Spirit Airlines Trip Review (yes, really!)

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Most everyone reading this site likes to either save money while traveling or travel for “free”. However, any time I post about Spirit Airlines, seemingly one of the least expensive airlines out there, most of the comments range from “oh heck no” to “I’d freeze in Antarctica before I would ever consider getting on a Spirit flight”. In fairness, Spirit Airlines does come with some potentially high fees for various things, so if you aren’t careful it isn’t actually an inexpensive airline to fly, but their base fares often can’t be beat. Recently, I posted about a deal where you could fly from Houston to Vegas for around $70 roundtrip. This was a brand new market for Spirit, and they were selling very inexpensive tickets to celebrate. My parents love to travel, and they really love a good travel deal, so they bought tickets and we all hoped for the best.

Their trip is now complete, so I interviewed them about how it was flying on Spirit Airlines. I wanted to share their story not only with you all, but I have some Spirit miles I got for free by going to a Spirit event Houston, so it is likely I will be flying them myself in the coming months. Here’s what they had to say…

You have miles and points in many different programs that you could have used to go to Vegas. What made you decide to be brave enough to fly on the airline everyone seems to love to hate?

A couple months ago we got an email notifying us that some unbelievable fares were being offered in celebration of the new routes opening from Houston. One such round trip opportunity was Houston to Las Vegas. The quoted lowest possible fare was about $72.00 ROUND TRIP!We had no intention of booking a trip anywhere as we had had a marvelous twelve day trip this summer to California, and there is an upcoming trip to New York City to experience the Christmas/holiday season in the Big Apple. But come on, a $72.00 ROUNDTRIP to anywhere is worth investigating, much less to one of our favorite destinations, Las Vegas, Nevada.

How hard was it to book the “unbelievable” low price that was advertized? Was there availability?

The first dates we tried to book were no longer available, so we opted for our second choice. Knowing that time is critical on most online offerings that are too good to be true, my experienced and efficient two finger keyboard technique was put to a true test. The initial response for option two was that the sought after fares were no longer available for the selected dates. Our hopes were now dimming, but we read on… “BUT WE HAVE FOUND AN EVEN LOWER FARE FOR YOU.” What? Lower than $72.00 roundtrip? Yes, we now had in our grasp two $68.18 roundtrip flights Houston to Las Vegas. I must admit our pulse rates were elevated significantly as we fast and furiously filled in all the info required and quickly hit the BOOK THIS FLIGHT button. Button pushed, flight confirmed, laughter ensued.

Did you know that Spirit Airlines had a bad reputation when you booked, or did you learn that afterward?

We personally knew little to nothing about Spirit Airlines before booking our flights. After we booked we learned from their website that Spirit is a low fare, no frills airline, and that if you wanted anything past a ticket, it would cost you.

Since the point of the trip was to go to Vegas at a very minimal price, what did you do to not get hit over the head with a bunch of fees from Spirit?

Our normal carry on bags would cost 25.00 to $40.00 extra to bring on board.Now up to $100 if you don’t pay for your carry-on in advance! To maximize our savings, we decided we could get our travel necessities in small backpacks that easily fit under the seats since those bags are free. Our trip was for only seventy-two hours so we found the backpacks allowed plenty of room for our limited clothing choices. We saved extra on fees by printing our boarding passes at home, by not selecting the larger front seats, and by not preselecting our seat locations. We decided to go bare bones, cheap as possible and to let the chips fall where they may.

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So did you successfully avoid all extra fees?

Yup.  It cost us a couple dollars to print our boarding passes for the return flight at the hotel, but it was much cheaper paying $5 each if we did it through Spirit at the airport.  You can see all of their “optional fees” here.

I have heard the seats are super tiny and uncomfortable, what was your experience?

On the outbound flight we ended up being assigned seats together in the back 1/4th of the plane with an aisle and a middle seat together. On our return flight we were assigned adjacent seats in the middle of the plane with a window and a middle seat. The rows of chairs in the aircraft seem to be slightly closer to each other than on other airlines, but we are not big people, so this presented no problem.

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However, if you are taller, are traveling with a lap child, etc. I could see where it would be very tight (as shown in the photo of the man sitting across from us).

If you want to spend more money for a bigger seat, the “Big Front Seat” in the front actually looked very spacious.  Of course, then you are getting further away from the low price of the ticket itself, but it certainly does provide more legroom and a roomier seat.  The Spirit website says those seats range from an extra $12 – $199 dollars.

Spirit does not serve any complimentary food or drinks, but items can be purchased with a credit or debit card. No cash was accepted. Most passengers seemed to be prepared and brought meals, drinks and snacks on board.

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The aircraft was quite utilitarian. The seats were adequate but not plush. The ambiance and feel of the seating experience and flight was reminiscent of a two to three hour bus trip. Boarding and unloading was very efficient as very few bags were placed in the overhead bins. The planes pushed away from the gates a little early and landed early. Spirit is promoting itself hard right now, and you can expect a credit card solicitation during the flight itself.Once Spirit gets your e-mail address, you will get notified frequently of special deals and offerings. However, this can be a good thing as our flight would prove.

