Everything You Need to Know About Spirit Airlines

a close-up of a blue and black sign

There have been some changes with Spirit since my post back in January so I wanted to give everyone the latest updates and try to clear up the most common questions I get. Granted, Spirit has a lot of hoops to jump through so I’m probably not going to get to everything; so feel free to keep asking in the comments if I didn’t cover something or wasn’t as clear as I could have been!

What Happens in a Flight Cancellation or Bad Weather?

a plane flying in the skyI recently did a Google search on Spirit and I saw some websites that claim Spirit doesn’t or can’t move you to flights with other airlines if there’s a delay. Spirit Airlines has the same policies as any other carrier I’ve been on in the U.S. If there’s a mechanical issue; they will move you to a different flight on a different airline to help you make it to your destination on time.

Even with severe weather issues Spirit was very accommodating letting people change their flights and waiving the change fees and the price difference in flights.

Buy Your Tickets at the Airport

Buying your tickets at the airport. Spirit charges $16.99 per ticket each way for buying tickets online. So for one round-trip ticket that’s a $33.98 fee. For us, it’s still a savings to go to the airport to buy the ticket even if it’s just for one person; but I try to get as many as possible in one trip to DFW if I know we have multiple flights coming up.

DFW is one of their hubs; so their ticket counter is open approximately 22 hours a day, 7 days a week (it’s closed from about 1:30 – 3:30 a.m. daily). If they have less frequent flights where you live a good rule-of-thumb is 2 1/2 hours before the first flight of the day until the last flight of the day takes off.

a man looking into the distanceIf they have a bunch of morning flights, then a bunch of evening flights they may close in the middle of the afternoon, that’s typical for any airline that has blocks of time with no flights going out.

They will have two lines for the ticket counters; one is the “Fast Bag Drop” line and the other is the “Full Service” line. If you’re going to buy tickets you need to get in the “Full Service” line. It also makes it easier if you look online ahead of time and know what days and times you want to fly out on. If you watch the scene in “Airplane!” where Ted Striker buys his tickets it’s not too different from that except they won’t hand you a smoking ticket. 😉

The $9 Fare Club

a group of images of luggage and a shark

If going to the airport to buy your tickets isn’t convenient; you may want to consider joining the $9 fare club.

UPDATE: the price has gone up from $59.95 a year to $69.95 a year.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: As of Sept 1st, Spirit’s website has the price listed as $59.95 again.

a plane on the runwayWhen I see $9 fare club prices, they are usually $10, $15 or $20 cheaper, each way, than the normal ticket price. That’s close to the same savings you would get buying your tickets at the airport. They’re not always available; but I suggest watching the flights for a while to see if it would benefit you.

You can wait and buy the membership the day you want to buy the tickets you see. You can get the $9 fares for other people in your party. The Spirit website states: “Enjoy the same savings for everyone on your travel itinerary. Benefits apply to you and up to 8 additional passengers on your itinerary.

Passengers must be reserved on the same booking confirmation number as the $9 fare club member in order to receive fare and/or bag savings.” When I joined I saved $50 on my tickets and the cost of membership was $59.95 so it was only a $9.95 risk for me to join. Even if I didn’t use any of the savings the rest of the year I would be no more than ten dollars worse off.

Also; the $9 membership is good for 365 days from the day you buy it. So if you buy it Aug 22, 2014; your last day of membership will be Aug 21, 2015. You also have to cancel it; the default is automatic renewal. If you know you want to cancel it I would start trying at least a week out to make sure it gets done on time.

Carry-On Charges

a black bag with a handleThey charge for carry-ons.

Bags seems to be the #1 thing that gets people every time they fly on Spirit. There hasn’t been a time where I haven’t seen a person at the counter shocked they have to pay for their carry-on or an overweight fee because their bag weighs more than 40 pounds.

Avoid a spirit airlines baggage fee by paying attention to the size of your bag.

You can bring one “personal item” free of charge. The personal item cannot be more than 16 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches (40 cm x 35 cm x 30 cm). So, for example, you cannot have a purse and a laptop bag. You can only have one or the other.

I highly recommend a backpack or a duffel bag without wheels or a handle as your personal item bag.

If I want to bring a purse I put it inside my backpack or my checked bag if I have one. Also, there is no weight limit to the personal item. I cannot tell you how many times we have lugged heavy backpacks on those flights to make sure our checked bag did not exceed 40 pounds.

Checked Bag Costs

Checked bags cost less than carry-on bags do. Also, the closer you get to your flight, the more expensive your bag will cost you. If you are a $9 fare club member, you get a discount on bags (both carry-on and checked) and that is where being a $9 fare club member has saved us the most money. For the cheapest rate you must purchase your bag more than 24 hours before your flight. Once you can check-in online the price goes up $10 per bag each way, then it goes up again $5 per bag if you purchase it at the ticket counter, and if you don’t pay until you get to the gate it’ll cost you $100 per bag no matter what. If you brain fart and forget to purchase your bag before online check-in the day you leave, you can still get the cheaper rate for your luggage on your return flight provided you’re not flying back within 24 hours.

a white and yellow table with black text

Car Seats

Please note, no airline in the United States can charge you for checking car or booster seats for children. These are always free of charge but you still have to go through the line to check them as baggage. You are also welcome to bring them on the plane for your child to sit in provided they have their own seat (read: not a lap infant). Spirit Airlines will let you gate-check or check a stroller as baggage free of charge.

From Spirit’s website: “You’re welcome to bring an FAA-approved child safety seat onboard as long as a separate seat has been purchased for the child. We will do our best to reseat you to an open seat (not including our Big Front Seats) if the car seat is too large for a regular seat. We will happily check one stroller and one car seat per child for no extra cost at the ticket counter. You may also check these items at the gate. We’ll have them waiting for you in your arrival city when you get off the aircraft.â€

Increased Baggage Costs for Holiday Travel

a large red balls in a fountainSpirit is doing a new thing where they increase the price of bags by $2 if you purchased tickets for a holiday season after a certain date.

So if you’re planning on traveling on Spirit this year between December 18, 2014 – January 5, 2015 and you haven’t bought your tickets yet, your bag will cost you $2 more than the prices listed above.

The exception to this is $9 fare club members. Their cost for bags will remain the same. It is normally $9 cheaper than the non-club member so this would make it $11 cheaper per bag. Keep in mind this is only for bags purchased online.

Once you get to the airport the cost of bags is the same for everybody, $9 club fare member or not. Also the prices of a bag is for each way. So make sure you pay for the bag online for both your flight out and your return flight. One checked bag for a round-trip flight will cost $60. It’s $42 if you’re a $9 fare member. One carry-on bag costs $70 round-trip and it is $52 if you’re a $9 fare member.

Paying for Assigned Seats

a close-up of a person's head in a planeYou need to pay for assigned seats. If you are traveling with your kids you will be assigned seats with them even if you don’t buy them ahead of time, but it will probably be in the back of the aircraft.

Even if you’re not flying with kids, there is a chance you will be assigned seats together with the other people in your party without purchasing them ahead of time, but again, if you are you’ll probably be in the back of the airplane.

My husband flew with two friends of ours this past summer and the three of them were assigned seats in the same row together on both the flight out and the return flight.

The cost of selecting a seat ahead of time depends on the seat and the length of the flight. I have also been on flights that weren’t full where they offered exit row seats free of charge to anyone who wanted to switch, but I’m usually flying with my kids when that happens and can’t take advantage of that since people under the age of 15 cannot fly in the exit row seats.

No Complimentary Drinks on Flight

a group of wine bottlesThere are no complimentary food or drinks on the flight. They even charge for water and soda. That being said; their snacks and alcohol selection seems to be about the same prices that other airlines charge. And for those who were concerned, yes, they still offer wine-in-a-can on the flights though I definitely do NOT recommend it.

