Flying Spirit Airlines

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From what I have been reading online people either love or hate Spirit Airlines. Has anyone had personal experience flying with them? I tried to do my homework before putting down my hard earned cash but there is always the unexpected gotcha. We booked a weekend trip to Las Vegas for more than two hundred less than the next lowest price. I understand they charge extra for everything beyond the ticket to get on the plane and am willing to put up with the extra fees to save a couple hundred bucks. Are there any other gotchas that people have experienced with Spirit?

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Bottom line: we're holding 2 RT seats in February to FLL that cost us nothing and we're seriously contemplating abandoning those reservations.

Have you seen their fees for carryon and checked luggage?

Did not like them on a r/t to Fort Lauderdale, which is there hub. They even charge for selecting a seat.

Not only do they charge you for a seat, but the seat you pay for doesn't recline:

LOL Maybe they'll start charging for the toilet as well like Ryan Air is doing... I myself will just piss on the floor if they try to charge me when I have no other options available at 37000 feet

To minimize costs on Spirit- 1) Do not select a seat, they will select a random one for free 2) You only are allowed a personal item for free, not a full-sized carryon. It must be the size that fits under the seat, although they will usually let you put it in the bin 4) If you are buying luggage, do it 24 hours before the flight online and 4) Print out boarding pass yourself, or you will pay a small fee for that as well......

Great prices most of the time, even when you factor in the carry-on fees.

I've flown Spirit, but only for short hops now. I flew a longer segment from Denver to Detroit once, and by the time I got off the plane my back was so sore I could barely stand up straight.

I'm only 5'2" tall, and my knees were touching the seat in front of me. The poor guy to my left was quite a bit taller, so he actually had to sit with his knees apart so he could fit...which put one knee in the aisle, and one smashed up against my knee. Luckily the girl to my right was a fellow shorty.

The seats have MINIMAL recline, and are narrow. Normally I can literally curl up in a standard size seat, but on Spirit it's a tight fit for me.

Honestly I wouldn't use them for flights over 1 - 1.5 hours in length. For longer flights the discomfort wouldn't be worth the savings IMO.

My mother flew from FLL to Orlando wasnt a long flight, but she felt like she had been treated as a second class citizin and no water was given since she has to take pills.There was hardly anh leg room and flight attendants werent professionial.

Have you seen their fees for carryon and checked luggage?

pets travel

Sat in a gate next to Spirit air, had to move because of the irate passengers and rude staff at LGA. You can not pay me to be subjected to such abuse.

chucky69 said:   From what I have been reading online people either love or hate Spirit Airlines. Has anyone had personal experience flying with them? Did you think all the folks that hate them didn't have personal experience and that is was caused them to hate them?

You might fly Spirit and have no problems (ridiculous fees/add-ons aside) getting from point A to Point B. Many folks probably have, but if you have even one tiny problem, you will realize that Spirit Air doesn't have poor customer service, they have NO customer service.

Flew them to Costa Rica some years back; trip down was uneventful, flight back however was delayed, causing tight or missed connections for many on the flight. Arrived FLL, when through customs, picked up our bags, and rushed to the recheck line (as we still could make our connection). Spirit had one agent to recheck bags and she seemed completely clueless about using the computer to recheck (or rebook those who missed their flight.)

The passengers in line were organizing to let folks (who had a chance at their connection) through to the front of the line; the CSR kept yelling at people that they had to stay in line and she would only wait on the next person. She finally walked into the back area (as if she was going to find help) and just dissappeared. Ten minutes later, some other 19-year old kid shows up and said he was the "duty" manager and want to know what everyone's problem was. By this time we had missed our flight and Spirit wanted to put us on a flight to Orlando the next day. We said "screw it", rented a one-way car for $30 and drove home to Orlando.

Is that enough personal experience?

