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.


  1. One has to go deep to find out the exact cost of any fare-how taxing!

  2. This is my first and for sure my last flight on Spirit. First, they lure you in with cheap up front fares and then if you want a seat or any luggage, they overcharge you. Second, the return flight was nothing short of an epic failure in management and logistics. Anyoney you save will be recouped by the airport as you will be spending LOTS of time due to multiple delays. Fly someone else!!

  3. So where do I start? I arrived at LAX for my travel to Nashville, TN. To attend my sons wedding. After 2.5 hours in traffic to get to the airport arriving 45 minutes before my flight left, I was informed that I could not make the flight because they would not check my baggage in. I pleaded but to no avail. However, the girl next to me told the counter agent she needed to get on this flight. They told her sorry she could not because they could not check her luggage in. She informed them that she would carry it on the plane (this suitcase was just slightly smaller than my suitcase and definitely wasn’t going to fit in the overhead compartment) so they gave her a boarding pass letting her proceed. I pleaded that I would by another bag and repack in a suitcase that would accommodate the overhead bin. She informed me that I could not leave my empty suitcase so she would not let me board. I then asked to speak with a supervisor and was told they would be here in 35 minutes. 😡 I informed her that the flight now leaves in 40 minutes and even if I spoke to the supervisor I would still miss my flight. However, I decided to wait for the supervisor who continued to be unsympathetic to my issue. I was also informed that my ticket was non refundable and I would lose the total cost of my purchase. They did however offer to rebook my flight for the following day for an addition $100, but we’ll after my sons scheduled wedding . So I re-booked with another airline (United) that would put me in TN in time to make my sons wedding. So on the return flight I got to the airlines 2 hours early. When I checked in I was told that because I missed my first flight that my return flight was automatically cancelled. I was extreamly

  4. Having recent surgery I paid for the bundle where I could pick my seat. When I went to get on the plane they told me I was reassigned so a family cold sit together. I was given a seat at the back of the plane in the middle row. I objected at the gate and was told I could accept the change or rebook on a later flight. Traveling with "my family" I boarded and painfully flew to my destination. Called customer service when I got home and they originally said since I had traveled there was nothing they could do for me ,,, no refund. I protested and they escalated my call. Supervisor also refused to help and said I could send an email to corporate. When the passenger behind me in line at the gate entered the plane he told me the Gate Agent I was talking to was told by another agent you never tell a passenger they were moved for a family, you tell them they were moved to accommodate a disabled passenger. Could they be a more disgusting company? I am still fighting for a refund and won't easily give up. I do know I will never fly with them again and I am sorry I tried them this time. Moral of the story, don't pay to pick your seat, just ask that it be changed at the gate. If they refuse, make up a story why you need to be changed. Please don't be offensive and say you have a disability though.


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