Print Your Boarding Passes Ahead of Time

Print your boarding passes out ahead of time. Spirit charges to give you your boarding passes at the airport. It used to be $5 a boarding pass, but the price has recently gone up to $10 a boarding pass. If there are 3 or 4 of you flying together, that’s an extra $60 – $80 in fees for a round-trip flight. You can print your passes at the kiosks at the airport free of charge if that’s easier for you. I prefer to do it at home so it’s one less thing for me to do at the airport.

Prices Fluctuate Quickly

a plane flying in the skyJust a word of warning; Spirit’s prices can change quickly.

I’ve kicked myself for buying tickets too soon (because I was worried the prices would go up) and then finding the same flight later for about $40 less than I bought the tickets for. However, I’ve also been in the other situation where the price had gone up since I last checked.

One time the price difference was only $10 so it wasn’t a big deal and I still bought the same tickets, but just today one of the flight’s I bought a ticket for yesterday has gone up $77. My return flight has gone down, but only by $10.

When I went to buy my ticket’s yesterday I did have a back-up flight time planned for my flight out. That flight went up by only $8 today.

So if I went to the airport today to buy my tickets, for the flight times I initially wanted, it would have cost me $67 more. If I changed to my back-up flight times, it would have been $2 less. The popularity of your destination and the days you’re flying out on play a big part in how much the price can jump.

Why Fly Spirit With All These Rules?

a plane on the runwayI still have no problem doing these things if it’s going to save us money.

I still look at every other airline when I’m looking at flights we want to take.

The trip I just booked yesterday is for next month and the only other airline that came close in price was American Airlines. Assuming I’m going to check a bag on Spirit, the price was within a couple of dollars of each other, but Spirit had the edge for having better flight times and non-stop flights.

American does have non-stop flights from DFW to Vegas, but those were much more expensive flights than what I was looking for. Even if I had to change to my back-up times, the options were still better than AA’s.

Had my back-up times not been available for the same price, then I would have reassessed and possibly gone with the AA flight.

In Conclusion

Spirit will continue to be our first choice for domestic flights for the time being. It would take a severe safety-of-flight issue or another airline offering lower fares for us to switch to one of the other airlines. If Spirit is the same price as another airline; flight times and non-stop offerings will still be our determining factors for which airline we decide to fly.



Don’t miss out on any of Jeanne & Keri’s adventures and tips. Follow us:

a logo of rss Invalid request error occurred. a blue square with white letter t a blue square with a white letter f

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

Related Posts:


  1. Your previous blog post did not have any evidence those passengers were put on another airline… Spirit’s IT system Navitaire cannot handle rebooking to other carriers as it is a ticketless system, so I’m not sure how that claim can be made.

    1. True, I can’t 100% verify they were put on other airlines. My assumption about the man was because we were flying out of Baltimore (not one of Spirit’s hubs) and their flight options are more limited out of that airport. The main point was, they did move him to a different flight to attempt to get him to his destination on time. It wasn’t a “so sad, too bad” that some people seem to indicate. I’ll see what I can find out if they have a work-around for putting people on other airlines.

      1. I flew Spirit for the first time this weekend. My inbound flight was overbooked, as well as my outbound flight. They asked for volunteers for 4 seats in exchange for a free round trip ticket, overnight hotel and booking on another airline. I jumped at the chance to get on another airline for the outbound flight. I got chosen and got booked on a Delta flight early tomorrow morning. Got put up in a nice hotel with transportation back and forth. And my round trip travel voucher which flies anywhere Spirit flies? I got TWO – Aruba is going to be my birthday trip and St Thomas will be another vacay – FREE AIRFARE. Can’t beat that!

        1. Good Luck!!!
          I had the same thing happen to me. Their round trip vouchers aren’t what you think they are. On any other airline – there is zero cost to you. On Spirit expect to pay about 50% of what the flight price is and that’s if you can actually get to a live person to book it!!!!
          I tried using ours and it covered a different amount for all the different flights/locations I was looking at traveling to.
          Regardless – it was going to cost me 50% of the price. It supposedly the covers the base fare portion but you can look up a flight online to see the base fare and it will be different when you go to book using your vouchers.

          For example- flight to Detroit cost $68.00 (one way) showed base fare portion was $51.00 so you would think you would have to pay $17.00 each way but Spirit only gave 31.00 each way towards base fare – I still had to pay 37.00 each way. They covered less than 50% of the ticket price. I priced out going to different places with the vouchers and each time I was paying out of pockets 50%+ of the ticket price.
          That’s not a round trip voucher for all the hassle I went through. Lost day of work cost me a lot more than their stupid voucher!!!

          I will pay the extra to fly with an airline that actually cares about their passengers!!

          1. When I went to Vegas last year, the flight was over 5 hours late. We were supposed to leave around 7PM and didn’t end up leaving until after midnight. The only thing they offered was a $5 food voucher AFTER all of the food places had already closed, and the voucher was only good for that day. They made NO offer to attempt to switch anyone to a different flight. I’m flying Spirit again on Wednesday to fly home for Christmas, only to learn that they increased their bag fees by $5-10 for the holidays. 1 checked bag will cost $80+ round trip. So I’m only bringing a personal item and shipping whatever I can’t fit back home because it will certainly be cheaper than paying their outrageous fees. This will definitely be my last time flying Spirit. I don’t care if their fares are lower. They don’t make up for bad service and fees that will make it just as expensive as any other airline.

      2. Hello, i noticed you wrote an article about spirit airlines. I’ve had prior bad experiences with them as well but the most recent was unjust which included prejudice and disrespect. On the day of my flight, i checked in early, only to get the door shut in my face. According, to my boarding pass, boarding was scheduled for 6:30 AM. However, the plane arrive late from Panama causing boarding to be pushed back 25 minutes. Then instead of boarding passengers zone by zone(normal protocol), they decided to board all the passengers at once. I heard the announcement while in the restroom rushed out literally a minute later. I watched the door close and ask the woman there working for spirit by the name of johanne who also happens to be a (Supervisor) could i board and she rudely, replied no, this flight will not be late for you Haitians. Then she proceeded to tell me go to another gate to get rebooked for the next flight, which happens to be for the following day, how inconvenient. I don’t understand why the customers are being held responsible for their lateness. I would like to take the necessary measures to ensure this airline hold some accountability for the horrific customer service, in which they provide. Low airfare does not grant any company the right to lack customer service and respect.

        If you know anywhere i can properly address this concern, please advise.

        1. This looks like a case to present to the FAA, and probably Federal Dept of Justice, plus possibly a civil case for damages

    2. Just got robbed of a vacation by Spirit because ONE plane got held up and our flight was canceled. No big deal except that they could not get us on another flight for over a week – the day we were supposed to come back. They DO NOT place you on another airline as you are lead to believe here! We planed this vacation for 4 months. Bought our tickets 4 months in advanced, spent all day packing, got to the airport only to be told we were going nowhere and all they would offer us was a refund and to wash their hands of us. Pay the extra and go with a REAL airline. Not this rinky-dink pile of SHIT!!! We learned our lesson.

      1. We agree. We got cancelled on Dec 28. Denver to houston continuing to costa rica- spirit csncelled our flight due to “weather”but there was perfect westher at all 3 stops- they just didnt have a crew to leave Denver !! They rebooked us for 3 days later but we lost 3 of our 9 days vacation, missed our family coming from europe to meet us and nearly lost our reserved car also. No compensation in their rules ! The famiky also missed their flight frm florida due to another line’s delay, so spirit cancelled their entire round trip- would not honor the return to florida leg either !! Cost us around $7500 to get 5 people just to florida to get the reserved flight back to london. NEVER again will we use a POS airline like this. Will tell everyone we know also.

    3. Spirit is the worst airline flying. Pay more and don’t get delay. Never on time always late. My son flying by himself had his 7 pm flight delayed until 12:30 am because they were short a flight attendant. What a joke

  2. If I may ask, how tall are you? Spirit’s seats are only 28″ apart, compared to 31″ on American, and I physically do not fit in them, my legs don’t fold that far.

    The “big front” seats are OK, but there goes any price advantage.

    1. I am short. My husband is average height and Spirit is do-able for him.

      My dad is over 6′ tall and needs at least an exit-row seat on Spirit.