Did you do the rest of your Vegas trip on the cheap, or did you use your savings on the flight to splurge on other things?

In keeping with the budget first concept of this trip we were able to get a car rental from Advantage at a base rate of $13.31 a day for a Hyundai Santa Fe. We found a room at The Flamingo for about $45.00 a night. As the trip approached, both initial bookings for car rental and the room were booked and cancelled and re-booked as lower rates appeared.

Overall, our cheap little trip worked out great. The weather in Vegas in October is quite exceptional, the crowds were manageable and the rates affordable. We got a cheap shrimp cocktails at Golden Gate (used to be .99 cents, now $2.99), ate In-and-Out Burgers, hiked in Red Rock Canyon, and visited the Hoover Dam.  It was a great and inexpensive trip that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t been able to fly there and back for $72 each.  We would do it all over again without hesitation.

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Our impression of flying Spirit for the first time is good. It was what we expected and a little more. We flew cheaply and efficiently, and we will undoubtedly use Spirit again.

Thanks to my parents for sharing their experiences!  I think comparing it to a bus trip makes a bunch of sense.  It will get you from Point A to Point B (baring any weather or other cancellations), but don’t expect much else.  I will add that even the notoriously stingy Spirit Airlines does allow a complimentary diaper bag for lap children (in addition to your normal carry-ons) as well as allowing you to check stroller and car seat without any additional fees.  My parents were literally surrounded by babies on their outbound flight, but they did not notice any children on their return flight.

Have you flown Spirit Airlines?  Was your trip a nightmare, or just fine like my parents’?

Comments

  1. IMHO Spirit Air should be chosen with a huge “conditions apply” attitude. As long as you are aware of the fact that they charge for carry on bag (not the back pack or women’s purse), no drinks inside the aircraft, tiny seats, and not so good service at the drop bags 😉 , you should be fine. I flew with them couple of times when I got dead cheap tickets to Chicago. I flew round trip for 47$ from Boston. I cannot complain anytime for those rates. Fly Spirit, Be prepared.

  2. “My parents were literally surrounded by babies on their outbound flight, but they did not notice any children on their return flight.”

    I wish people wouldn’t put their babies up for collateral in Vegas if they know they can’t pay. So sad. 😉

    • Or may be people who don’t like babies pay for business class? If you do not like to be surrounded by babies and other mainstream demographics, fly on your own plane.

    • This is such a dumb comment…like really?? Guess what, YOU were a baby too at one point. Babies fly and parents know how expensive it is, so if you can get around without paying for the first 2 years, you do what you gotta do.

  3. Tickets are cheap (not that cheap) but I don’t think this company will survive that long and frankly shouldn’t. I am sitting on 180K miles so I’ve had my share of experience and just donated all of them to charity.

    Poor cocky leadership and a very inefficient company.

  4. Got a round trip on Spirit for under $100 from BOS-DFW, at a time when the next cheapest flights were about $280. That’s a huge savings for a family of 4. As long as you’re aware of all the caveats, I think Spirit is a great option. Too bad their frequent flyer program is not worth much, unless maybe if you have the credit card. Also, I think the prices on board are pretty reasonable, with the notable exception of the price for a bottle of water.

  5. Good trip report
    my questions would be

    – how much was regular airlines ticket for the same date R.T.? on UA/AA etc..

    If it’s within $50 I’d think I’d prefer regular airline due to carry-on and elite status (if applicable), and when things go wrong, I wouldn’t be stuck on Spirit 🙂

  6. Great trip report!

    I’d try Spirit once to compare to RyanAir which I have flown a lot in Europe. Also the flyer in me is just curious. If I can find a fare that low I would do it.

    Be warned Spirit miles expire pretty quickly so monitor your account!

  7. I also flew Spirit MSP>ORD. It was $112 R/T, whereas other prices were $250+.

    I agree w the “like a bus” description, but I’m willing to go through that for significant savings (esp on a short flight).

    Tip: If you buy your Spirit tix at the airport, it can be much less expensive than buying online.

    Has anyone had good experience using their $9 flight club? I am skeptical…

  8. If you don’t mind be treated like cattle, go for it. But I wouldn’t be caught dead on a plane like that – even my stretchy 3rd world fights have been more luxurious …

  9. We flew to Vegas from LA because it was cheaper than driving. Purchased 2 round trip tickets for $4.00, yep $2.00 each, but with tax etc it came out to $86.00 total for 2 round trip. Still cheaper than driving and faster. Well almost. Delayed leaving LA for 2.5 hours, and delayed 5 hours on the return. I spoke with a number of Spirit frequent flyers during the wait times in both airports. Everyone of them said delays are par for the course when you fly Spirit. Never again, not worth the savings in cash for the lost time. I agree with jim6, I have had better flights in Burma, Africa and the Alaskan Bush.