I've only used them once, and I was happy because I paid very little. I also didn't check a bag, or have any expectations.
Spirit is the hostel next to Hiltons, if airlines were hotels. Plan ahead for it, or pay more, if you want the luxuries and service you're probably used to.

the absolute worst carrier. even if after the fees (and note if you do go - pay every possible fee up front over web, as any fee that you could have done over the web will be triple at the gate) it is slightly cheaper, its just not worth the aggravation. the planes are laid out well for carrying children or oompa loompas, but your everyday traveler will be uncomfortable for anything longer than an hour. i had them lose luggage once, and destroy a bag another time - the baggage claim hotline always went to voicemail and could not get a human on phone or callback no matter what i tried.

just not worth it IMO, travel is stressful enough. i won't fly spirit anymore

I only flew Spirit once for an emergency back home to LA from my vacation in Vegas. I always fly Southwest, and usually get to the airport about 45 minutes before departure. When I did this for Spirit, they almost didn't let me board, saying that I had to be at the terminal at LEAST 2 hours before departure... this might have been stated in the booking process, but since I was in a hurry, I might have overlooked it.

Just my 2 cents.

We flew from Chicago to NY earlier this year with our 3 month old. I got two tickets for the cost of one on the next best priced airline.

I knew that they nickle and dime for fees, so i made sure to take everything into account. We traveled with one checked bag, which is actually cheaper than a carry-on (maybe $25 if I remember correctly). If you say you are checking bags when you book your ticket it is actually cheaper.

All of our baby stuff (stroller, diaper bag, etc) was free - so that wasn't a concern. Although they charge for normal carry-on - things like a purse or laptop bag don't count (if they go under your seat).

We also didn't pay to get assigned seats. The way I viewed it is that anyone would be happy to change seats with me so they didn't need to sit next to my baby (although she is very good on flights). But, they were able to assign us seats together at the gate.

I usually fly AA because of my status with them now - but I would fly Spirit again based on my last experience as long as the inclusive cost was right.

we flew with them once. it was uneventful.

Spirit Airlines is a mixed bag,
* The good - Can get cheap prices (include any luggage costs so you are comparing apples to apples)

* The bad - My biggest issue with Spirit is canceling of flights. This occurs on a regular basis and they do not have many flight a day from a given airport, so be sure you have flexibility in your schedule. For example, we flew them from DFW to Florida and they have two flights a day only. We were on the afternoon one and showed up at the airport to find it was cancelled. They never called and when I had checked status online it did not say cancelled. We had to wait until the flight the next morning. Luckily we had built in extra time into our plans so were safe still.

I do not personally have as much of an issue with the other cheapness and space issues (we are not real tall though).

stuffinmymuffin said:   I only flew Spirit once for an emergency back home to LA from my vacation in Vegas. I always fly Southwest, and usually get to the airport about 45 minutes before departure. When I did this for Spirit, they almost didn't let me board, saying that I had to be at the terminal at LEAST 2 hours before departure... this might have been stated in the booking process, but since I was in a hurry, I might have overlooked it.

Just my 2 cents.

An alteration at Spirit Gate (I could not help to overhear) involved a family that could not board because the staff decided to close the gate door early even though the family had paid and had already paid and checked in luggage at the counter. The plane was then delayed 2 hours at the gate but the staff would not let the family and others on board. The staff seemed to be used to giving out this abuse on a routine basis. Maybe they were let go from government service for being too cold.

I have flown them once and won't do it again. Majority of their employees are rude, their airplanes were not all that clean (crap left on seats and aisles from previous passengers). This was before they charged for Carry on baggage fees.

I have flown Spirit once, and it's definitely no frills -- seats don't recline, no free water or snacks. As long as you play by their rules, you can get through the experience without running up the additional fees that the airline thrives on. Don't take any of the added services, don't reserve seats, preprint boarding passes, and bring a single carry-on that strictly meets their 16"X14"X12" dimensions.

They sell such Spirit sized luggage`online that neatly fits in their free carry-on sizing box. Don't expect you'll get by with anything larger as their eagled-eyed gate attendant will spot-check anything that even remotely looks oversize. I saw a guy who's luggage handle stuck over the top of the sizing box by an inch and was refused boarding until his credit card was hit with $100, and don't think he didn't protest.

Wow! I asked and you certainly gave me a large dose of personal experiences with Spirit. I will have the boarding passes printed ahead of time, don't plan on checking a bag and will let them tell me where I am going to sit. I will keep my fingers crossed the flight is not canceled and hit it hard in Vegas! Thanks for all the input!