      Some of Spirit’s planes have more leg room. I’m hoping the plan is to eventually change their entire fleet to this newer style.

      Paying for a roomier seat sometimes kills the price advantage, but not always. It’s just one of those things you have to factor in when you’re looking at prices just like you have to factor in baggage fees. For me flight times and non-stop flights are more important, but I know for some people it may be carry-ons and leg room. 🙂

    2. Worst airline ever. Would say you get what you pay for, but they are not worth the low airfare (if no luggage).

      1. Agree absolutely! When I booked on Spirit Airlines I thought it was a good deal. But my spirits soon were dashed when I realised they charge sky high prices for baggage.

        This is indeed the worst airline I have ever travelled. It is a rip off. I will never fly Spirit ever again ! Most people would be better off flying on other airlines as it would be far cheaper when you factor in the baggage.

        In my case I ended up paying $200 extra on a return trip for 1 bag under 40 lbs. From Buffalo to ft lauderdale.

  3. How do I find my confirmation code to do anything at all in my Free Spirit account?? I am SO FRUSTRATED!

    1. If you made the reservation online you should have a confirmation code in your Free Spirit account. Once you log-in to your account, go to your name on the right side of the page and go down to “My Reservations”, it should be listed there.

      If you bought your tickets at the airport they probably won’t have it linked to your online account. It will be on the paper copy of your itinerary receipt and your payment receipt. On the itinerary receipt it’ll be in the top left corner under the “Spirit Airlines” logo. On the payment receipt it’ll be listed under the date on the left side of the receipt.

  4. Hi ~~
    ~~ Took your advice to buy tickets at the airport since it would soften the blow of NOT buying them yesterday when they were $25 cheaper. I am a single mom in Minneapolis trying to take my 4 teenagers on “the Holiday trip of a lifetime”!

    Sadly – I only glanced at the Internet websites that said SPIRIT was moving from one terminal to another – so I parked at the main terminal – wandered around & found out that they had not yet moved. Of course I had to pay to exit the airport terminal & drive to the 2nd terminal. It was a ghost town. I timed the “airport ticket buying run” with picking up a child on the other side of town & after the rigmarole, I arrived at 10pm. There was not a gate agent at any ticket counter to be found!

    So — I paid to exit that airport terminal — a bit upset but having learned a few lessons.

    1) Read carefully!

    2) Make sure you get to a ticket counter around the time flights are actively departing!

    I have a few somewhat dumb questions. (I still plan to buy the tickets at the airport tomorrow. While that may seem insane, saving $34 x 5 people is significant & 1 of my kids has a volleyball tournament on that side of town anyways…):

    1) Are you able to purchase tickets at the airport ANYTIME in advance of your departure? (We are traveling after Christmas). I don’t want to get there again & find out there is some silly disclaimer like “you are only allowed to purchase tickets here if travel is within 60 days”.

    2) Do the $9 fare club prices for discounted flights show upon the website WITHOUT buying a membership? They make it look like you have to buy the membership in order to view the discounted membership flights. I am trying to decide whether to become a member — with likely checking 2 bags, this would be the time it might be worthwhile.

    3) Is there still a free trial period for the $9 fare club? At one point they had it for 60 days?

    4) You mentioned that one canNOT purchase the $9 fare club at the airport, right? If I buy it before getting to the airport & our flights have special rates due to the membership, do we get the lower price or is that only recognized with online purchases? I apologize but I was a bit confused about this part of your information & may have read it the wrong way.

    I’d like to mention that I took all my kids to Chicago on Spirit for a summer a getaway last year & we had a great experience. I was certainly leery about traveling with kids after reading all the horror stories but the flights were cheaper than the train / Mega Bus / or driving (including Chicago parking fees!), so I bought the tickets & hoped for the best.

  5. I loved finding all of your information today. I am a single mom of four kids in Minneapolis hoping to go on the “holiday trip of a lifetime”. Since I wanted to kick myself for not buying tickets on Friday when they were $25 cheaper, I thought I would bundle an airport trip with picking up one of my children on the other side of town. Saving $34 per round-trip ticket times five people is pretty good motivation!

    Unfortunately I only skimmed the first few lines of a couple of Internet articles claiming that Spirit Airlines was moving to a different terminal. I arrived at our main terminal about 10 PM only to find that they haven’t moved yet. I paid to exit that parking structure and drove the 10 minutes or so to our other terminal. Other than the baggage claim area, this terminal was like a ghost town. I could not find a ticket agent to save my life. So — I paid to exit that parking ramp — somewhat disillusioned to say the least.

    While driving home I reflected on learning some lessons:

    1) READ the Internet articles carefully!

    2) Get to the airport at a busier time or at least close to 1 departure so there are available agents. (In my defense, our main airport terminal is very busy and likely would’ve been staffed if Spirit had moved there already – having “outgrown” the smaller terminal.

    As insane as it may sound, I still intend to go to the airport yet again tomorrow to purchase tickets. One of my daughters has a volleyball tournament on that side of town so it is I’m “bundling” this trip as well.

    In light of my mistakes, I have a few questions:

    1) When buying tickets at the airport, are there any restrictions on how far away or close your travel dates are? For example do they have any type of disclaimer such as “you may only purchase tickets here within 60 days of departure”?

    2) Are you able to see the reduced $9 fare club membership flight rates BEFORE buying a membership? They make it look like you have to buy the membership in order to see the discounted rates – either that or the flights I’m looking at don’t have an applicable fare club membership discount available?

    3) I am considering buying the $9 fare club membership. Is there still a free 60 day trial?

    4) From your information, it seems that I cannot buy the membership at the airport. If I purchase it online before going to the airport, do they acknowledge a reduced rate for the flights if\when it’s applicable? Or — Is this basically an online feature only? With 5 of us traveling & potentially two checked bags, this seems like the time it may be worthwhile to buy the membership!


    I took my kids on a trip to Chicago last summer and we flew Spirit for the first time. Having read many travel blogs and horror stories, I was a bit leery. We had a great experience & the tickets were cheaper than the train\the mega bus\or driving (factoring in parking rates in Chicago). 10

    1. Wow, thanks for reading and I’m glad the articles are a help!

      1) If the tickets are available online they should be available at the airport. I have bought tickets one week out, I have bought them 4 months ahead of time. Spirit tends to have tickets available for purchase 9-10 months ahead of time.

      2) Yes, you can see the $9 fare club price if you’re not a member. There is not a $9 fare rate available for every flight, so if you don’t see them there is not a rate currently offered. Those prices and deals can also fluctuate quickly. One day may have a $9 fare rate on a flight, and the next day it may not be available anymore.

      3) The 60-day trial membership is $19.95. Sorry if I wasn’t clear on that before!

      4) You can only get the $9 fare club rates online so you will still have to pay the $16.99 “usage fee” per ticket per way. You’ll have to take that into consideration when trying to figure out which is the better deal. I get the most value out of the $9 fare club with the baggage fees savings. Spirit doesn’t charge more for one-way tickets vs. round-trip like some airlines do, so I have bought our tickets going one-way online at a $9 fare club rate, then bought our return tickets at the airport because there wasn’t a $9 fare rate on the return flight. If you do that you just need to remember you’re managing two separate reservations when you purchase bags online, check-in, etc.

      I hope this helped and buying your tickets will go smoother this time around!

      1. Pricing seems like it might save you $’s, but it just depends…reminds me of military discounts (I’m retired military), have been quoted a higher rate when asking for military discount (mostly when I was active duty, many airlines only give discount for active duty (including reservist) troops, and I do understand)than the rate with NO DISCOUNT, kinda like shopping at the market, a coupon or BOGO doesn’t always get you the best deal.

        Spirit seems a bit muddled in disclosures and stipulations, so for me, with no stay at home children anymore it’s just the wife and I, don’t mind paying more for convenience and peace of mind of what I’m getting (living in Mobile, Al, I believe closest Spirit hub is New Orleans, so depending on total savings I might make the 100 mile drive, might not).