  10. I thought I would post this on your blog. Here is a recent article about Spirit that got buried under the Presidential election:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/spirit-airlines-100-carry-bag-fee-takes-effect/story?id=17645238#.UKLpPeRJOAh

    While it’s a free country, I believe that we speak with our wallets, and showing Spirit that we don’t appreciate their tactics, prices, behavior (dying vet who couldn’t cancel his ticket…), and their lack of flexibility to partner with other airlines in the event your flight is cancelled or heavily delayed is the way to go. Those that purchase tickets from Spirit are enablers and reinforcers of that behavior. I believe in loyalty (that’s what frequent flier programs are supposed to promote), and I will go the extra mile for travel partners that go the extra mile for me. Just my thoughts….

  11. As for the “enabler” comment above, I would politely ask that you think of us as families with kids who might not otherwise get to see their aging grandparents if it were not for $65 r/t fares.

  12. I was terrified of my first Spirit trip only because I had our 2 year old with me and it was a 3 1/2 hour flight and I had heard all the Spirit horror stories. The ticket was cheap so I thought what the heck.
    It really was a fine experience. Nothing to gush about but nothing to complain about either. The seats are definitely smaller so if you are a taller man (aka Mr. Mommy Points) it would be pretty uncomfortable.
    While the tickets seem cheaper you really have to lay out all the costs to make sure you aren’t spending more than you are aware of. In our case it really was a much much cheaper option but in some cases the cheap deal people think they are getting is not there once you pay for luggae, seats, and any other comfort item you might want.
    Oh and with a 2 year old we really had to watch staying below the Spirit 40 lb luggage weight limit :-/

  13. It’s so great to read a Spirit trip report. I’ve been eyeing the airline for a while since it seems like a good option for a quick weekend getaway to FLL from New York. I haven’t had the courage to buy a ticket yet, but your post is encouraging. Looking forward to hearing about your experience booking award flights with Spirit.

  14. I just want to clarify one point–reading that interview, it appears that Spirit does not charge for a backpack or for a lady’s purse (I assume a purse is essentially considered a backpack in that scenario). I just want to make sure I have three things correct:

    1. If my wife and I traveled on Spirt one weekend and each of us brought a backpack with our clothes in it, and she was either (a) able to put her purse in the backpack also or (b) did not bring a purse, neither of us would have to pay for a bag.

    2. A purse and a backpack would require a fee, whereas a purse or a backpack alone would not?

    3. Is there a size restriction on a backpack?

  15. I enjoyed the interview!

    My brother and his family (included twin 3 year-old boys at the time) flew Spirit to Florida from Atlantic City. They wanted to save money by not paying for seat assignments. Upon calling to check on seating they were told that the 3 year-olds would not be guaranteed to sit next to a parent without paying for teh assignments. They didn’t buy seat assignments and ended up being able to sit with their boys, but it did cause them anxiety leading up to check-in.

    Cheap flight, though. And that is what made the trip possible for them.

  16. To G:
    You are correct. As long as your personal item(one piece) fits under the seat in front of you – there is no fee. Putting a purse into backpack works just fine.
    If it so happens that it doesnt fit under the seat… rather than having a carry on (and paying $25-$100), you might as well check the bag in (that weighs under 40lbs) for $18 (if you have their “$9 club” membership) or $28 (with no membership).

  17. Btw, that personal item (backpack or such) that fits under the seat… it doesnt necessarily have to go under the seat. Once you’re on the plane, you’re welcome to put that packpack in overhead bin – there is no enforcement of any kind if that bag up there is paid or not. That’s what I always do.
    This advice comes from a frequent traveler who flies on spirit 4 times a month.

  18. I’m going for it. DTW to LAS for 38 bucks one way. We plan to check one bag for 30 bucks and bring backpacks since they’re free. We’ll take our chances on seat assignments although that is something of a worry. We’ll bring snacks.
    Round trip with a car rental for 6 days just over 500.00 for the two of us. That’s about half of what we could have carelessly spent.
    We have comp rooms at a couple of the casinos. We will then drive on down to Phoenix to see our son for our Christmas time with him.

  19. This was all very helpful to a very infrequent traveler.
    Thanks so much to all of you for taking a moment to help poor schlubs like me.

  20. We fly Spirit ALL THE TIME! I am happy to see a positive review, yes it is no frills, however on a budget it allows for tons of travel! We just got back from Ft. Myers ($117 round trip) and leave for St. Thomas next week ($107 round trip!)

    Also if you are nice and polite it goes a long way! Our flight home from Vegas was canceled due to mechanical problems, we hung back while everyone rushed the counter to be rebooked on other airlines. After the crowd left we asked if we could be booked on the same flight the next day (I mean really who doesn’t mind an extra day in Vegas!) They said for sure! They also put us up in a hotel room, included ground transportation AND gave us food vouchers!

    Thanks for this review! You should forward it to SPIRIT’s customer service center (trust me they love hearing good things and will let you know they appreciate it)

  21. Thanks for writing this very thorough review on Spirit Airlines and also the previous comments of experiences. I was thinking of using Spirit Airlines to fly to the Caribbean, however thought to check the company out online first before booking being I have never used them before. Thanks for saving us a future headache.

