If you ask the online community for their opinion on whether or not to fly Spirit Airlines, the U.S. based budget carrier, advice will come pouring in to run the other way. Sadly, they haven’t earned the greatest reputation, but we think they're pretty awesome!
We recently tested out Spirit Airways on a short flight from Los Angeles, CA to Las Vegas, NV and were pleasantly surprised. Because it was such a short flight and a last minute trip, we decided not to use points and booked with cash (or rather, credit card-- to collect more points, of course!)
At the time of booking, we noticed that they had four first class seats available to upgrade for only $29 per seat! (Spirit calls their first class “Big Front Seats”). If you’ve always wanted a chance to fly first class, but haven’t yet and don't have points, Spirit would be the place to go ahead and give it a try. We enjoyed the seats more than many first class domestic products we’ve flown, including American Airlines domestic first class, and the price is super cheap.
When we first walked in to the check-in area, we were greeted with utter chaos. Apparently a recent flight had been canceled and there was a pack of frustrated fliers crowding the desk trying to get refunds or put on other flights. But after only a short moment of standing there trying to assess the situation and what line we should be in, we were approached by a Spirit Airlines employee who helped us right away. He was able to check us in without waiting in line, weighed, tagged and checked our bags and sent us on our way to the gate in just a few short minutes. He was friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and positive despite the chaos swirling all around. What a great way to start our trip!
The actual hard product of the Big Front Seats is impressive. The seats are large, comfortable, modern and clean. There is a lot of legroom and space. They don’t serve any meals or drinks, even in first class, (nope, not even peanuts!) so be prepared with snacks or prepared to buy. However, the prices to buy snacks are not outrageous, and are actually quite fair. For example, our daughter bought a bag of snack mix for $4 but it ended up being a huge bag that the four of us were able to split. Although there is no personal entertainment, Spirit Airways has recently equipped their entire fleet with WiFi available for purchase.
Keep in mind, that although Spirit can look ultra thrifty at first glance, they do have a lot of hidden fees. So beware, because those fees can quickly add up making your flight more expensive than other options. When researching, be sure to consider all the fees in advance to assess whether the price you see really is a steal.
Spirit Airlines extra fees consist of:
**Note: you are entitled to 1 personal item to bring onboard for free which can be a small backpack. I put my purse inside a backpack and filled them both up, which allowed me to bring on many items without purchasing a carry-on bag, and still allowed me to bring my purse.
We really enjoyed flying Spirit Airlines Big Front Seats and look forward to flying them again in the future. We’ve heard nightmare stories of them canceling flights and always running late, so try them out on a flight when you're flexible. (For the record, our flight was slightly late boarding- about 15 minutes- ,but it was not a huge inconvenience and we made up some of that time in the air anyway. There may be blips along the way, but if you come with flexibility, patience, and snacks, you can score a great flight for a super low price! Even considering we had 3 checked bags (One was overweight), upgraded first class seats, and a few purchased snacks, we still ended up paying less than a Southwest economy flight!
Did you love or hate Spirit Airlines when you flew them? Tell us your experience in the comments!