For a “well-worn” traveler, I have always looked for the best value in airfare and not simply focusing on the lowest possible price. For that reason, I have not taken a budget airline in the past few years. I finally had the opportunity when I needed to book a direct flight to Las Vegas for my birthday trip. I was eyeing Jet Blue but, alas, they did not have a flight that would accommodate my travel schedule so I bit the bullet and booked with Spirit Airlines. Here is what I discovered when taking Spirit Airlines.
- Read the fine print before you book your tickets. This is one airline where it’s worth your time to read the fine prints! If you don’t, you will have sticker shock on what they will charge you. The “add on fees” will end up costing you more than taking a normal airline flight.
- Make sure to book, check-in and pay for everything in advance. Spirit Airlines will charge a premium fee for printing out your boarding pass, paying for your Carry On or checking in your luggage at the airport. It will cost you less to check-in and pay everything at home.
- Spirit Airlines IS NOT part of the TSA Approved service. For those with Global Entry, you will not get “TSA Approved” on your ticket. This means you will go through security the old fashion way. Be prepared to come to the airport earlier.
- MEASURE your carry on. I saw an Spirit Airlines personnel charging people extra if the carry-on looks bigger than the exact measurement in their fine print! I was worried so I took a measuring tape and made sure my carry-on fits the requirement. If not, it will cost you an arm and a leg.
- The $8 additional leg room upgrade on the plane is worth it. The other seats are so jammed in there that I don’t know how someone over 5 ft. can sit comfortably!
- The seat DOES NOT RECLINE. I was not aware of this and for a 6 hours flight, this is pure torture.
- There is NO POWER OUTLET at your seat. You will need to bring extra source of power for your mobile devices.
- There is no WIFI either. You can’t even pay for it!
- There is no entertainment (no television screen, no magazine, etc…) during your flight so you will need to bring mobile device or a book to read.
- The selection of drinks and snacks are limited and costly. There is no hot water or coffee to purchase either. My tip is to bring your own thermos and fill it up at the café prior to boarding. Also bring water and food as there is only junk food for the flight.
- The staff is friendlier than most US airlines that I’ve been on. Our cabin crew had a wicked sense of humor and kept me chuckling throughout the flight.
- The plane was cleaner than I’ve expected.
Overall, you get what you pay for. As long as you are aware of what you are getting yourself into, then the flight will be enjoyable. I found that my fellow passengers who took some things for granted were “upset” during their flight and grumbled about the outrageous fees. This is the Chinatown bus of flying. You get in, bring extra things to make your flight comfortable, be on time, and it will save you a few bucks in the end.