What is the Big Front Seat & Why is it Underrated?
The Cadillac of domestic travel perks/options is the Southwest Companion pass. There are probably 10 million posts about that perk scattered across the internet. But what I want to focus on is what I believe to be the most underrated domestic travel option. That would be the Big Front Seat on Spirit Airlines or the BFS! Many people overlook it as a legit option since it is well, you know, it is Spirit after all.
Why I think the Big Front Seat is Underrated
Spirit is currently trying to work their way out of being a terrible airline. They used to embrace this aura so much so that they would give bonus miles for telling them why you hate them. Think about that for a second, they really embraced “the suck”. That is a tough hole to dig yourself out of but it appears that they have.
Since then they have come under new management and they have increased their on time stats quarter over quarter. Spirit now ranks number 1 overall in domestic online arrivals. Not Delta, Alaska, Southwest, Jetblue…no no no it is Spirit who you want to fly if getting there on time is your number one priority.
They are still a no frills airline: charging for seats, bags, and some boarding passes. But one of those seating options is the Big Front Seat and sometimes it comes dirt cheap.
All the Details on the Big Front Seat & My Recent Experiences
I have had a chance to fly Spirit’s Big Front Seat 3 times in the last few months. And I wanted to share my thoughts on it with you. Before we get into that I should probably go over what is a Big Front Seat.
The first two rows of Spirit aircraft normally have what are essentially first class seats. They are similar in size to what you would find on Delta, American, or United’s domestic first class cabin. This is the area where the Big Front Seats reside. They are essentially a first class seat without the frills of first class flying but I’ll get into that more later.
Big Front Seat Pricing
This is where the magic is. If you find a great deal on Spirit you can fly in a big front seat for cheaper than other airlines are charging for Basic Economy. On our recent trip to Orlando, the trip I did two weeks in a row, we took advantage of the Big Front Seat for one of the flights.
By purchasing the tickets at the airport I was able to get them for $90 a person roundtrip, or $40 cheaper than they were online for each ticket. We still had to select seats and the Big Front Seats were an additional $65 per person each way. In case you are not great at math that would be an out of pocket cost of $220 roundtrip, per person, to fly in a quasi first class seat. For a similar Delta economy flight the price was hovering around $300 per person during that time. That is insane value!
This is not a unique experience either. On a recent trip to Denver I was able to get a big front seat both ways and still saved money versus booking an economy flight with any other airline.
What Do You Get When Flying BFS?
You get a bigger seat, duh! In all honesty that is about it. You don’t get free drinks or snacks, you don’t get a private bathroom and you don’t get any special treatment. I did get Zone 2 boarding but I don’t think that is normal when purchasing a Big Front Seat. As I have said in the past boarding zones are not a big deal on Spirit Airlines. Many people check bags on Spirit because it is cheaper than carrying on so there is always ample bin space. This also makes the boarding and deplaning process a breeze!
There are some things you do get that you would never think about on other planes. You get a full blown back pocket on the seat in front of you, many Spirit planes simply give you bungee ropes to hold stuff.
And you also get a full tray table even though it is a fold out tray table versus the tiny one in economy.
What Don’t You Get When Flying BFS
You miss out on pretty much everything you associate with first class flying, besides the seat of course. There are no pre-departure drinks, you don’t even get free water! Everything still costs extra, this is a no frills set up remember. But you do get the bigger seat and I put comfort above all else.
There are a few downsides to the bigger seat though. The BFS still do not recline like the rest of the seats on Spirit which is annoying but it is what it is. This is something to consider if you are doing a red-eye flight or a longer flight. And the back of the seats are not padded at all so when someone is messing around in their seat back pocket behind you you can feel it a little bit in your back. It only lasts a few seconds while they are digging around but it is slightly annoying.
My Final Thoughts
I would fly Spirit’s Big Front Seat over any other domestic economy product every time. If they were the same price there isn’t really a debate in my mind. And you can often get the Big Front Seat for less than standard economy on other airlines which makes it a no brainer.
So why isn’t this a bigger thing? Well it is Spirit Airlines and they spent decades building a bad rep so people dismiss them right off the bat. Their frequent flyer program is also a complete joke. And they don’t offer any perks for status seekers etc. So if you are looking for a domestic program to build loyalty with then Spirit probably isn’t your first, second or third choice.
However if you are going to pay cash for the flight and you are looking for the best deal then Spirit will most likely fit the bill. You may even be able to nab the Big Front Seat and ride in style while keeping those extra dollar bills in your pocket.