      2. I purchased the $9.00 fare club for an upcoming trip to vegas and my debit card was charged $59.95 a couple of days later. I immediately cancelled it and asked for my account to be debited. They said NO. Why do they advertise $9.00 but charge $59.95. I filed a complaint with the BBB

        1. It’s called the $9 fare club because you can get certain fares for only $9 each way if you’re a member. The cost is $59.95 for the first year. The initial year is $59.95 and it costs $69.95 to renew it. It’s also written on their website before you sign up. In bold print it says: “$9 Fare Club membership enrollment is only $59.95”.

          I go into more detail explaining whether or not it is worth it to sign up for it in this post:


  6. We’re going to Vegas from Chicago on Thursday morning. So what i got from this is that we should definitely buy our seats ahead of time so we don’t get separated or will they seat us together?

  7. Seven of us plan to travel Spirit from Detroit to Las Vegas. That will be 4 adults and three children. I like your idea about buying the tickets at the airport. We live in Cleveland but plan to drive to Detroit for the flights that we want. Can we purchase the tickets at the Cleveland airport if we are flying out of Detroit? Do we need identification for all 7 to buy the tickets at the airport? Also do you think we will have problems sitting with the children? They are all under 7yrs. and cannot sit without one adult with them.

    1. You can purchase tickets at the Cleveland airport for the flights out of Detroit. Make sure the Spirit counter is open when you go to buy tickets. Since DFW is one of the hubs it’s open almost 24/7 here but I don’t think that’s the case in every city.

      You do not need identification for everyone to buy their tickets. I’ve bought tickets for three other adults at the airport before. All you need is a first and last name and the birth date of everyone flying to purchase their tickets for them.

      They should assign the adults seats with the kids. You’ll probably be in the back, and you’ll probably have one adult sitting by themselves since there are seven of you. Depending on the ages of the kids they may pre-assign you seats towards the front when you purchase your tickets, but that depends on the ages of the kids and whether or not the seats have already been assigned to someone else. I was pleasantly surprised to get pre-assigned seats on a flight earlier this month since that hasn’t happened to us in a while; but I think that’s mostly because it wasn’t a full flight.

      Good luck! 🙂

  8. Hi! Thanks for all of the info. I have a question I can’t find on the Spirit website, so just wondering if you have any experience with upgrading your seats when you have more than one leg to your flight. For instance, the flight I’m looking at changes planes twice on my way home…am I going to have to pay the upgrade fee for all three legs? Thanks in advance for any info you have on this! 🙂

  9. What happens if you have a 6 am fight and miss it? I know that there are two additional flights available with able seats..so, how does the reticketing work?

      1. Hey tiff i have an issue with my tickets so i called to confirm my tickets for two passengers round trip and come to find out someone had called and canceled one of my tickets what can i do .

  10. Hi, What happens if I will not be needing flights I have payed for…. We took the one way flight but then had things come up and had to drive back… So we will not be needing our returned flight now…. Can we save it for later????? Thanks!!!!

  11. I was wondering if you need to bring medical equipment (such as a CPAP) machine will there be a charge for carry on luggage.


    1. They usually do. When we flew with them last month I remember them announcing pre-boarding for families with small children.

  12. In response to the CPAP question above. It is a medical device and you are not charged nor is it counted as a carry-on. A freebie, if you can believe it!

    So to my experience….I recently flew Spirit from Houston to Phoenix via Denver.
    My Issues:
    1) When I arrived at the ticket desk, boarding pass in hand, to check my bag, a rude agent said that I was too late for the flight. Granted I was late in arriving but still in time to get the flight. Another agent (nice)suggested I carry-on my bag which later fit well in the overhead compartment. The rude agent then says I’d be lucky if I get on the flight. So I’m just about in tears as I rush through the terminal. Going thru security then running for the gate. When I get there the gate attendant smiles and says they haven’t even boarded yet for my flight. 20 minutes later we do board. Do the ticket agents and the gate attendants not talk to each other??????

    I don’t understand how anyone cannot complain about the seating. Very narrow unless you like to rub shoulders with the person next to you and all your height is in your torso not your legs. Just hope and pray the person behind you is not a child who likes to kick or someone long-legged with their knees in your back. If you can fold up like an accordion then you’re good to go.
    The width of the aisle is super narrow as well…watch your elbows or they’ll get whacked by the flight attendants as they roll their cart down it to sell you drinks and food. Also, the seats are at such an angle that getting up and down and out requires holding tightly onto the headrest on the seat in front of you.

    Ok….I got there safely….but there is more to my story. The trip back.


    The flight was late leaving Phoenix by about 30-45 minutes. This is significant considering that Denver was expecting to start getting blizzard conditions. We made it to Denver just as a few snowflakes were beginning to fall. Everyone going on to Houston had to deplane with all their stuff then get back on. (Crew change they said????) By the time everyone was in and the doors were closed the snow was really coming down. Then we’re told that we have to de-ice. No problem. So we sit out there for 2 hours waiting as we’re de-iced, then de-iced again, then wait some more. Then the pilot tells us that a plane on the runway had an engine fire (not enough de-icing?)and with the visibility now less than 1/4 mile we’re going back to the terminal to wait again. Of course it was finally cancelled. I have no desire to die on an airplane…so even this is ok. Without the earlier delays we could have been in the air, though.
    Back in the terminal (this is the worst part) we get our checked bags then get in line at the Spirit ticket desk. The word is passed that the choice will be refund or book the next flight out. It is Saturday and the next flight out is Tuesday for Spirit. My turn at the desk and Tuesday is full and they offer Wednesday. Are you kidding?? No offer to find a flight on another airline. No offer of a hotel room even for one night. So I got a refund back on my credit card. Got on the phone with a friend (bless him) and he gave me the scoop on other airlines. It’s amazing to me how much AA went up on their flights because of the demand, over $1000/person for a non-stop from Denver to Houston the next day. Price gouging??
    Spirit never offered to find me a flight on another airline and pay the difference!!! My friend said to try United. I did and I got reservations the next day at 2:30 pm at only $50.00 more than Spirit. Agent even put us on Stand-By for a flight at 7:30 the next morning (Sunday) just in case they had no shows.
    After a miserable night in a drafty airport (9 degrees outside) with a concrete floor for a bed and only a sweater to keep me warm, we got on that flight at 7:30 am and got home.
    THANK YOU UNITED AIRLINES! Comfortable seats, free drinks, worth every penny. Will never, ever fly Spirit again. We all learn from experience and I learned the hard way. You all go Spirit, I’d rather take a train or a boat than fly Spirit again.

    1. I’m curious how other airlines handle these situations. I’ve never had a flight canceled on any airline, (including Spirit). I have a friend who had issues with United cancelling their flight (and rebooked flights) several days in a row! She had to argue, hard, & eventually get to a desk manager to get a refund. THAT was United. That employee had said if they’d had travel ins things would have been smooth!

      Are we supposed to be checking how airlines handle cancelled flights, delays and weather issues? Is this only covered by insurance?

      I just got back from my second Spirit trip in 3 mos. Another good one – $89 Roundtrip from Los Angles to New York – UNHEARD of price. We had a great time, and the flights were smooth. I was well prepared due to reading a lot (including this site) prior to travels. I watched baggage rates the whole time because I wasn’t quite sure whether we’d be taking an extra bag and I wanted to book online vs at the airport. We never did add a bag – we only took a personal bag, each. But I did notice they had warnings on their “bags” page that prices fluxuate especially during the holidays, so I was prepared to pay more if needed. I also knew from research the planes and seats and isles are small.

      No on can excuse bad behaviors by employees (though I suppose we can prepare for it, lol). And I am concerned about how airlines – all of them – handle cancelled flights. But preparation does seem to take care of a lot of the complaints people make about Spirit.

  13. I have few quick questions. Im flying with my husband (who is afraid of airplanes and this is his first trip) and with all the baggage fees and choosing a seat is confusing since it changed so much from the last time I boarded an airplane. I was wondering if the small personal item is the one u put under ur seat and is for each person/boarding ticket? Also, do we have to choose and pay for seats?. My itinerary for my flights says there’s less than 40 seats reserved, is there a chance my husband and I get to seat together?

