Airlines

Why I Still Stand By Spirit Airlines

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http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-spirit-airlines-image21094823I know I post a lot about Spirit Airlines and a lot of people still tell me how they would never go through all those hoops for cheap airline tickets or how horrible the service is, or how they are just not up to par with the other major airlines in the U.S. Again, to a single person flying I can understand how paying a little more is isn’t a big deal, especially if you can get status on a major airline I don’t blame you in the slightest for choosing to not fly on Spirit. But for our family, Spirit is how we can afford the majority of our traveling in the U.S.

Click here for tips on flying Spirit Airlines.

We have been invited to two out-of-town events in April. For one we have to fly into Detroit, the other the D.C. area. I went to the airport this weekend to buy our airline tickets for both. One of those trips cost us $456 round-trip. Add the $42 for checking one bag each way and that comes to $498. That’s for four people flying round-trip on a non-stop flight. The second trip came to $536, with the $42 for checked bags that comes to $578. That comes to $1,076 for two round-trip, non-stop flights for four people, total. With all the other airlines (yes, including Southwest) we’d easily be paying close to that amount for one of these flights. And we wouldn’t necessarily be flying non-stop either. We can’t do everything we want to do and pay $1,000 – $1,200 every time the four of us want to go somewhere. But paying $500 – $600 makes these trips much more feasible for us.

Click here for information on understanding the checked bag and carry-on bag fees on Spirit.

spirit in airI also have to say I have had really positive encounters with the ticket counter agents the majority of the time I have gone to the airport to buy tickets. I have definitely never had a bad encounter, at worst, they’re average, but, more often than not, they have been really nice and helpful to work with. I understand ticket agents (and gate agents) probably get the brunt of our frustration, but customer service is still part of the job even if you have to deal with crabby passengers all day. It was the ticket-counter agent who told me it was cheaper to purchase bags online and who suggested what kind of bags best fit under the seats (duffel, make sure it doesn’t have wheels). Spirit also does not guarantee seat assignments with your party unless you’re flying with kids. It seems when we’re flying less popular routes (i.e. not Florida or Vegas) the ticket counter agent pre-assigns our seats together which always gives me peace of mind.

When given the option, I much prefer being able to say “yes” to going to several out-of-town events instead of having to choose one over the other, or having only one of us go instead of us all going together as a family. As long as Spirit Airlines still gives us that option, I’m going to continue to fly on them, even if it means jumping through some hoops and giving up some “creature comforts” of the other airlines. And, really, with how much airlines are taking away or charging extra for these days, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much.

sfl-spirit-new-inflight-beverages-20130605-001

(Editor’s note: Plus, Tiff can always indulge in wine-in-a-can while flying.  -J)

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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.

5 Comments

  1. Noah

    February 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I agree with your comments. I would never chose to fly Spirit as I have done it 3 times and would rather pay more for a better experience, more reliability, etc.

    BUT I admire the company for being relentless in its pursuit of low fares. We can joke about their cost cutting, but I’m fine with seeing ads on tray tables and laugh that the corporate employees have no housekeeping service. The fees may seem annoying, but Spirit is the best in the industry at disclosing them and educating customers (if you book on their website) and they are clear about their value proposition. No legroom allows more seats for lower price per seat. You get what you pay for and you pay for what you use.

    It is up to the customer to decide if that is worthwhile for them. For tons of people, Spirit provides the only reasonable cost air travel and I can respect their business, even if I chose to not be a customer.

  2. AKP

    February 24, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    I had the “luxury” of flying Spirit (DFW-SAN) for work because of LLA rule at my job. A little delay on the outbound, but no major issues. I splurged on the big front seats on my own dime, but total costs with the bags and seats came out about $200 less than the next “major” competitor. And if you fly in the big front seats, it’s pretty comfortable!

  3. Jon

    February 24, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    My wife and I tried Spirit for the first time in January to catch a winter getaway cruise. Spirit flies nonstop Myrtle Beach to Ft Lauderdale on a schedule that worked for us. I read Spirit’s web site carefully, went to the airport and purchased the tickets. Our flights were on time and we even ended up sitting together with out paying for that option.
    If Spirit offers a non stop flight to my next destination, they’ll be my first choice.

  4. srin

    October 22, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Spirit for me is a final option. They aren’t that cheap (JetBlue is comparable pricewise for a much better experience). And that standby option with Spirit- Its $99 now

    • Tiff

      October 23, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      If you live on the east coast, flying on Jet Blue sounds like a great option. However, I don’t. I’m limited to flying on Jet Blue only to the east coast and some places in the Caribbean. None of the west coast destinations, or even Florida are offered, I’d have to make two separate reservations if I wanted to do that. The only non-stop on Jet Blue in our area is to Boston. So anywhere I’d want to go, I would have to go through Boston first. If I’m planning on flying to Boston, I’ll take a look at Jet Blue. Other than that, the service they provide doesn’t make sense for us at this time.

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