  22. Does anyone know about checking in online before hand? Does that save anytime or money? My boyfriend and I will be flying msp to rsw in a week with spirit, and he has only flown one other time so I would really like to get seats next to one another but dont want to pay the 18 dollars each flight/each ticket fee. Just curious if anyone knew the chances of waiting it out and hoping for seats next to one another or if you can get your seats for free checking in online the day before?
    Thanks!
    I loved your review answered a lot of questions about the backpack/purse/carry on dilemma!

  23. First time flyer on Spirit and also last time flyer. We flew into Las Vegas with the minimum of leg room. The return trip was much, much worse. We called ahead to see if the storm ROCKIE would affect our flight into Chicago. We were told everything is on time.
    First, our flight was ready to go, then it was announced the plane needed mechanical work as we watched people board it that were going to Detroit. So we went to another gate where we were told that plane needs repair so off to another gate. 2 hours later we were boarded onto another plane when the captain said the first flight had mechanical problems and needed to be flown to Detroit. WTF? A plane full of people with a mechanical problem. I guess he thought the plane was full of first graders.
    Now the captain says our plane needs brake work and we may not fly. 45 minutes later we were off. When we landed, we taxied O’Hare for 25 minutes and got to the gate. I was in row 25, almost the last row. 10 minutes later people are finally deplaning. My brother-in-law who sat near the front said the crew that was taking the plane were talking and with the crew in the plane and doing their luggage needs first while the passengers had to wait for the crews chit chat session. Who is more important? The crew.
    Worst flight of my life.
    Please, please, please bring back Midwest Express. You had leg room. My wife of 5’5 took her shoes off during the flight but was unable to put them back on in the seat for lack of room.
    Is there anyone in this money grubbing industry that really cares about their customers? Midwest Express did! But they got bought out in a unwanted leverage and Frontier took over, ripped out the seat and shoved 20 more making it just another flying sardine can!
    Airlines really don’t give a flying F about the people paying their wages!

  24. It’s good to see this review of Spirit. I will be flying with them tomorrow for the first time. I needed to do a last minute flight from MPLS to Chicago because of a funeral. Quick trip (couldn’t get much time off work, and what I do get off isn’t paid). Flight is 130. Looked on cheap tickets, and the next cheapest flight would be 450! That is a lot saved. I don’t care about frills or where I sit. I just need to be there for my best friend. And it is cheaper and quicker than driving.

    • Theresa, as long as you know what to expect and how to avoid the fees you don’t want to pay you should be just fine. Sorry to hear about the funeral, but glad you found a reasonably priced flight.

  25. Hidden fees, excessively long delays, departure time changes without notice, poor change policyand poor outsourced customer service, nontransferable, small seats, and complete disregard for you as a customer. Will never give this company another hard earned dollar.

  26. DO NOT USE THIS AIRLINE!!!! We got to the airport and hour before our flight like the ticket says to do…. the lady checking us in did not know what she was doing so 15 mins later after we already pay $70 for our bags they go “oh the checkin has already closed so you missed your flight” Then tell us the next available flight is A WEEK AWAY!!! Ummm….yah that’ll work for me, NOT! So they say we can be on standby for the one the following day at 1:30AM. We take our chances and basically sit in the airport for 14 hrs b/c checkout is at 11am from any hotel. Just to find out that that flight is overbooked and we dont make it on standby. So needless to day $1400 later we are back home. Had to buy last minute one way tickets from Vegas to Houston with a REAL Airline (United) which were $600 each plus the extra hotel nights stay.
    Save your money, time, headache and tears!!! They charge for EVERYTHING!! They charge for your bagage ($45) then if its over 40 lbs its another $30, they charge for seating $10-25, they charge for carry-on, they charge for tap water on the plane. Oh and they wont say anything about your carry on at the counter so when you get to the gate they can charge you $100 for not doing it at check in like you’re a mind reader or something. Seriously Fuuuuuuu$& Spirit Airlines!! I hope they go bankrupt and they probably will the way they treat their customers!!

  27. I do not see that anyone was able to respond to Ashlee’s quesiton above, #25. I have the very same question. Using Spirit for the first time, traveling with my husband. Can anyone give a response to this seat question?

  28. Jill, I have not personally flown Spirit myself so can’t say for sure. If you want to select seats there will be a fee, but you may very well get lucky and have them next to each other when you do check-in online. Def a good idea to go ahead and check-in online, but if you want to guarantee seats together you will have to shell out some extra $$ on Spirit.

  29. In response to Ashlee’s question, the 2 times we have flown Spirit we checked in online and got seats together. We have another flight the end of April and we are taking our chances again with no seat selections.

  30. In reference to my comment, I loved flying with spirit. Got there early enough, ZERO lines went right to the desk. Didn’t print my ticket and they did it for no charge. Didn’t get seating ahead of time, so at the counter I asked if me and my boyfriend could be seated next to eachother, it was no problem! On the way down and back! we brought our own snacks, which you can get through security if therre un opened. All in all it was a perfect flight. On time, staff were nice, got our seats next to eachother with out paying ahead of time. I will absolutly be flying spirit next year!