    1. The small personal item is the one you put under the seat in front of you. You are allowed one for each ticketed passenger.

      You do not have to pay and choose your seats. You can if you want to for peace of mind. We have never paid for our seats and we still get seated together (though usually in the back). Some people like to pay to guarantee they will get an aisle or a window seat. Hope this helps!

    2. What are the under the seat measurements please frustrated senior trying to get the right size bag packed for tomorrow am

  14. I’m flying with my 2 year old next month on Spirit and have researched online to find the smallest front facing car seat in existence. Have you ever seen any toddlers actually be able to use their car seat in the plane? Do you know of any exact style/brand car seat that has fit? I know I could just buy the Cares harness but would need a seat for after we get off the plane anyways..

    1. Honestly I’m not sure. I’ve occasionally seen kids in their car seats on a plane, but I have no idea what brands fit. I’ve always checked our car seats as luggage so we have less to carry through the airport.

      Worst-case scenario, if the car seat doesn’t fit, I know Spirit will gate check it for you free of charge.

  15. Thank you for this valuable information!

    One question….if I purchase our tickets (for 7 passengers) at the airport, can I then go home and purchase the $9 fare membership in order to receive the cheaper baggage rate? And if so, can I purchase our bags online even though I did not make an online reservation/ticket purchase because I purchased tickets in person at the airport instead?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Yes, you can definitely purchase your $9 fare membership after purchasing your tickets and use it to receive the cheaper baggage rate.

      As long as your purchase your bags online before you check-in to your flight you will get the cheaper rate. They actually told me to buy my bags online the first time I bought tickets at the airport because it’s cheaper. You will need your confirmation code to do this, it should be on the receipt you get from the airport.

    2. I have a question in regards to this as well. This week I purchased a vacation package through a travel agent including flights with Spirit. It wasn’t our first choice for airlines but it was by far the cheapest even knowing ahead of time all the extra fees that are involved. It will just be my husband and I traveling and we anticipate checking only one bag ahead of time and not taking any carry ons. Based on what I have read without the $9 membership I would still be at $60 after paying for the one bag both ways, correct? Therefore my question is should I go ahead and buy the membership to get the discount on that bag (and potential savings over the next 365 days) and cancel if i never use it again? I just want to make sure I’m not missing anything/fine print. Thanks so much!

      1. You definitely can do that. One thing I recommended to a friend recently was to purchase only the 60-day trial membership if they were fairly certain they weren’t going to fly on Spirit again over the next year. It’s $20 for the trial membership and since they were checking two bags each way the savings on the bags was greater than the cost of the trial membership. But if you think you may use it again you can definitely purchase the membership and keep it for the 365 days. Either way you choose, just make sure you cancel before your year (or 60 days) is up or they will automatically renew you for the next year. And it’s $10 more per year when you renew your membership. Hope this helps! =)

  16. Is there a limit to how close to the departure time I can buy my ticket at the airport as long as there’s seats left? For example, can I buy my ticket at the airport the day of the flight then go and buy my check bag online and then check in online?

    1. I had no idea since I’ve never tried this before. I asked when I went to the airport today and the ticket agent said if you bought your tickets at the counter for the same day, you could still purchase your bag and check-in online.

  17. I was almost put on a Southwest flight because Spirit was having some issue. So yes, they do make accommations for you on other airlines. I am hoping they do that tonight. I am so mad. I have a 9:55pm flight from Las Vegas to Oakland, and since this morning, I’ve receive 3 delay emails. I was supposed to arrive a little after 11pm and now I’m not arriving til nearly 2am. My poor boyfriend is driving from Sacramento to pick me up and we have a 2 hour drive back from the airport. He has to be up at 6am! The only reason I am flying in to Oakland is because it’s like $200 cheaper than flying into Sac.

  18. we are flying out today so its a little late but my friend who flies spirit a lot gave me a bag she always carries on spirit without a fee. it is a lit it little larger than stated size but it is leather andsquishes down what do you think

    1. I wanted to know what happened to you finally. I will have the same situation, my backpack is slightly bigger (17.16.8) and wanted to know if there is any risk in that. Thank you,

  19. Flew Spirit from dfw to Vegas. Delayed out and coming back, AT LAS Spirit had us board the plane without a pilot to fly the plane. We had to wait an whole hour for another pilot to come off another flight to fly us back. Never will i fly Spirit not worth it.

  20. I was able to find a few of my friends (to introduce them to Spirit) the following deals from DFW:
    –DFW to New Orleans $33 RT
    –DFW to NY for $66 RT
    –DFW to Atlanta $33 RT
    –DFW to Vegas for $65 RT
    –DFW to NY 1st week of Dec 2014 for $90 each.
    Add your baggage fees of standard $60 RT or member price for $42 RT

  21. Do you know how big your carry on bag can be i have a dufflebag was curious if it would ve ok its my first time flying and dont want any suprises when i get there

    1. The personal item cannot be more than 16 inches by 14 inches by 12 inches (40 cm x 35 cm x 30 cm). Also, use a bag without wheels; that seems to be the first thing they look for to charge you for a carry-on vs. a personal item.

          1. I actually found that link by — wait for it — “googling” it. Lol.

            Thanks, Joseph – now my lame question has an excellent answer and link for the next person who uses this wonderful post and comments.

            Happy trails!

    2. If you mean a carry-on bag you’ve paid for (vs a personal item that’s free) the size requirements are 22 x 18 x 10 inches (56 x 46 x 25 cm) including handles and wheels.

      1. Does the size change on personal items later this yr prior to May departure. I saw this on one of the info sitest and can’t find it now. The dimension change was something going to 17″….

        1. No they are not. I looked online and found the same blog that said they were, but I didn’t see anything on Spirit’s website. I know people complain about Spirit a lot, but one thing they’re pretty good about is posting changes on their website. I did call customer service to make sure. The customer service rep I talked to said there were no changes planned. As of right now a personal item can still be up to 16″ x 14″ x 12″ and a carry-on can be up to 22″ x 18″ x 10″ (including handles and wheels). A checked bag can be no more than 62 linear inches and 40 lbs. Hope this helps!

          1. For at least 2 months (around Dec-Jan), there was, indeed, a note next to the current bag size requirement **on the Spirit Website** – showing a change coming in April, 2016. I posted a comment, and the link in the above comments. when I follow the link now, the note has been removed from the website. I don’t necessarily believe that it means they won’t change the bag size, though. Maybe they just don’t want to warn people, anymore, to avoid any confusion.

            From my prev comment:


            September 3, 2015 at 6:36 pm

            NEW BAG SIZE will be coming in March, 2016. 17 x 13 x 8.


            “Personal item (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.): Dimensions must not exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches (40 x 35 x 30 cm) including handles and wheels. For travel after 3/31/2016, dimensions must not exceed 17 x 13 x 8 inches (43 x 33 x 20 cm) including handles and wheels.”

          2. While that’s possible, I don’t think that’s the case. I think the most likely explanation is they were going to do it (or were talking about doing it), but someone made the decision not to go through with it. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first one to let everyone know.

          3. Thanks for the useful information. Quick question though, is it ok if my bag size is 18x14x6 ? The total size less than 42″ (16+14+12)…

          4. The main thing is to be able to fit your bag in the measuring device they have at the airport. If you can squeeze your bag into it; you should be fine. That’s why I’m hesitant to tell people to use bags with wheels and/or handles since they will get you on that even if they’re a little bit bigger.

            On a side note, the website now states that the “personal item” bag size will change as to 18″x14″x8″ as of April 3, 2017. Hope this helps!

  22. Thank you so much for all the tips. I am planning on going to airport to buy tickets today. I hope the fees are still ~16$ one way and i could get the discount.

