My experience with Spirit Airlines USA

Spirit airline was topping most of my search results at top of the page when I was checking for various flights for my Americas trip [Read more]. Spirit had the cheapest fares on offer. However, their lowest fare advertised is only for paid members of $9 fare club, non members pay more, base fare includes only includes a personal item. After adding a cabin baggage and factoring tax amount, total payable spirit fare was higher than competition, so I booked my tickets on Jet Blue, SouthWest and other airlines. However for one flight- FLL to AUS, Spirit had lowest fare even after considering tax and cabin baggage, so I booked them, after a failed attempt to book on American who had a super complex process for India issued credit cards [Details]. This would be my only flight on Spirit during the Americas trip.

This post shares my experience with Spirit Airlines, USA

Spirit Airline is an extreme low cost airline. They advertise bare minimum fare but charge for everything extra
- Only a personal item is included in ticket, even cabin baggage costs extra
- Check-in at airport costs 10 $ more
- Drinks and snacks can be purchased on board- costs $8 to $12 per drink/snacks (2$ for coffee)
- Spirit competes with Frontier, who also have similar model

Spirit seem to have a fleet largely consisting of A320 family aircrafts. They have few business class seats also. Ticket booking experience was smooth- though I wish they had included tax component upfront than adding it at subsequent stage

Web-check in: I checked in shortly once it opened up (24 hours prior)- was assigned seat 20B- I guess Spirit software intentionally assigns middle seats first to those who don't pay, hoping people will pay for window/aisle seat. If you check-in little later may be you will have higher chances of getting a good seat. I could board the flight with mobile boarding pass, without having to print it.

If one has to check-in at airport extra 10 $ fee, as it takes gate agent's time. But I am not sure how this works in case of international flights requiring visa verification (Jet Blue and SouthWest didn't let me check-in online for some international flights due to my Indian passport, had to do at airport check-in counter)- would that also be automated or someone booking international flight may be forced to visit the counter for boarding pass at a mandatory extra cost of 10 $.

Once inside, I was surprised to see the seat pocket and tray table.
Seat pocket was made up of few strings arranged to be able to hold the menu and safety instructions. So much cost cutting.

I have a suggestion to Spirit- remove these strings also and save few more dollars. Let passengers remove their shoe lace, hook it and use as seat pocket string if they want!

Tray table is tiny- can't hold a laptop

There is no pushback on the seat. Zero recline. Long flight will be a pain.

Snacks and drinks are sold on the plane- no cash accepted, only credit and debit card. Coffee is cheapest at 2 USD, most other drinks cost 8$ onwards while cocktails, alcoholic beverages costing 11-12 USD. No proper meals on sale, only some light snacks like muffin etc. I managed my flight without buying anything.

Flight landed almost on time- some 10 minutes late. Overall the trip was fine. But I would possibly avoid Spirit if I have better options- non reclining seats, charging for cabin bag are two big turn offs for me.

Spirit does have a loyalty program which gets you few more dollars of savings, but it is a paid membership- the 9$ club- I had planned only one flight so didn't bother taking up this membership.


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