  31. Anybody who flies spirit should know that there are risks involved. If you are willing to take those risks you can get some great deals. My husband and I fly nothing but spirit. We usually get the best deal from them even after paying for bags and seats. We have never had an issue. We have gotten delayed but tell me what airline doesn’t have delays. The first time I ever flew, I was flying United to Fort Lauderdale. My flight was cancelled and I had to be shuttled to another airport and put on another airline. This delayed me an entire day. The next time I flew it was Delta to Arizona. Three hour delay. I missed my connection and was assured that my baggage would also not make the connection yet there I was stuck in Pheonix while my bags were in Yuma. The most they offered me was a hotel room and $10 for dinner. Every airline has issues. I was in Las Vegas with the Pilots for Spirit went on strike. We had to buy a new tickets home a day later. Spirit refunded my entire flight, and they gave me enough free miles to buy one entire big front seat to Aruba for my honeymoon. I never expected any of that. With spirit I always say you get what you pay for. I pay for a seat. We are headed back to Vegas in a few weeks and are going back to Aruba at the end of this year with our little one. We just booked two big front seats and 3 bags for Aruba and still paid under $1000 than what Delta and American wanted.

  32. Just be very aware when you fly Spirit and understand when things go wrong, they really really go wrong. I flew them once and thought it was ok for the price. Just flew with them again. Won’t go into what happened but it was bad. Worst experience I’ve had and I fly pretty regularly. Price isn’t worth the risk to do it again.

  33. I got screwed by Spirit Airlines
    Horrible costumer service called with issues refused to help me , refused to let me speak to a supervisor , charged me extra for a bag that I had already paid for, would not let me board with out paying 100 dollars which I had already paid for. I was on time, but Spirit decided to have an early departure and almost left without me. If you enjoy flying on a loud filthy plane with rude flight attendants I highly recommend! NEVER AGAIN and I will tell everyone I met how horrible Spirit Airlines is, seriously they don’t give a shit about costumers just ripping people off to make as much money as possible.
    Why are they still in business?

  34. Hi,

    I travelled this airline yesterday (05/12/2013) from Chicago to Houston, Flight number 903, 6.50pm. I booked through this airline for the only reason that the tickets were cheap.
    OK, let’s come to the story. I was travelling with my father -in-law, Mother-in-law, wife and a 7 months baby.

    1. When I booked the tickets online, it did not prompt me not to book the tickets at exit row, so, I paid $50.00 both ways so that we can get the better leg space. We went to the flight and sat down in our designated seats. One of the flight attendant, Bill, came there and told my uncle that he cannot sit down there (Very rude bast***). I asked the reason, he told that it’s federal law that only people who can speak English can sit there. I told him clearly that my uncle can speak English. Then showing his rude arrogance, Bill, asked me if my uncle can understand if anyone speaks the English very fast (What the f***ing question was that), my uncle is strong, can speak good English and can assist the people in emergency. Anyhow, after a long argument, we were moved to the other seats….randomly (initially, we booked the seats side by side). Not even considering, he sent my wife and 7 months baby back in the last and gave our Exit row seats to somebody randomly and not even considered to keep us closely. Nobody (supervisor), bothered to stop him. He was even threatening us by saying that we were creating a scene there. I am very disappointed and would like to complain about the Spirit Airlines, Bill for their nasty behavior. I am not after the extra money ($200.00) that I lost, but I want to leave this like this. Moreover, Spirit Airlines has the worst reviews in all the forums, etc.. Can I get some help, whom do I need to complain about this matter?

    2. Seats, were crampy, no leg space at all, charge for everything including glass of water, no, customer service at all. In our flight, A.C was not working, limited water resources (?)

    3. Worst Customer Service, if you want to speak a customer service agent, waited for 45-50 mins 5 times and hanged up the call

  35. A few weeks ago my husband and I flew Spirit from Chicago to Dallas, round trip. The flights were smooth both ways, no delays, planes were newer & very clean. Yes the leg room is tighter than other carriers, but nothing I couldn’t survive for 2 hours. In fact our landing back in Chicago was the smoothest landing ever! Landing in Dallas was very rough for me, but that was only because I had a head cold so my ears & head were in pain, not in any way the airlines fault! We had exit row seats on the return. They wanted to re-assign people and we volunteered for these seats, very spacious. Did not buy any food/drink on board. Brought our own drinks and munchies. Although the prices really are not that bad, no different than what you pay in the terminal. We both took backpacks as personal items with no problems and checked one large suitcase. We bought several things on our trip and just shipped them back – $20 for a 16lb box – definitely cheaper than a round trip bag fee for a second suitcase! I guess my only complaint would be that their max weight is 40lbs for checked bags. That was a bit challenging. But I have a luggage scale so we were good both ways. Overall I would fly Spirit again if it meant a huge savings for my trip. Are they my first choice? No, but they got me safely from point a to point b so thats all that counts. Just do your homework about fees, etc before you book and you will be just fine. One more point….I did not pay for seats. I just let the computer assign them when I checked in online exactly 24 hours before the flight and we were seated together. If you are traveling with children, however, I would not recommend taking that chance.