  23. Great info. Thank you.
    I will be flying out of Las Vegas this Thursday. It’s my first in over 15 years, my first flight ever alone (no parents or hubby) and my 8 1/2 month old sons first flight. My son will be on my lap and I did not pay for an assigned seat. Do you have any info on requesting a ‘ child block’ seat? My cousins has flown united or AA with a baby and said as long as the plane isn’t full you can ask for a ‘child block’ seat and get the seat next to you for extra space. It’s prob a long shot with spirit though…also. Would it be ok to put the carseat in a bag, like a big fabric laundry bag so it doesn’t get all dirty? Or is that weird lol
    Also, any advice you may have for this FTM flying by herself would be greatly appreciated 😉

  24. Hello, i know you covered this in your article, but I just want to double-check before I leave tomorrow-

    I won’t be able to print my ticket at home because I’m taking Southwest to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow, then flying out to Colombia the next day. I don’t want to pay the fees for printing the ticket at the airport, but they have a kiosk where I can do it myself? It just doesn’t make sense to me, why would anyone go to the counter if this option is available? I’m hoping they have a kiosk down in Colombia for the return flight too!


  25. Love the article by the way. Quick question. I have already purchased my tickets a few days ago. I did not pay for luggage.
    1. Can I always return and pay for my luggage online?
    2. What if I purchase the bags online then get to the check in counter and my bag is over the weight requirements, do I pay the remaining balance? How does that work?
    Thank you for your time!

    1. 1) You can go back and pay for your luggage online at any point in time. However, it is now cheaper to pay for bags at the same time you purchase your ticket (if you’re buying your ticket online). If you’re buying your tickets at the airport, it’s still cheaper to pay for your bags online later.

      2) Yup, you pay for it at the airport if your bag is over 40lbs. If you’re significantly over it may be cheaper to pay for a second bag than the overweight fee.

  26. A question about award travel using Free Spirit miles (I have tried to get an answer from Spirit but they don’t write back, maybe you have some experience with this):
    If you book award travel using miles do you need to pay for your bags? Or does the award travel include a checked bag and/or carry on bag? What about seat assignments – does award travel include an assigned seat?

    1. Since buying regular tickets does not include seat assignments or luggage; my best guess is award tickets don’t either. If anyone knows differently please let me know.

  27. Hi I was searching for some info & came across this site 🙂 I’ll be going to Puerto Rico & the cheapest flight iz Spirit, how much would they charge for 1 carry on plz? 🙂
    I am going to try to just carry 1 personal item if my bag iz the right size.

  28. Love your articles! I can’t find this answer anywhere even with a phone call but I thought I read it somewhere. If I purchase tickets now with my normal bank card and in a month or so get the Spirit World card and spend enough and rack up a bunch of points, can I use those points to pay for the already purchased tickets and get reimbursed back to my original bank card?

    1. I don’t have a Spirit credit card, but it seems like most companies wouldn’t let you do that, but I don’t know for sure. If anyone else has more info on that I’d love to hear it!

  29. In the article you mentioned that you should be able to get the 30$ price for a checked bag on the return flight if you are flying back more than 24 hours later, but Spirit’s website is charging me 40$ for the flight there and 40$ for the flight back a week later. Should I just pay for the first flight and log back in later for the return flight?

    1. Spirit’s policies are the same as other airlines in the U.S. You cannot bring more than 3 oz in your carry-on/personal item so it’ll have to go in your checked bag. If you’re traveling internationally and you buy something at the duty free shop it’ll need to fit in your personal bag (or be your only personal item) unless you already prepaid for a carry-on.

  30. Thanks for the article. I’m not sure if you mentioned this already or not but I was trying to see will Spirit request to see the credit card used when purchasing online when going through checkin at the airport? In other words, if someone buys my ticket, will I have to show proof the day of the flight?

    I plan to have my cousin buy my ticket with her card (and she is also a $9 fare club member) but she most likely will not be with me at the airport when going through check-in and security.

    1. I’ve bought tickets for other people before who I wasn’t traveling with; but I was not able to get them my $9 fare club discounts unless I was on the same reservation.

  31. Just wanted to double check…bought all my spirit tickets for my family vacation tonight at the airport, per your recommendation, 😉 did NOT purchase seats together, because by reading your article, I’m assuming they will seat the 5 of us (2 adults, 2 lap babies and 1 toddler) together? Thanks for all the info! This is so helpful!!

    1. Yes, Spirit will seat your party together. I’m flying with my kids today, I did not pay for our seat assignments, and the three of us are still sitting together in the same row. =)

  32. Hi,
    I’m a $9 fare member and trying to book 8 people on line. We will have the same itinerary. However, when I put us all together on the same reservation, we get the $9 fare out of Chicago. The return flight from FLL goes up $40 (it’s not part of the $9 fare for the return). When I change the number of people to 3, the return price goes down by $40 still not part of the $9. I called Spirit and they stated that the number of passengers over 3 would be charged the higher fare. They said I could make 3 separate reservations to get the lower return fare. But then I won’t get the $9 fare for their departures. It seems screwy to me. I calculated purchasing a $9 fare for the other family but they have a family of 5 (one lap child) so, I person would still not get the $9 fare. Is this new to you?

    1. That’s interesting. I’ve never booked tickets for more than four people before and the only time I purchase tickets online is with a $9 fare. I’ve actually bought us all one-way tickets using a $9 fare, then went to the airport to buy our return tickets for a cheaper rate (to avoid the internet usage fee). If you feel comfortable doing that, that may be your best bet; buying the one-way $9 fare for everyone on one reservation, then purchasing the return tickets as one-ways on three separate reservations. It sounds screwy, but it wouldn’t surprise me. With Spirit a lot of it is what are you willing to do to save money. To our family, separate reservations wouldn’t be that inconvenient, but I know everyone’s situation is different and the key is to do what’s best for you and your family. Good luck!

  33. Question, I played for the front row seating, so you are unable to put luggage under the seat and automatically get to put it above you. So do I still need to pay for a carry on, when I played an additional 50 for the front row?

    1. You’ll be allowed to put a personal bag above your seat (or wherever they can fit it); but the price doesn’t include the price of a full-size carry-on.

  34. We are traveling with children a 6 year old and 2 year old. We will definitely be placed together without paying for a seat? I can’t leave a 2 year old alone and don’t want to pay if it is unnecessary! Thank you!

    1. Yes, you will definitely be assigned seats together. All the rows are three seats on each side, so if there are four of you, you may have three of you in one row and one in the other row across from you: e.g. Row 22 seats A, B, C, and D. The person in seat “D” is on the other side of the aisle, but still next to you if that makes sense.

  35. Is it possible for my sister in Phoenix to buy tickets for my family (wife and two young kids) if we give her our names and DOBs?

    Also – will all of us be seated together automatically?

    Thanks so much for your help – great blog!

  36. Just to follow up – my sister would NOT be traveling with us in this scenario. Just buying the tix for us because she lives close to a Spirit hub and can go to the airport counter inside the airport.

    1. Yes she can buy tickets for other people even if she’s not flying with you. I’ve been the designated purchaser for our family’s Spirit flights even when I’m not flying with them. =)

      You will get assigned seats together without purchasing them ahead of time, but not until you check-in. We’ve never NOT been assigned seats together and we’ve never paid to choose our seats. But it’s typically seats in the back-half of the plane for those who don’t pre-pay for their seat assignments.

      All the rows are seats of three, when there’s four of us traveling we’re usually assigned three seats in one row and the fourth person is in the aisle across from us: e.g. Row 22 seats A, B, C, and D. The person in seat “D” is the other aisle seat on the other side, but still in the same row as you. My husband and I usually sit in the aisle seats and put our kids in the window and middle seat.

      Hope this helps!

      1. I purchased round trip tickets online and unfortunately did not realize I booked the wrong date for the flight back. It almost seems cheaper to just buy new tickets for the flight the next day instead of changing the flight. Is this possible if we miss our flight back and just purchase the tickets for the next day flight?

  37. Hello. I called spirit today. I was told that there is no service fee for booking online. Did the rules change since you posted? I have a family of five and need all the savings I can get. Thank you.