Let me put it this way...

I own a condo in Myrtle Beach. Its only about 1.5 hours from NYC. Due to the fact that Spirit is the only carrier that does direct to Myrtle Beach, I'm considering selling my property down there because I won't get on Spirit, even for the 1.5 hour flight. Its pretty abysmal and the nickel and diming and herding is too much.

I would be happy to pay more to fly any other carrier, but for the fact that the price undercutting has driven everyone out of that market in MB
(which is really artificial price competitiveness considering the sticker shock when people figure out about the added fees). That said, if your savings threshold is so high you'll do anything to save a buck, go for it, it won't matter to you. This is fatwallet after all...

I have flown them several times from Detroit to Las Vegas. Never once had any major issue or problem. In my personal experience people just love to complain about stupid things. Spirit is cheap for a reason! I always save a few hundred dollars when flying them compared to any other airline out of Detroit. Almost all airlines charge for luggage now (hate it, but it's the norm now), a can of coke cost like $3 (small fee for saving so much more), the seats are small (as are most airlines), and I've never personally had a problem with any of their staff. I've only been delayed twice (once for weather, and once for mechanical issues). These of course are only my experience, but I just feel the majority of people complain about minor issues when compared to the savings. To each their own.

A bully b-tch flight attendant refused to "let" me use the bathroom while we were still on the ground.(There was over an hour delay while we were seated on the plane.) I didn't want to make a big deal because my daughter hates when I make a scene. I figured I could wait a little bit longer. In the same breath she was saying I was breaking laws by arguing with her (I wasn't arguing with her, for once I was calm....obviously that didn't work out), a man gets up, walks near her and says in loud, deep voice, "I need to use the head." She moved over for him and kept staring at me. So of course I stood up and followed behind him. That little (fill in the blank) tried to block me from walking down the aisle. I pointed out that the man she just let pass is using the bathroom and so am I. She finally moved, but mentioned that if I push her I am breaking another law....WTF. I couldn't believe what happened. I sent a looooong email to Spirit and they refused to accept responsibility for her actions. I will NEVER fly Spirit again.

zukemania said:    my daughter hates when I make a scene.

Long ago, I taught my daughter that (especially in travel matters) "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".

My personal strategy (I'm a guy):

try nice first but reserve the right/option/capability to go nuclear.

Your Maneuver May Vary.

Spirit airlines has taken their fees to a whole new level by instituting the carry on fees. I will not do business with them anymore. If you support a company like this its a matter of time before the other carriers will give in and start treating their passengers like sh1t, like spirit does.

Spirit is the worst airline ever, I would never fly with them unless I had no other choice.

I had to fly out of the country once under short notice (funeral), and found them to have the cheapest price, even selecting the Big Seat upfront. The only thing I did not like was their hours, like leaving at 2 am from FLL, or something like that. We drove from Orlando to FLL to avoid any connecting issues based on quick reviews I did about them before booking (only had a few hours to make a decision or miss the funeral).

I can at least say that the big seat was comfortable (4 per row), and slept through the flight. Even with all the add on fees, it was cheaper than a last minute airfare with American on an economy seat.

Most airlines have already reverted to treating flyers like cattle, but it's really a balance of your dignity vs your savings. Personally, the bull cage called the airport terminal is painful enough and I'll typically pay $50 or so extra to choose seats freely and have the audacity to bring a bag with me.

Bottom line is that, in general, I wouldn't touch these guys unless it was some BS trip, like flying 45min-1hr to drink booze and party with the homeies until the next flight back. I'd rather lose my dignity that way.

Update on my Spirit Airlines experience.
The Bad: Legroom is tight, and seats have no padding and are uncomfortable. They charge for everything and anything beyond the ticket. I was amazed by the number of people who came to the gate with a bag the didn't fit the dimensions allowed and were shocked they had to pay $100. One girl asked for a trash bag and stuffed her clothes in the trash bag and threw her carry on bag away. Spirit lists all the OPTIONAL fees on their website. If you don't want to pay for your carry on, bring one that fits. They say it has to fit under the seat in front of you, but we put our carry on bags in the overhead compartment on both flights.