  36. Hey, Tomorrow will be my first flight. I am very happy to hear that they will NOT allow people that can not understand some one speaking Fast Enlish to sit in the EXIT Isle . Yea-happy flying

  37. I had the same attitude as you for about my first 4 flights on spirit. My girlfriend was living in Denver while I was stuck in Dallas, so there were lots of trips to Colorado for me. Spirit had the lowest price 4 times out of the 12 times I flew DFW to DIA. $60 round trip was the best deal out of those times. I’m not a fancy guy, and I had a bunch of clothes already at her place, so it was pretty easy. Never had any big issues, always avoided any extra fees.
    After my last flight with them a few days ago…NEVER AGAIN!!! And I can promise you that every single person on that flight would tell you the same thing. Our flight was cancelled, with no explanation, no weather, about an hour before boarding. This was on a Monday around 2:00 pm. They told us we should be out of there on Wednesday afternoon. WEDNESDAY. They followed that a few minutes later telling us they were hoping to have a plane to fly us to DFW at midnight. Better than Wednesday, yes, but still 10 hours away. No refunds given to anyone. The best they could swing was a $7 voucher for food only. $7!! (Mind you, this was a $300 ticket) I think it bought me a coke. This is where you can have big problems with Spirit. They only have 49 planes worldwide, so if ANYTHING goes wrong with one, you’re going to be stuck for a long, long time, as they won’t have any backups. Spirit is the only airline that will not reimburse you for anything. So if you’re stuck for 3 days because of a busted plane, and have to get a hotel, food, car, etc., you will never be compensated by Spirit. They have no sister airline, and they will not put you on the next flight out. Their airline or another. It was a nightmare of a day, and the customer service was as bad as it could be without coming to actual blows. Their CEO is a comete ass, as well. his attitude is totally unapologetic and crass. He basically responds to comaints by saying he doesnt care, dont fly spirit, there are enty of people willing, so beat it! So here is my list:

    PROS: cheapest about half the time, if you can pack lightly only.
    CONS: hidden fees
    Horrible CEO, staff and customer service with questionable morals.
    No leg room unless you are a midget.
    No reimbursements…EVER.
    Not a big enough fleet to cover problems.
    Old jets, with big need for updating.

    You make the call. I will never make that mistake again…as $50 bucks more to fly a regular airline is more than worth it!

  38. I flew Spirit once from Las Vegas to Portland. It’s really cheap airfare with no frills. This was expected as I booked the trip and seen all of the fees afterward. I still think after the fees, it’s at least a couple hundred cheaper than most flights. Not to mention, I spang for the extra $30 for a Big Front Seat, and felt like I was flying first class.

    To me personally, it makes no sense to fly other airlines unless you enjoy a first-class experience and are willing to part with first-class money. If so, you do not belong on a Spirit flight anyhow.

    I don’t get all of the negative criticism that this company gets. All of the fees are listed in the site in black and white. All you have to do is a little reading, and you know what you are in for.

    P.S. Books your flights at the airport (yes, that’s right, NOT THE INTERNET, to save at least $15). Also, airport bookings do not require you to be a member of the $9 fare club to get those rates!

  39. I’m glad to finally read a positive review of Spirit. I think most of the negative reviews come from those who expect Spirit to be just the same as the competitors. I fly with them in a couple of weeks and have already mapped out how to avoid all of the extra fees. I think as long as one reads the details of Spirit’s policies, then all will be fine.

  40. My daughter went to the National Athletic Trainers Association conference in Vegas last week. She and 12 classmates from East Stroudsburg U flew from Phily. Their flight there was delayed a couple hours. The red-eye back last night was supposed to be lanading right about now…when woke early today, I checked…they are still on the ground. She told me they were just starting the boarding process. She said she will drive coast to coast before she flies Spirit Air again.

    All airlines cost about the same. Spirit just has transparency and options on much of what you pay for whether you use it or not. This is a good thing. If you fly tomorrow, you pay the highest prices…if you fly in 4 months, you buy now and save mone. Personally, if it’s savings driving your decision—try Southwest. My wife bought low price tickets in February for an August flight to Denver. She rebooked four times, without penalty, on the same flights for lower fares, and ended up going to NH to see our other daughter on the savings.

    The problem with Spirit is not so much the fees (after all, they don’t charge to use the lavatories…yet) but the complete lack of concern over their poor quality of service. There is no price savings that compensates for that.

  41. Worst airlines ever flown on. Worse than North West/KLM in Europe. Smallest area for knees, most nuisance fees for water, pretzels, carry-ons, seats, ad nauseam. E A Poe says it well: Never more. Never ever again, never, never, never ever again.