  38. I’m not sure I understand. Looking at a one-way Spirit flight I’m interested in on their web site, the $9-fare-club price is $93 and the standard price is $133.

    We are a party of three, so I was thinking I’d go to the airport to save $17 per ticket ($51 total), and that I would also join the $9-fare-club for $60 so that I could save $40 per ticket ($120 total).

    But this article hints, without being explicit, that the $17 buy-at-airport savings applies only to standard fares, not to $9-fare-club fares. Is that indeed the case? If so, I can do only one of these money-saving things, not both.

    The other things that’s confusing is the ability of the $20 60-day trial of $9-fare-club. An FAQ on Spirit’s web site says this: “You can try out the $9 Fare Club for two months for just $19.95. The trial option is available only when you make a booking at Spirit.com, and the membership benefits will go into effect on your NEXT online purchase with us.”
    I have upcased the word NEXT because it seems to be saying it’s not possible for me to trial-join for $20 and also save the $40 per ticket ($120 total) on what would be my first purchase.

  39. We are getting ready to take a red eye flight. I am wondering if I can bring a pillow or does that count as my carry-on?

    1. Do not dare to do that. You may want to ask them if you can close your eyes for free, otherwise I recommend you buy one of those glasses with open eyes painted, to avoid the changes and get your sleep for free.

  40. Hi! Thanks for all of the info. I have a question I can’t find on the Spirit website.
    I’m flying with my child, age 10(I’m going to pay assigned seat for him, window seat) and I’m wondering, am I going to be assigned to seat next to him? even when I don’t pay assigned seat for me?
    Thank you in advance.

  41. Just bought Spirit Airlines tickets for the first time, and then Googled them after finalizing my purchase since I’ve never heard of this airlines before. Stupid to do that AFTER buying a ticket, I know. Apparently there have been 100s of delayed/canceled Spirit Airlines flights this week? Should I be worried about a flight in August? Do they have delays and cancellations constantly year round, and this was just one of the most reported incidents?


  42. I have my 3 month baby flying with me in my lap. Will I be charged to check on my car seat and stroller even though I didn’t purchase a seat for him?

  43. I have a question regarding food, but just wanted to make sure.

    Can your bring your own snacks onboard? Or will they charge you? Thank-you!

  44. I wanted to tell you you are correct. I didn’t know about the bag fee because I purchased my ticket online though a 3rd party site. I was only by chance that I opened the email they sent and read it. So it is possible for people to easily make that mistake and get to the airport with no idea about their policies because they are so ridiculous you wouldn’t believe it. I would not have bought the tickets had I know and I wouldn’t fly them again.

    They should have better details on their 3rd party sites. Because I read all the details provide on the 3rd party site and it only said that they maybe an additional charge for additional bags. But I guess nobody would fly with them if they weren’t tricked into it. I like your article and thanks for the tips.

  45. I have a question. First time flying with spirit.

    I have a small purse that i will b taking with me in the plane will they charge me for that?

    Also what do u mean we have to reserve our luggages? Im confused with that… Me n my husband will b taking our own. So we have to call the airport n tell them how many we takin??

  46. Tiff – you are awesome!!!!! Your post and the comment Q&A were really helpful even though I’ve already done my research, lol. Thank you!

  47. I was looking up flights for spirit airlines on Nov 8 to Nov 15. The flights jumped up $100 in one day. Should I wait until the weekend to check again or do you think the prices will keep climbing? Thanks

  48. I am a $9fare club member so I can’t give my miles to my daughter who is away at college in Florida but can I book a flight for me and her to get her home for christmas and just have her show uo for the flight?

  49. Hi I have a few questions. my family and I booked through a travel agency so we didn’t know about all these fees. I heard that

    1. if we pack our items in backpacks instead of suitcases we could carry them on as personal items for free.
    2. if we print our boarding passes at home or at a kiosk there is no charge.
    3. Do not purchase seats because they will sit us together anyway.

    is any of this true?

    1. Personal items are not weighed and no charge. Be careful about your luggage…it can not exceed 40 lbs vs other airlines allow 50 lbs. Its a combined weight of all persons in your party. One bag can be 41lbs if another bag from another passenger in your party is 39 lbs.

  50. sorry I though I put this in here but……
    2. if we print our boarding passes at home or at a kiosk there is no charge.
    3. Do not purchase seats because they will sit us together anyway.

    is any of this true?

    1. Just flew to Fort Lauderdale from Chicago. No charge for printing boarding pass at home. We were all seated together. We were with a large group of 7 plus an infant. The infant required us to have our boarding pass printed at check in at no charge. However, the mother and baby were seated by themselves in an aisle seat each way. One of the men in our group switched seats with her and all was good.

  51. There is contradictory information in the article regarding “PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASSES AHEAD OF TIME”

    You say there’s a $10 charge to print boarding passes but then you say: You can print your passes at the kiosks at the airport free of charge if that’s easier for you.

    Question: How can I print off my boarding pass at the airport for free?

    1. It isn’t contradictory. Some airports have a kiosk. You can print at the kiosk for free at the airport. If there is no kiosk and an agent at the ticket counter prints your pass, there is a fee.

  52. Can Spirit make a mistake in the Payment Receipt vs the confirmation received in the email? Payment Receipt has the return day for Oct 4 and the confirmation says on October 5th?

  53. Never fly this airline! Horrible! They lure you with cheap fares and then charge a fee for EVERYTHING! Even to just have a decent seat an adult can reasonably sit in! So its no deal and you end up paying the same amount as another airline. Horrible customer service. Rude staff. And unfortunately, they JUST DONT CARE whether you are upset or not! Its like they are taught to be mean to customers. Luggage you ask? Of course they LOST THE LUGGAGE! Then attendant said I will do you a favor and let you buy a few reasonable price things to go to your event tonight. A favor? SMH. I flew 8 family members to Chicago on Spirit. Never again. They were all so upset when they arrived it could have spoiled our event. Same thing happened on the way back! Such incompetence. Such poor systems. Such horrible customer service. Save yourself some trouble. Stay away.

    1. You are right. The overall experience in the end is so bad, that it take days for you to recover. You feel like being assaulted all the time. There is no even happiness in the faces of the employees, whether in the plane or the airports. It seems that they all work there, because there is no other choice left for them in this planet. Spirit of sadness, spirit of betrayal, spirit of confusion .. leave now!!!

  54. 2 questions: if I don’t care where I sit and Im traveling alone, do I have to pay for an assigned seat? Also do I have to pay for my personal item if it meets the size requirements?

  55. Someone told me that if you go to the ticket counter the day of your flight that you could get the tickets real cheap if the flight is not sold out is that true?

    I’m willing to take the risk and wait there because the day I want to go is super expensive

  56. Hey! I’m flying for the first time with spirit and I am planning to check in and print my boarding pass. can I skip the check in counter even though I am taking a carry on and a personal item?

  57. I am very afraid. I had to use Spirt for the return leg of a trip due to flight time constraints. I knew it was the airline that makes its bread and butter screwing the unknowledgeable that get sucked into the fee vortex it creates. So i am mapping out how not to get screwed. I knew its CEO literally hates his customers and encourages just horrible customer service, so i steeled myself for being treated badly and not expecting ANYTHING but my ass in a seat and the plane (hopefully) not to blow up because if you are that cheap you skimp on safety too. But i did not know the seats were so small that people over 6 feet do not really fit. At 6’3. I am in for a world of hurt!

  58. Why I do not buy Spirit? My own personal point of view with some humor.

    I was so happy ready to buy, but then their web application began to charge for every step I was about to take, even the unthinkable. The price was going up and up to the point in which for a couple of hundred more, I could leave from my own city, baggage was included, and I could even enjoy a meal.

    My conclusion is that buying through spirit becomes more expensive in the end. My guess is that the only thing left for them to charge is for the immigration forms as they could advertise “Get them in advance for $15 each, and pay just $5 extra per form if you want our attendant or even the pilot to fill them up for you, but if you are spirit member for just $9 we will give you a parachute, so that you do not have to go through customs…give me a break!!!

