Okay, so if this isn’t your first time here, you already know that I fly Spirit, and often. I know some of you on here are too bougie for Spirit and that’s fine too, but for people like me who love saving money, Spirit is usually clutch af.
$42 RT ATL-ORD. $74 RT TPA-LAS. $84 RT ATL-LAX. $98 RT ATL-STT.* $118 RT TPA-GUA*. Honestly, the prices are unbeatable.
And yeah I know I know, some people say you get what you pay for. And that may be true... however, I’m writing this Spirit Airlines Flight Guide to make sure that you get the absolute best deals possible, level set your expectations, and actually make the cheap flight worth it. Spirit is actually a pretty decent airline if you know what you’re doing.
There are so many people who "don't fly Spirit" - but have literally never even flown the airline. Do not let those people keep you from missing your blessing, talking about this and that when they haven't even experienced it! I know other people that have flown Spirit once, and "hated" it for reasons like turbulence or weather delays (neither of which are the airlines' fault). If we're being honest, I've had better service from Spirit ticket counter agents, gate agents, and flight attendants than I've had on other airlines. Don't get me wrong, not every experience I've had with Spirit has been roses and gumdrops, but that's with ANY airline. Don't be the person that writes off the entire airline because of one less than stellar experience.
I flew Spirit more than 7 times through the height of the pandemic (Jun 2020-Nov 2020) and those flight attendants took the masks SERIOUSLY! While other major airlines were talking all the talk and barely enforcing the mask mandate (SW I'm talking about y'all), Spirit had flight attendants walking up and down aisles to ensure people were wearing masks over their noses and mouths. Most of my flights during that time were relatively empty, meaning no one was in the middle seat (actually had entire rows to myself for more than half of those flights).
Now that I've gotten some of the formalities out of the way, let's get into the nitty gritty. Here are 7 things that will help you fly Spirit the right way (which means the economic way hahaha):
Identify if Spirit is the Best Deal for You
If you are about to move across the country and you need two checked bags and a carry-on, gone ahead and book with Southwest. No Spirit flight is going to be worth it for those kinds of trips. But, if you're going on a short weekend trip, or even a long weekend trip.. it can definitely be worth.
Level Set your Expectations
Spirit is a no-frills airline, so it helps to know that going into it (and be mentally prepared). Spirit isn't the airline giving out free sanitizing wipes upon entry - but you can bring your own! They also aren't the airline giving out free masks - but again, you can bring your own! The seats aren't super thick and plush like some other airlines - but you can bring your own pillow if the flight is longer. There might not be much (or any) space in your seatback pocket - but is that really a necessity? Remember that you might be saving literally hundreds of dollars to fly them, so all the extras will not be there. But, your pilot is more than qualified to fly and you flight attendants have been trained to ensure your safety. I've flown Spirit over 100 times and every single one took off and landed safely. Despite what rumors might go around the internet, flying Spirit does NOT mean you're picking cost over safety.
Avoid Extra Costs (by knowing costs extra)
The biggest complaint I hear about Spirit is that “the extra fees add up”. And that’s true... if you let them!! First, if you are booking your flight online, READ THE POPUPS! Spirit is completely up front about the fees that they charge if you pay attention to them. Later on, I talk about how buying tickets at the airport is the best hack, but I know that's not always feasible. Bags, seats, etc do NOT have to be an additional charge if you plan accordingly.
Me personally, I neverrrrrr spend money
on seat selection. It’s a waste to me; majority of the time if your tickets are on the same reservation, they will seat your group together. And if I’m flying alone, I usually get an aisle or window which is perfect for me. The ONLY time I really think it's worth it purchase seats is if you have young children flying with you - because while they usually seat people together, it is not guaranteed. Additionally, I rarely ever spend money on a carry-on or checked bag. I think I’ve done that on Spirit maybe twice in my lifetime, and I’ve flown them over 50 times in the past couple years. Especially if you are going on a weekend trip, PACK LIGHT!! (see my go-to personal item). Gone ahead and pack that personal item [bookbag or duffel bag] so you don’t have to spend an additional 70-80 dollars RT for baggage. All that other stuff they try to offer you (ie: quicker security, check-in with agent, etc), just decline.
Don't Try to Get Around the System (re: bags)
If you absolutely NEED a luggage, pay for a checked bag when you buy your flight (if online) or before check-in (if you buy in airport). Spirit makes money on people who try to “get around” the system. Bags can be almost double the price if you have to pay for them at the gate before boarding. You’ll always save the most money by buying your bags when you buy your flight (only if online).
If you NEED a bag, check it!
Related to number 4, pick a checked bag over a carry-on if possible. They are always cheaper on Spirit, unlike other major airlines (usually by $5-10 each way). Remember, a standard checked bag on Spirit is 40 pounds, NOT 50 pounds. They will charge you extra if your bag is overweight. Again, pack light so you don’t give them a reason to charge you extra.
Bring snacks & water!
Spirit does charge for snacks and drinks. In my last blog post about 5 Travel Essentials (be sure to check it out if you haven’t already), I recommend bringing a water bottle. Most airports (if not all) have a water fountain you can fill your bottle up with after TSA, utilize this! It saves you money on bottled water in the airport and paying for drinks on your Spirit flight. And if you're a person that enjoys adult beverages, BRING THEM WITH YOU! You can bring those $1-$3 shooters from the liquor store (that they charge $8-$10 for on the plane). And if you don't want to buy those, you can bring liquor in those travel containers (made for lotion, shampoo, etc) from Walmart/Target.** Me personally, I bring snacks on every flight LOL. I’m on a Delta flight while writing this post and they gave us a lil Biscoff cookie and some nuts (American only gave me the cookie on my flight two weeks ago) — glad I have my whole Honduran meal leftovers to actual fulfill my hunger. Moral of the story, these lil snacks barely do anything for you anyway, so it's not worth the potential extra $100s of dollars you might spend. Bring your own food (all solid foods come through TSA!!) and you don’t have to worry about paying extra for snacks that you might not even like for real.
Prepare for No Recline
Prepare yourself now — the seats do not recline. Period point blank. Do I love a good reclining seat on a long flight? Yes. Am I willing to pay more for a flight solely to have a reclining seat? Absolutely not. It's not that serious to me. If reclining seats are a deal breaker for you, then Spirit probably isn't for you. But I encourage you to think about if it's really a must-have for you, or just a nice to have.
Most Importantly: BUY AT THE AIRPORT!!
If you've read the whole thing and you made it to this part, you the realest (appreciate your support). If you just skipped down to the bottom, I still appreciate your support, but go back and read it for real. I've dropped some gems in here to make your Spirit experience worth the savings. This post has gotten much longer than I expected though, so click here to read why & how buying at the airport saves you money.
Hopefully, I've provided some insight on how to get more from your Spirit flights. I currently have enough miles collected to book a free round trip flight on Spirit, so I promise I'm not just talking. I really do fly them pretty often, and have flown them both domestic and international for flights as long as 5 hours. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.⬇️
Ciao for now,
*STT = St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; GUA = Guatemala City, Guatemala (yes, I've even flown them international).
**Note: It is ILLEGAL to drink liquor on a plane that you didn't buy from the flight attendant. IF you bring your own liquor, drink it BEFORE you get on the plane!!