat. Southwest was $250ish round-trip. Yes, of course, checking bags (or even a carry-on) would change that...but not everyone has them on every trip. So, as always, doing the math for your specific circumstances can change things a bit. 

And buying a Spirit ticket at the airport saves even more money.

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, zdcatc12 said:

And buying a Spirit ticket at the airport saves even more money.

 

I actually did that once. I travel for a living so I'm always at my local airport (or some airport of some kind), so I showed up early for a flight once and wandered over to the Spirit desk to purchase. I don't remember how much it saved me, but maybe like $25-$30 roundtrip? I wouldn't have made the 80 minute roundtrip to the airport just for that, but since I was already there, why not?!

Edited by Zach1213
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