  42. I decided to book Spirit Airlines after reading so many negative reviews. I am a frequently flyer but the Non-stop round trip ticket price from BOS-MYR was unbelievably low. I was first taken back by the baggage fees but then decided it was till worth the savings and decided to suck it up. Then I couldn’t belive that you actually had to pay to reserve an actual seat. Again, I sucked it up and waited to be assigned our seats. I arrived at the airport 2 hours before my flight and all went well. I started thinking “wow, this airline isnt that bad”. My family and I board the flight and we were pretty impressed with the interior look of the plane. It was a newer aircraft and looked very clean. I sit down and again I was taken back this time by the seat space and also the fact that the seats do not recline AT ALL. We were cramped in like cattle. Then minutes before take-off the real nightmare begins. The Captain announces over the intercom that there is a document issue and we would be delayed by 10 minutes. Awe, not so bad! 20 minutes later the Captain is back on the intercom telling us that he has bad news for us and there was a problem with the personnel and the flight had to be canceled. They ordered us all of the plane and advised us to all go back to the ticket counter. Since we were at the back of the plane the line was huge. We were advised that we had two options: Get a full refund or book on another flight with them in the near future. Another flight in the future not this date but the earliest was three days away. I called the customer service number and inquired if I could get a refund over the phone to prevent the lengthy wait in line with my two small crying children. The customer service agent told me he couldn’t issue a refund because the flight was in the air and was only 10 minutes delayed. Are you kidding me there were 200 passengers in line there was no plane in the air. So, after waiting 3 hours in line for my refund I was offered a $50 voucher to be used on Spirit within 60 days. Are you kidding me I told them to keep their voucher because I would be filing a complaint. This cancelation has cost me 100’s in prepaid ticketed events that I had pre-purchased for my family. I also had a prepaid Auto Rental that I have lost money on as well as one night hotel for not canceling within 72 hours. There was absolutely no compassion shown by any of the employees at the airport or on the phone. This was not a weather related or mechanical cancelation but a straight up error by your company. Here I am typing this E-Mail as my 2 small children are crying in the backround becuase Spirit Airlines ruined our vacation. How can you offer me a $50 voucher and have no compassion is beyond me! I will be looking forward to hearing from you regarding this serious problem.

    Another thing. I have noticed that when their flights have been delayed (or cancelled) the info through http://flightstatus.com and http://tripit.com does not update — the cancelled flight was still showing On Time three hours later. I guess they don’t have much incentive to make timely updates of bad news.

  43. If I could give negative stars to this airline, I would do so. We booked flights for a conference in Denver that was cancelled. Our colleagues booked on a number of different airlines (Delta, American, Frontier, United, etc.) all of which were willing to give airline credit and waive the change fee on their tickets with written proof of the conference cancellation. Spirit refused to make any accommodation and its cancellation/change fees were more than the air fare ($125 per person per flight segment).

    In addition, they no longer have an 800 toll free number to call to cancel flights. They have changed to an 801 number (Utah) which is a long distance call and they let you stay on hold forever.

    Also, be aware that this airline charges $35 online, $40 by phone, $50 at the airport, or $100 at the gate for any carry-on bag that is larger than a medium-sized purse, small backpack or brief case (16x14x12). First checked bags cost $30 online, $35 by phone, $45 at the airport check-in counter or kiosk and the weight limit is 40 pounds rather than the 50 pounds on other airlines.

    Other fees to be aware of aree $10 to book by phone (vs. free online), passenger usage fee $8.99-16.99 each way on domestic flights), and $10 per flight segment to print boarding passes at the airport if you didn’t print them at home or forgot to bring them. They do not do smart phone boarding passes either.

    Avoid using Spirit Airlines if at all possible. They are not customer-service oriented and their basic low-cost fares are very misleading.

  44. ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE! DO NOT USE SPIRIT!
    I created a yelp account SPECIFICALLY to let people know what Spirit Airlines is about. If I could give negative stars, I would.
    You may think you are saving money, but honestly it all adds up to being just as (if not MORE) expensive with all the delays, bag costs and check in costs, not to mention how rude they are and reluctant to provide any help or compensation for their disorganization.
    I just got back from a Spirit Airlines round trip flight from DFW to Oakland CA and back. When I got to the airport, I had already checked in but the lady told me I had to stand in line because the information on my bag was confusing. My initial conformation email had me down for one Carry on bag and nothing checked, but when I got my boarding pass it printed out that I had one Check in bag and nothing carry on. I went to the counter to make sure of what to do with my bag (just one and it met all TSA requirements, so it wouldn’t have mattered how it traveled, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t being charged for both.) When I got to the counter, the agent was very polite and told me that I HAD paid for both bags. I told her I only had the one bag and needed a refund on my carry on since I would be checking the only bag I had. She helpfully handed me a customer service number and told me to call at my earliest convenience to get the refund. I took the number and called as soon as I got home from my trip. When I called the customer service representative, I was met with an attitude as if I was putting her out by calling. I explained what had happened and that I was told I would receive a refund and she proceeded to tell me it was impossible to get a refund. Her exact words were, “We don’t refund bags. Period.” I asked her if I could speak with her supervisor as I didn’t feel it was fair to be charged for a service that I didn’t use. She told me that she couldn’t get a supervisor because they were all busy assisting other customers and that they would just tell me the same thing anyway. She said that there was no note on my account saying that I was over charged for bags. I told her I could get in touch with the airport and speak with the woman who checked my bag in order to have her make a note. I told her I could even go back to the airport in case they needed to see my ID. She told me that even if I did so, and the agent made a note, it was still not possible to get the refund because she didn’t note it to the account at the time of travel. In essence, I spent about 20 minutes on the phone trying to understand why I was being charged for something I never used, and I was treated terribly. Not only that, but on both my flights the rides were very bumpy and the planes were dirty. The seats didn’t recline and the plane smelled very badly of urine. Both my flights were seriously delayed, and my bag was on the wrong turn-style when I arrived back to DFW. The people I sat next to were so upset about how delayed the flight was and that we didn’t receive any compensation for it, and then they found one of their bags on the turn-style for the Oakland flight, and the other bag at the Chicago flight turn-style (which is where I found mine after an hour and a half of waiting for my bag). Overall, I am VERY disappointed with Spirit. I planned on using Spirit again as I fly frequently since my husband lives in CA, and I didn’t really mind that they were unorganized and a little dirty because I thought the price would be worth it for only a three hour flight, but when they are rude and basically STEAL money from you for a service you didn’t receive BECAUSE they are unorganized, it is unacceptable. I will NEVER fly Spirit again and I would strongly discourage anyone else to.

