When it comes to Spirit Airlines, I’ve found that people either love them or hate them. I’m in the group of people that love them- like, really love them. I do, however, understand how someone can dislike them if they don’t understand how Spirit Airlines works and how to navigate around the many hidden fees. If you fall in the group that hates Spirit Airlines or are unsure whether you should try Spirit Airlines, here’s the scoop on how to learn to love Spirit Airlines, or at least be able to tolerate them to get the best deals on your flights.
Spirit Airlines is a budget airline. They only charge base fare for their tickets, making them at least 30% cheaper than other airlines. Spirit takes away all of the charges for extra things like snacks, drinks, and bags, so they are basically only charging for your seat on the plane. This makes it possible for you to fly for less than $100 roundtrip sometimes.
While it is completely possible to fly for that ridiculously cheap price that they show you at first, many people don’t know to look out for the subtle tactics that they use to add fees onto your flight. Then your $200 flight turns into a $300 flight. Here’s what you need to know to avoid that:
- Only carry a personal bag. The price that you see at first is the price with only Spirit’s approved personal item. The personal item can be no larger than 18″x14″x8″, so it’s not that large. If you pack carefully, it IS totally possible to travel with only that one bag. I once went on an international trip for a week with only one small bag! This is the bag I use when I fly Spirit. Unlike other airlines, Spirit charges for carry-ons. They will charge you $55 for a carry-on and $50 for a checked bag.
- Don’t choose your seat. When you are booking your flight, Spirit will ask you to choose your own seat. Don’t. Most times, Spirit will charge you at least $10 for you to choose your own seat. Scroll down to the bottom and skip to the next step in booking. They will choose your seat for you with no charge.
- Don’t choose any of the extras. They will ask you to add a lot of extras while booking. In small print at the bottom there is an button for you to skip to the next page without choosing any of their options.
- Check in and print your own boarding pass at home. Spirit doesn’t have mobile boarding passes, so you will need a physical boarding pass. But don’t wait until you get to the airport to get your boarding pass. Spirit charges $10 for you to check in a print your boarding pass for you.
- Make sure your bag fits the sizing standards. If you don’t pay attention to the sizing and try to take a carry-on size bag that you didn’t pay for onto the plane as a personal item, you will be charged $100 at the gate. In some situations, that could be the same price as your ticket! Don’t make that mistake. Pay attention to your bag size.
- Join the $9 fare club. If you plan to travel frequently, it will be worth it to join Spirit’s special fare club. The tickets for members are usually even cheaper than the regular price. The cost is $60 for the first year and $70 for the subsequent years.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to fly for that jaw-dropping price that lured you in in the first place.
What To Expect
- Don’t expect snacks. One reason that the prices are so low is that Spirit does not give out free food or drinks. That small bag of pretzels that you’re accustomed to when you travel? Forget about it, unless you’re willing to pay for it. Spirit even charges for water! If you just have to have something to drink, ask for ice and let it melt. Literally. Ice is just about the only thing that you’ll get for free.
- Expect to get close to your neighbors. One thing that you’ll notice about Spirit is that you won’t have as much room on your flight as you do on other flights. This is because they try to fit more seats on the plane. More seats means more passengers, which means cheaper flights for you. Oh, and the seats do NOT recline. But for the prices, I’d sit up straight all day.
- Expect to save money. If you do it right, you will save money.
I personally think that Spirit is God’s gift to air travel. I love it and it has saved me so much money over the years. If you’ve never tried Spirit, consider it for your next trip. If you’ve had a bad experience, it may be worth it to give it one more try. Have you ever tried Spirit? Comment and share your experience.