My Growing Love for Spirit Airlines
I live in Las Vegas and lately there is no escaping Spirit Airlines. They are growing here like the plague and it seems every time I want to travel to a city, my choices for a direct flight are a legacy carrier or Southwest at 2-4X the price or Spirit at a bargain. While I have resisted Spirit recently on a couple of trips, I had a very nice flight with them to Detroit in July and traveled a roundtrip to San Diego this past week as well.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “Aren’t you the one who wrote about the uncomfortable bare metal plane seats?” Why, yes I am. There are certainly aspects of the company and their product that I don’t like. For example I am not a fan of their carry-on policy, but I generally travel light anyway and have a couple of backpacks that qualify as free and give me plenty of space. Problem solved (for me).
As a bigger guy who is 6’2″, I am also not a fan of their pre-reclined seats and 28″ pitch. With that said, I can normally buy the Big Front Seat (pretty much the equivalent to a legacy domestic first class seat) and still come out cheaper than the other carriers in a lot of cases. On shorter flights. I can sit in a normal seat and deal with some pain for a 75% savings. In other words I either save a ton of money, get a better seat or both.
What Spirit Does Right
But none of those things are reasons why Spirit Airlines is growing on me. Would you believe they are winning me over with their service?!? Well let me backup. Everything on the plane costs money including water. I generally don’t order anything so I am actually not even being served, but other people are and the quality of the flight attendants is noticeable.
I have noticed that the Spirit flight attendants are consistently fun, friendly and treat customers with respect. That doesn’t happen with the surly legacy FAs in most cases. They also do fun things like sing songs and hold random activities. Yes, activities! For example, on my flight back from San Diego the crew held a 10 minute trivia game where nearly the entire plane of 228 passengers (yes they squeeze that many people on an A321) participated.
I have also noticed that the airline communicates better than say…..American Airlines. American is now famous for not announcing a delay until boarding time. The other day my flight back from San Diego was delayed due to weather in Las Vegas (not Spirit’s fault), but they emailed me hours ahead of time to let me know. It was a pleasant surprise and one that allowed me to plan my afternoon better.
Sure, Spirit does have huge issues and I am not ignoring them. If they have delays and/or cancellations you can be out of luck trying to find alternative transportation and they have more fees than you can shake a stick at. But I have taken nearly a dozen flights with them without a single issue. I haven’t been charged a fee I didn’t know about and the planes have always been new, clean and on-time. (This week’s weather delay aside.)
Spirit probably won’t ever be my airline of choice, but with a Big Front Seat, a nonstop flight and a cheaper overall fare, I won’t hesitate to fly them in the right scenario. I know it is popular to dump on Spirit, but if you have never experienced the airline and if the cost/convenience makes sense, then you might want to give them a try. You might just find a friendly airline making travel possible at a fraction of the cost, back pain and friendly smiles included.