5 Things You Need To Know Before Flying Spirit Airlines

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5 Tips For Flying Spirit Airlines Without Pulling Out Your Hair

Last week I had a post discussing my recent trip on Spirit Airlines and how I came away impressed.  I think I enjoyed flying Spirit Airlines because I was prepared and I had reasonable expectations. I wanted to share my 5 tips for flying Spirit Airlines for anyone who has never flown them or at least hasn’t in a while.  It may surprise people but Spirit’s on time rating was better than some of the big boys earlier this year.  I plan on making them a regular addition to my domestic travels, when the price is right.

Prices for DTW to FLL. They will be around the same for each flight.

Tips For Flying Spirit Airlines – Baggage/Seat Fees

I said in my previous article that Spirit is a great airline for a quick trip and a solo flights.  That is because a 2-3 day trip is the easiest flight to avoid fees on. You must come prepared because Spirit charges for almost everything.

The first round of fees will be bags.  Unless you can fit everything in a backpack (including your purse ladies) you should pay for bags at the time of booking.  Bag fees are cheapest at the time of booking as you can see above. In a twist of sorts Spirit also charges less for checked luggage versus carry-on luggage.  If your bag is close to the limits then check it since they will hit you with a $50 fee at the door if it is too big.

You also pick your seats at the time of booking.  If you are flying solo and don’t care where you sit then skip this and save the money.  For people that want an aisle or window seat it will cost you a few dollars each way.  If you choose seats towards the back of the plane the price drops to the $5 or $6 range.

Tips For Flying Spirit Airlines – Ticketing Fees

The second thing you need to know about flying Spirit Airlines is that they will charge you to print your boarding pass at the airport with an agent.  If you want to save that $10 print it off at home or pull up the tickets on your phone. I believe you can also print them at the Spirit self serve kiosks for free.  I was able to get the tickets in my email for our return flight. You can always go to your hotel business center if you would rather print them.

Pro Tip: You can save around $20 on Spirit Airlines tickets each way if you purchase them from the ticket counter at the airport.  This isn’t feasible for most people but if you plan it right, like when you at the airport already on another trip, you could save a nice chunk of money (would have been $80 for our one way).

Tips For Flying Spirit Airlines – Snacks/Drinks

Bring your own drinks and snacks with you.  Remember that Spirit charges for everything including water.  The seat back pockets are bungee cords on some planes, not pockets, so you want a drink with a cap anyway.  The newer plane’s tray tables are tiny as well so don’t expect to spread out your food on there either.  Sturdy drinks and bagged snacks are the way to go here.  You can bring the snacks from home but purchase the drink after you get through security.

Tips For Flying Spirit Airlines – The Seats

There are a few thing to know about the seats besides the tiny tray tables and the bungee cord pockets.  The seats are less padded than competitor’s seats so you may wanna brink a blanket etc. to sit on for longer flights.  I didn’t notice any discomfort on my flight but it was only 2 hours long. Spirit’s seats are closer together than more traditional airlines. You may have a little less width than you are accustomed to.

Another thing to be aware of is none of the seats recline on the newer planes.  For some that is not an issue and for others it is a deal breaker.  I wouldn’t book a red-eye flight expecting to get some restful sleep.

Pro Tip: If you have a child who likes to color remember to bring a clipboard etc. for them to color on since the tray tables are not an option.  They do fit a tablet perfectly fine though.

Bin Space After I Boarded With Group 3 Of 4

Tips For Flying Spirit Airlines – The Good

After going over all of the things to be aware of let’s talk about some of the good stuff.  Yes Spirit does a few things really well.

Spirit’s boarding procedure is among the best mainly because of their baggage fees.  A lot of people check their luggage since it is cheaper which removes the fight for overhead bin space.  The deboarding process is also much smoother since less people need to take luggage off the plane.  If you pay for baggage you get priority boarding, something people pay extra for on other airlines without checking baggage.

Spirit has made great strides in the customer service department.  The flight attendants are very professional and kind.  They seem to have a lot less on their plate as well since most people become self sufficient to save money on Spirit.  Their on time rates have steadily improved and they actually beat American Airlines and United Airlines from time to time (see link above).


I think flying Spirit and having a positive experience only requires knowledge of their operation and realistic expectations.  I hope this article helped you with the knowledge portion.  There is a lot to like about Spirit Airlines when the price is right, which it often is.

Let me know your experiences in the comments section.


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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