How to Fly Spirit Airlines Without Losing Your Mind

Spirit Airlines gets a lot of shit . Most of the time, this shit is deserved . They’ve ditched their clumsy attempts at bawdy humor and their CEO, which is a couple of steps in the right direction, but they’re still brazenly cheap and the epitome of awkward, simple flights. The problem is that their prices are seductively low. However, it is possible to fly with this cheap and non-booking airline without losing your mind.

While people hate Spirit, you have to admit: their prices are amazing. I recently booked a flight half way across the country for $ 100 round trip, which is about $ 200 less than the same route with other airlines. Moreover, it is a non-stop flight that lasts several hours. Yes, the flight is likely to be delayed, and no, I won’t have any in-flight entertainment, but for $ 100 I’m ready to “hurry” for three hours. This is not the first time I have flown Spirit. I’ve learned to get through this experience without losing shit.

Go broke and get a better place

Like most airlines, Spirit charges a seat selection fee. We all complain about low airline fees, but consider the fact that airfare has historically been low . Flying is cheaper than ever, in part due to the sharing of fees. In many cases, you can choose not to pay the fees and choose the desired cost of the flight. For example, if you do not want to pay for a seat, skip it and go to the seat that is assigned to you on the day of your flight.

Unless you’re flying with the Spirit. The cost of a seat in Spirit ranges from $ 5 to $ 38, and it is worth paying the money to find a seat that is comfortable. You are already saving hundreds, spending twenty dollars for the best place in the house. From experience I can say that this makes the flight much more enjoyable. In fact, my fiance and I recently booked the best seats on a Spirit flight and I dare say it was convenient.

There are also tools to help you find the best location . Seat Expert , for example, ranks the best and worst seats on different flights of each airline, as does SeatGuru . For maximum peace and quiet, you better sit next to or in front of the wing .

Your flight is likely to be late so buffer accordingly

Spirit Airlines is notorious for being late. In fact, it is the worst airline in terms of timeliness, with only 65.3% of their flights arriving on time.

We all have a friend who says they’ll be there at 3:00 and then they won’t show up until 4:30. Spirit Airlines is your always late friend and you need to learn to adjust your expectations if you want to fly with them. For this reason, I give myself a little buffer time. If it is important to arrive at your destination at a specific time, I will either not be flying Spirit or I will book a flight early in the morning.

Of course, depending on your trip, this could mean you have to check in early, which could cost money, offsetting any savings from flying with Spirit. You have to figure out your situation because it’s not always worth it. I usually fly Spirit for my regular commutes home to visit friends and family. I don’t have to pay for accommodation and if my flight is delayed it’s not the end of the world.

If someone picks you up from the airport, you should be prepared for that too. Give them your flight number so they can use Google to track your progress, check the airline’s website for estimated arrival times.

Pay for bags as soon as possible

Like many airlines, Spirit charges a baggage check-in fee. Worse, they charge for carry-on luggage!

However, there are ways to get around this. First, personal items are free. According to their rules for measuring personal belongings , the size of the item must not exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches, which means that this baggage is completely considered as a personal item. If you can fit everything in a bag, you can skip this board. (Also, next year they are increasing that size to 18 “14” x 12 “- not bad.)

Otherwise, carry-on luggage rates range from an almost reasonable $ 35 to $ 100 depending on when you book. Here’s how carry-on baggage prices change:

  • $ 35 if paid upon booking
  • USD 40 before online check-in Before online online check-in
  • USD 45 if paid at online check-in
  • $ 55 if paid at the airport ticket office
  • $ 100 if paid at the airport exit

The longer you wait, the more expensive it gets, so if you think you need more than a small bag, you can pay in advance when booking your ticket.

Buy individual tickets

I have found that it is often cheaper to buy two separate one way tickets than one round trip. This is partly due to the fact that you can change airlines and choose the cheapest flights at every stage of your trip.

When implementing this method, I use Spirit strategically. For example, due to the jet stream, flights to the east become a little shorter. So I fly Spirit from, say, California to Washington DC, because the flight is only a couple of hours. However, when I fly back, I prefer to feel more comfortable as the flight is a little longer, so I will pay more to fly a better airline. I’m still saving money overall, but that’s a decent compromise on comfort.

It also depends on the price. If the Spirit is significantly cheaper on one leg, I’ll do it, but if the difference in price doesn’t save me much, I’ll skip the other leg. Here’s how one Spirit flyer puts it on Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram :

After comparing additional costs such as checked baggage, I chose Spirit over other airlines for numerous flights from Dallas / Fort Worth to Denver, Baltimore-Washington, Cleveland, Portland and Boston. They were all non-stop, as connecting flights could significantly increase Spirit’s flight times. Sometimes I fly to, say, Boston Logan in Spirit and return to JetBlue, depending on the most convenient flight schedule.

Luckily, Google Flights makes it easy to compare these flights and study their timetables so you can find the best prices and most comfortable flights for each leg.

Bring your own comforts

Aside from being shoved into the cargo hold, Spirit is as simple as it gets. There are no free snacks. They charge $ 3 for water . And you can forget about watching TV on the back in front of you.

Get ready and bring your comforts. Make sure your devices are fully charged before boarding, pack snacks, and Star-Telegram offers some additional tips :

Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and refill after security. Pack several tea bags and bags with sugar or sweetener.

Depending on the length of your flight, you might consider bringing along a small external battery pack for your laptop, tablet, or phone.

Due to low prices, a number of young families with crying babies can be expected to appear. Bring earplugs and a sleep mask with you.

And finally, the best advice: spend on booze if you can. Spirit is slightly cheaper than other airlines and this will make the flight even more bearable.


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