The Good: You can save several hundred dollars on a fight. We saved enough money on our trip from Minneapolis to Las Vegas to pay for show tickets. If you can live with the tight uncomfortable seats and the charges for anything beyond the ticket, I would recommend Spirit. I don't think I would fly Spirit on a flight of more than 3 hours because of the uncomfortable seats. But for a quick trip to Vegas I would fly Spirit again.

Spirit airlines is CRAPTASTIC. By the time you add in the fees you could have traveled American or United.

Flew Spirit once and they significantly changed the flight times. In fact, they changed them more than once, so my arrival time was over four hours than originally scheduled. I had the option to get a refund, but by the time these changes were made, all other airlines were too expensive to switch. I really wasn't happy about it but my hands were tied.

The flight itself was fine, and I travel enough to avoid the unnecessary fees that Spirit loves to charge, but I won't fly them again.

I have never had a bad experience with Spirit. I really hate how they have started charging to choose your seat and the bag prices, etc., but have found a way around them. I actually went to the Spirit counter in Atlantic City yesterday to Purchase Tix for a flite next month. Free one hour parking, walked right up to the counter to buy tix, they were $36 cheaper RT PLUS the desk clerk asked me where I wanted to sit, NO EXTRA CHARGE! Definately worth it to me to actually go to the airport to buy tix!

We were thinking of booking with them for a 1 night flight to Las Vegas from Los Angeles. I would only need a small bag so I could probably pass on paying for any baggage. But it seems like it may be a plane full of pissed off people.

I'm 6'1", is the leg room a problem? That could be the deal killer.

If you are over 6' it is a tight fit for legroom. You will have to balance the amount of money you save versus your discomfort on a short flight. I am over 6' and it was a tight squeeze for legroom, but I saved enough money make it worth my while.

speiden said:   Spirit airlines is CRAPTASTIC. By the time you add in the fees you could have traveled American or United.

Show me the math. On my segment (DFW-LAS), it is standard to pay 250-300 for a rt ticket.

If you can get to the airport easily, go right up to the Spirit counter to buy your tickets. They are usually cheaper and they can usually book your seats for free!

hard2hold said:   speiden said:   Spirit airlines is CRAPTASTIC. By the time you add in the fees you could have traveled American or United.

Show me the math. On my segment (DFW-LAS), it is standard to pay 250-300 for a rt ticket.

Just tickets and tax, compared a R/T flight DFW-LAS on 2/11 to 2/14, morning flight out, early evening flight back
AA: $289
Spirit: $339

This is before any additional "spirit" fees. Not saying they are never cheaper, they may be more often then not, but I just picked a semi-random flight that I would take and that is what I got.

I Put your dates in on Spirit's website. I have never seen cheaper prices on other websites for Spirit.

With the 7.5OFF discount code on the website, the 10 AM outgoing departure and the 1130 AM and 745 PM departures to go back to DFW on the 14th are both $132 round trip. The 1:30 PM departure is similar only if you are in the $9 Fare Club. The only departure on the 14th that is expensive is the 5 PM one. Spirit is not a good match if you have no flexibility at all. It is not an everyday low price airline, but an opportunity arbitrage airline.

If you are going to fly them several times a year, the $9 fare club and the BOA Spirit credit card are almost a necessity. If not, you can still often do nicely.

Skipping 5 Messages...
Boogak said:   Just flew from DFW to TPA using my 15000 free Spirit points for signing up for their credit card. The service and flight experience wasn't really any different from Southwest or American Airlines, the seats just a little less roomy. As long as you know what to expect with their optional fees and plan accordingly, it's a bargain. However with that said, I wouldn't want to have to contact their customer service for any reason based on the horror stories I've read. I'd use them again if the price is right.

I called customer service twice and the rep I got was helpful and courteous both times. We were considering canceling our trip, and I noticed you can change the names on the tickets if it's over 7 days before the flight... that's awesome. I can buy tickets cheap then figure out what friend has time to escape to Vegas or SoCal with me!If it's within the 7 days and you ticket is worth less than the change fee, make sure you cancel vs. no show. They give you $25 as a thank you for cancelling. Better than the big ZERO you get with most other airlines.

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