Should You Book a Flight with Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Airlines, headquartered in Florida, offers seriously cheap flights. But with mixed online reviews and possible add on fees – are plane tickets with Spirit Airlines even worth booking? I tentatively recommend them as a budget airline, comparable to European counterparts such as easyJet and Ryanair, which are similarly divisive among travelers. But before you purchase your airfare and jump on a Spirit flight, you should know the following:

Baggage Fees Are Not Included

Many travelers would guess that baggage fees are not included in the price of a Spirit Airlines ticket. However, passengers must pay for a large carry ($45) in addition to a piece of checked luggage (strangely lower-priced at $40).* Without paying for a carry on item, you are only allowed a single personal item that must fit below the seat in front of you. (This is similar to the easyJet policy for those who do not pay for premium boarding – but on their flights, you can place your one item in the overhead storage or beneath a seat.) The Spirit Airlines stewardess looked at me dubiously as I edged onto the flight with a full 22 Litre backpack, but it slid under the seat easily. The staff did not weigh my bag and Spirit Airlines does not list weight requirements on their website, so you do not have to worry about transporting heavy items.

Print Your Boarding Pass or Pay More 

The fee to print your boarding pass at the airport is similar to a Ryanair policy. If you are looking to book with Spirit Airlines but you will not stay in a hotel with printing facilities, factor in an extra $10 per ticket. However, if you arrive at the airport early, you can avoid the $10 fee by printing from an airport kiosk rather than upon check-in with a Spirit Airlines agent. Confusing? A little bit. Unfortunately, there is no option for an electronic boarding pass, which would save you the hassle. Even after I printed my ticket at home, it was replaced with one on flimsy receipt paper from the agent. This made me feel like I was jumping through hoops for no reason?

Beverages and Snacks Are Not Included

On most American airlines, travelers can expect a non-alcoholic beverage and a packet of crackers, nuts, pretzels or cookies. However, Spirit Airlines charges $2 for tea and coffee, $3 for a soft drink and $7 for alcohol, as indicated by their menu, euphemistically named the “Frill Control Center.” Perhaps their advertisement for 7x distilled vodka was created to help appease angry passengers who ended up paying unanticipated extra fees… But American airports tend to have water fountains, so you can easily fill up an empty water bottle after passing through security. And as for snacks? You’ll be traveling amongst other cheapskates, so feel free to bring on a huge box of Cheez-Its like the lady in front of me, who kept passing them back and forth across the aisle.

The Spirit Airlines Experience

To sum it up succinctly, my experience with Spirit Airlines was okay. What else did I expect? Once I got to the airport, the staff members were kind. I didn’t get to pick my seat and got stuck in the middle, but my seat was pretty comfortable. The stewards on the intercom were funny, leaving us with “Sorry you didn’t choose another carrier today, but we have arrived!” (An early announcement warned that if you take the life vest, your credit card would be charged, haha – at least I think they are only joking about a cheap-wad stealing a life jacket??) But as long as you factor in the extra costs into your airfare and are mentally prepared, Spirit Airlines is not a smidge more or less than okay.

* These are the fees for luggage on the day of travel. You can purchase baggage ahead of time for cheaper prices.

6 Comments

  1. I flew Spirit Airlines two times and both times were mostly good! I read a lot of reviews and discovered that most of the complaints came from “unexpected” baggage fees but if you look right on their website, they clearly lay it all out! The seats are very squished in there so they weren’t the most comfortable but luckily the flights were only about two hours each. Our first flight, we unexpectedly flew in a thunderstorm and it shook up the plane so badly – there were a multiple people with injuries and bruises! I don’t blame Spirit for that though haha just mother nature. Either way, I will probably continue to fly with them whenever possible.

    1. Author

      Your first flight sounds like quite the adventure! I think travelers who get annoyed with unexpected baggage fees likely book through a third party site and don’t realize, so I hope this helps. 🙂

  2. I love your sense of humor and adventure (for choosing this airline and living to tell this cautionary tale)! I think it will be a not so bad option for budget traveling, now that we know what to expect thanks to your post.

    1. Author

      Fantastic – glad to give you a better idea of Spirit Airlines flights so you’ll know before you fly! 🙂

  3. I had the same feeling with Air Asia. My only qualm is that out of the 8 times I flew with AirAsia I found myself seated on the last row with a non reclining seat for 6 of them. The leg room is ridiculous as it is. To top it off I had someone reclining onto me. So yeah no very pleasant. It was cheap though and got me from point to point safely.

    1. Author

      Oof, that doesn’t sound great, but at least you (and your luggage) made it safely! With budget airlines, I think that’s all we can reasonably ask for, lol.

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