I recently flew Spirit Airlines twice within a few weeks. I normally stay away from this airline due to their reputation of service. However, I have learned that if you go into your flight experience knowing what to expect you may not mind flying so cheaply.
Know before you go:
- Join the club – You can join their $9 fare club for $19.95 for a 60 day trial or $59.95 for an annual membership. If you are booking Spirit flights often it may be worth your while to join. You can use the cheaper flight rates for you and up to 8 passengers on your itinerary. Passengers must be reserved on the same booking confirmation number as the $9 fare club member in order to receive membership benefits, but hey, they are saving by traveling with you! You can join here!
- No reclining seats on new planes – The reclining feature of seats weighs more per chair and is more likely to brake so they now use no reclining seats to keep the cost of gas while flying lower.
- Different tray tables – Tray tables do not pull out toward you and some are half the size of normal tray tables.
- They charge for water – about $3 for a bottle of water in flight. Read tips below for further savings ideas.
- You cannot choose a seat for free – When booking or checking into your flight, Spirit does not allow you to choose your seat assignment for free. You can save money by taking a chance on waiting until you get to the airport to see if they have seats together (if your traveling with someone) or a coveted emergency exit row. The agents at the airport can change your seat assignment for free.
- Baggage weight limit – Forget everything you know about domestic travel and the standard 50 lb checked bag rule. Spirit has a 40 lb weight limit for checked baggage! If it weights more then 40 lbs an additional fee will be charged for the overage.
- Purchase baggage when you book your flight – you will receive the cheapest rate for your baggage during the booking process. Once the flight is booked the baggage fees increase.
- They will try to up sell you on EVERYTHING – when booking your flight through Spirit, know that they will try to charge you for everything extra in the booking process.
You can view more information on Spirit Airline’s fees here.
- Free Boarding Pass – You can print your boarding pass at the kiosk for FREE! They charge $10 to print your boarding pass with a gate agent, so make sure to walk up to the Spirit kiosk first to print out your ticket.
- Free Water – Bring an empty water bottle though security and fill it up (at a water fountain or an airport restaurant) once you clear security. Spirit charges $3 for water on the plane. It is NOT free like other airlines so arriving prepared can save you even more towards your total cost. By bringing an empty water container you are avoiding paying for a water in the airport stores and on board the plane.
- Bring your own snack – They charge for everything on the flight including food (and probably peanuts).
- Free Baggage – Pack LIGHT and bring only a personal item (like a purse or backpack) on board 16”x 14”x 12” in size to receive free “baggage”. I saved over $40 total on my round trip cost from Dallas to Kansas City by only bringing one personal item. Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I DID IT!
By the way, my total round trip cost was $86.18 (without $9 fare club membership and including taxes/fees) from DFW to MCI and it was a nonstop flight! I like to think of this airline as À la carte, pay for what you want and save on what you don’t. More info here.
Did I feel like it was THAT much different then other airlines? Not really! For flights less then 4 hours I would rather save $100 then worry about free water. And that is that! If you feel comfortable flying with smaller seats and zero frill then Spirit is the airline for you 🙂