  45. Yesterday I was traveling with my pet and arrived at the ticketing counter well before my flight as they require in order to check her in. At the ticketing counter they INSISTED on charging me $50 for her carrier because they insisted it was larger than their ‘free personal item’ size requirement..they went so far as ordering me to INHUMANELY DUNK my poor animal UPSIDE DOWN in this carrier to determine its size. TWICE. The abhorrently rude young woman behind the counter game me all sorts of unnecessary sass and attitude. The experience was extremely uncomfortable, upsetting, and I nearly missed the flight over it. I couldn’t sleep all the following night reliving the nightmare. This morning I actually googled their pet carrier policy: Spirit’s own website reveals they accept pet carriers sized 9x18x14 NOT AS PERSONAL ITEMS that must fit in a bin of 16x14x12!! YOU WOULD THINK ONE of the 10 representatives behind the counter including their supervisor would be aware of their own policies! Traumatizing!! This whole staff is in dire need of retraining- at best

  46. I have flown Spirit a few times out of our smaller regional airport in the Pittsburgh area called Latrobe – to Fort Lauderdale. I agree that as long as you know what you are to expect this is will be an uneventful – efficient way to travel Which in essence is what they are trying to provide. I did a fare comparison flying out of PIT vs LBE same days at anytime and save at least $100 each time. This coming week we will fly out Thanksgiving Day and return 7 days later. In the past I have paid extra for Exit Row seating which is well worth it – but this time paid even a little more for the Big Seats up front. If in an A318 or A319 these are good in Row 2 or 3 – Row 1 as well as on the A320 which ONLY has the single row of Big Front Seats – I would think 2nd about as the legroom for a tall person like myself at 6ft 2 is restricted in that very front row. You will be nickeled and dimed for everything BUT in the end at Latrobe where we do NOT PAY FOR PARKING vs PIT we save a good amount of money. I have found the staff and the cabin crew to be very nice so far with no bad experiences. Quite honestly when flying 2.5 hours anywhere they are there for our safety and not as servers. I work in the travel industry and was nervous 1st time due to all the negative nellies who slam Spirit… but my experience is one of – you need to add more destinations from Latrobe please… and I will fly them. They also fly to Orlando and Dallas from Latrobe – Ft Myers in on my wish list please – as now AirTran has had to submit to the takeover of Southwest and that is my only non stop option from PIT now… 🙁

  47. Some companies are customer friendly; not Spirit Air. They are running passenger swindle scam. I paid $40 for my carry-on and called 5 hours later to cancel. This was two days before my flight! Yet they refused to offer a refund.

  48. I understand that this is an economy airline. That does not justify scamming people, being rude,and unaccomidating. If you are willing to risk your safety over a few bucks, then good luck to you. They skimp on everything and they ride those planes hard. They underpay and overwork employees. Where do you think this is going to lead? If I had to get out of that plane in a hurry it was going to be virtually impossible. I have heard the touts say if you do everything online it is less painful. I had paid tickets and couldnt log on. No assistance from customer service (No people to answer phone). If you have enough $ to travel, do yourself a favor and fly a normal airline.

  49. not disclose upon ticketing and they couldn’t find me and my wife until minutes from cut off time of boarding and they would not let us fly until i paid the over charges and i wished it stopped there !! literally they do not offer even a glass of tap water !!!! and when the planes arrived Baltimore from vegas at the gate i asked the flight attendant for a glass of water ,she refused i was on shock and furious ,that a passenger could die thirsty on spirit air line if he does not have money to buy water …they offered nothing at all on the plane !!!!!!! thank god the air was from God on the plane other wise we would choke. TO DEATH .

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