Spirit Airlines

How to Fly Spirit Airlines (If You Must) — Flying Spirit Airlines

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Flying Spirit Airlines

Flying Spirit Air flying spirit airlinesOnce again we’re looking at flying out to see friends over a weekend this spring. And once again it looks like the lowest cost option is Spirit Airlines. Now if you’re flying by yourself and flying Spirit Air would only save you $50 or so I can completely understand why you may choose to go with another airline. In our case, we are flying with our family of four. In this particular case, including all additional costs, we are saving $81.50 a person by flying on Spirit. Multiply that by four and that is $326 savings. However, if we do this wrong, Spirit could easily cost us more than one of the other airlines. Here’s what we’re doing to save money by flying on Spirit Airlines.

Buy Your Tickets at the Airport

First, we are buying our tickets at the airport. Spirit charges a $16.99 surcharge per ticket for each one-way ticket you purchase online. Two $16.99 charges for four people comes to $135.92. Well over the cost in gas and parking we will have to pay to drive to the airport to get our tickets. If you’re only one person, it might not be worth driving to airport to save $33.98 if the cost of gas and parking ends up being close to that. That is something you have to figure out.

Make Sure Your Carry-On Fits Under the Seat in Front of You and Pay for Checked Bags Online

Flying Spirit Air  flying spirit airlinesWith Spirit Airlines they will charge you for any carry-on that does not fit under the seat in front of you. It is also cheaper to purchase your bags online than at the airport. So even though we go to the airport to buy our tickets, we wait to purchase our bags online. Spirit Air has recently changed their prices and decreased the price of a carry-on; it used to cost $10 more to carry-on a bag rather than to check a bag, now it’s a $5 difference. It is $35 to bring a carry-on and $30 to bring a checked bag. That is the price if you purchase them online BEFORE you check-in for your flight. If you wait to purchase bags until you check-in online the price goes up to $45 for a carry-on and $40 for a checked bag. If you wait to do it at the airport ticket counter it is $50 for a carry-on and $45 for a checked bag. If you do it at the gate it is $100 for either one.

Join the $9 Club if You Plan to Fly Spirit Often

I bought their $9 club membership last year for $59.95. If there’s a $9 fare ticket I can buy everyone’s ticket at that price as long as I’m one of the people flying. I also get $9 off bag fees if I purchase our bags online. If I do it at the airport (at the counter or at the gate) I pay the same price as everyone else. I have managed to save more than the $59.95 fee over the course of a year so buying the membership was the right decision for us. It really depends on how much you plan on flying on Spirit and if you can take advantage of their cheaper fares. Last year I was able to book three one-way tickets from DFW to Orlando for $29.90 each. When three or four of us are flying we tend to check one bag for the group of us so we have saved money there too. spiritfees  flying spirit airlines

You Need to Pay for Assigned Seats

Spirit also charges for seats. Unless you are traveling with kids you will not be guaranteed that you will sit next to the person or people you are traveling with unless you pay extra for your seats ahead of time. This hasn’t been an issue for us since every time we’ve flown Spirit we’re flying with the kids or one of us is flying by ourselves, but it’s something to be aware of if sitting next to the people you’re traveling with is a big deal or not. You can also pay more for seats that have more leg room or the “big front seats” in the front of the plane. The price for seats vary depending on the distance of the flight and what kind of seat you choose.

Forget Free Peanuts, No Free Soda!

Flying Spirit Air  flying spirit airlinesSpirit does not offer any kind of complimentary beverage or snack service on any of their routes. If you want a water or a soda you will have to pay for it. They also sell snack food and alcoholic beverages as well. These prices seem to be on par with other airlines food/drink prices. They also offer price breaks if you buy more than one item. You save $1 if you buy two items, $2 if you buy three items, etc. We tend to bring our own food and drinks on the flight, but we have sometimes purchased snacks during the flight if we didn’t bring our own.

Print Out Your Boarding Pass Ahead of Time

If you go to the ticket counter and do not have your boarding passes already printed out, either at home, or at their kiosks at the airport you will be charged a printing fee of $5 a pass. I had a mild panic attack on our last trip when we had to change our flight home because of weather and then I couldn’t print out our new boarding passes before heading to the airport. Luckily, as long as I did it at their kiosk, we were not charged for them.

In Sum…

Flying Spirit Air  flying spirit airlinesWhenever I suggest someone fly on Spirit Airlines I also tell them to make sure they know all the ins and outs and they should figure out their extra costs beforehand. You don’t want to end up paying more than you would have paid on another airline because you didn’t pay for your luggage ahead of time. I would also not recommend purchasing tickets on Spirit through a third-party site. I know not everyone is willing to jump through all the hoops, and for some the savings may be negligible, but I have no problem doing all of these things to fly on Spirit Air. In this case it will save us over $300. That kind of savings several times over the course of a year can go towards an extra family trip for us; and that is worth the inconvenience for me.  🙂

For an update and MORE Spirit information, click here.


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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.


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