    The most uncomfortable buying experience ever, buying through spirit.com.

  59. Hi,

    I was wondering what you would recommend if my husband and I were planning to travel with our three kids.

    Should I purchase the $9 membership? Could you cancel that membership at anytime? Is it worth it if we rarely dont fly?

    So what you are saying is that if all 5 of us have backpacks they will not charge us?

    If we purchase tickets and pay for luggage (3 suitcases under 40 lb.)will that be cheaper?

    This will be the first time my kids will be flying. Do you recommend this airline as a good one?

    Basically I could use any advice you have.

    1. Maricella- whoever pays for the airline tickets should purchase the membership so that payer can then get the discounted costs for all chargable baggage.

      You’ll each be allowed backpacks for free, yes. as long as they aren’t bigger than 16 x 14 x12 (until April 2016). The pack must fit in their little box.

      Checked bags, and also carryon’s cost money but with that membership it will be $9 less per person, on each leg of the trip. So for 3 checked bags you’d save (9×3=27) $27 for one way, and another $27 on the way back. That almost pays off the membership price.

      Keep reading. read all the details on the website and here on this webpage as she has great tips.

      I flew Spirit and had a wonderful experience because I KNEW what I was getting. However, I definitely think the seats are smaller than avg so large people wouldn’t be very comfortable.

      Good luck.

  60. You guys still money, How bad is your service that no even the link for the survey works, this is the worst ever airline that I have flight, I have share this in social media and I hope you guys understand that with out customers you don’t have business, because the way how customer get treated is just terrible.
    I will never use your service again and I’ll make sure none of my contacts use your service either.
    To all my friends… do never ever use Spirit Airlines this how much I have to pay for my 5kg carry on baggage excess of 4 cm on there measurements.
    I have travel around the world with same carry on never have a single problem and customer service was terrible the flight attendant was cuafing on my face the airplane stinks inside and it was 30 min on delay, expend extra 20 dollarr with other company like delta and you get a better service don’t be part of a false economy.

    1. Hi, just to clarify I don’t work for and am not affiliated with Spirit Airlines in any way. I fly them regularly and try to use my experience to help people not get stuck paying a lot of extra fees with them.

    1. Last time I checked, yes. I freaked out once because our printer wasn’t working and I was able to print the tickets at the kiosk at the airport free of charge. It’s when a gate agent has to print them for you that they charge. Exception: If the problem is on their side (the website) you can print out a page saying the website was having issues and they’ll print out your passes at the airport free of charge.

  61. Great article!! The only thing I haven’t found out (and admittedly, I didn’t read every comment, just most) is what to do when you get to the airport. We are printing our boarding passes at home, but what do we do about the checked bags? How do we get the luggage tracker tags? Do we have to go to an agent for those or do we go straight to the “bag drop” area? Do they charge for printing those out? Any info you can give would be wonderful! Thank you so much in advance 🙂

      1. Once you are in the bag drop line, an agent will check and tag your bags for you. No charge for using the agent only check your bags.

  62. Hi guys,

    Just went to spirit ticket counter in west palm beach. The price per ticket was triple than what it was online. I asked why and was told they did not have to give me that information and to call customer service. I called customer service and they said they don’t know why because they don’t regulate prices at the airport. I asked about the online fee of 15.00 each way they said there was no such fee. I can’t get answers from anyone at spirit. Tried to save money but got a dead end, so now I’m buying online..

    1. It’s $17.99 and it’s called a “passenger usage fee”. The only way to avoid this fee is to purchase tickets at the airport. I’ve flown on Spirit many times and have saved over $100 on a single flight by purchasing our tickets at the airport. Sometimes the employees aren’t aware of this (or what it’s called). They call another one of their taxes/fees “Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations”.

      I also check flight prices right before I leave for the airport to make sure I have the correct date and time. Prices can change quickly, so if you checked the night before, I would check again before you leave the airport to make sure the price didn’t change. If they did change and you have a smart phone, I would check them there at the airport and see if changing to a different time or day is any cheaper.

      Sorry you had bad luck trying to buy your tickets at the airport. If you need to fly Spirit again hopefully you’ll have better luck next time.

      1. Hey there,

        I’m actually a flight attendant and very well versed in the mode of transportation . I’m regard to the agent not knowing what I was talking about, she did as did the agents on the phone. I specifically referenced the terms passenger usage fee to which they BOTH said there was no such thing. Although it’s clearly in the price breakdown online.

        The price was the same online as it was the night before. She (the agent) told me that they had no way of knowing what prices were online and that what their system tells them is what price they give, it is in no way “connected” to what’s online. In my case again, it was triple what was online at the airport.

        I’ve read a few forums including yours stating that ticket prices are hundreds less at the airport, and while that may be true some of the time, I want to inform people not to always bank on that based on my experience. Spirit will give you the runaround when questioned about pricing and keep deferring you to customer service number, who will refer you back to the ticket agent. I’m not one who settles for the first answer and didn’t leave the airport until I had exhausted every avenue, to still get the same insanely high price quote. At which point I just went home and bought online.

        Unfortunately what you read online and in forum isn’t always true. I can personally attest to that and want to warn people and save them the headache.

        1. I’ve stated very clearly that my savings is always $17.99 per person each way. So for a family of four flying round-trip I’ve saved $143.92. When my kids and I flew 3 one-way legs we saved $152.91 (the passenger usage fee was $16.99 back then).

          Honestly I’ve flown Spirit many times, and if I had had the experience you had I would tell people. I’m doing this to help people NOT get ripped off. I don’t get paid to do this. The prices can change within an hour, and my best guess is there had to be some kind of miscommunication. Sometimes I’ve had an employee check the price for the wrong date, when I had a huge price disparity that’s the first thing I check. I’m sorry that happened to you, but honestly I always price check what my flight should cost with the $17.99 savings before I go to the airport. I also had an airline employee tell me one time (not on Spirit) that I had to pay to check my child’s car seat on a plane. You better believe I asked to speak to a supervisor before I paid something I knew I didn’t have to.

          If someone is flying by themselves I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t make sense to save money by purchasing their ticket at the airport.

          I’m not perfect, but I do everything I can to make sure the information I give is the most correct and up-to-date.

          1. You keep referring to this usage fee that I cannot find anywhere on the site, but what I am seeing is that if I check the $9 fare there is a line below stating “your effective government tax rate for this selection is 72%”. If I check the standard fare the government tax is 157%. This is what changes the price of the fare. Is this where that fee is hidden? It seems like a scam to have different government tax rates for airfare, wouldn’t they always charge the same %? Can you explain what this tax rate is all about and how it can change?

        2. If you click on the highlighted portion that says “effective government tax rate” on the first page, the explanation pops up there. It says:

          Your effective government tax rate is calculated as Government’s Cut (government taxes and fees) divided by Our Price (what we charge).

          It calculates what percentage of your ticket is going to taxes vs what percentage is going to Spirit Airlines. That’s all that tells you.

          The breakouts that show the passenger usage fees are in the next step. When you hit “continue” after confirming your itinerary, then continue without hotel, then continue without car, then (sometimes) continue without activity, then you will get to the page with the purchase price and the breakout of all the fees. Under flight price where you click “more info” is the breakout of the price. It shows you the base fare, flight, unintended consequences of DOT regulations, and the passenger usage fee. If you click “more info” under “government’s cut” you will see the security fee, passenger facility fee, segment fee, and the federal excise tax.

          Hope this helps!

  63. I have a question how specific are they about the weight of your checked bags, and how early you check in if you already checked in online?

    1. They are VERY picky about weight. However, at my home airport, MSY New Orleans, there is a scale conveniently located just outside the baggage claim area. I weighed my bag before getting in line and noticed I had 4 lbs to spare. (Then quickly tossed in all of my family’s coats so I wouldn’t have to carry those!)

    2. Depending on where you’re flying out of they recommend getting to the airport 90 – 120 minutes before your flight to check your bag.

      If the bag is 40.5 lbs. someone may give you a break; but I’d be ready to take something out of it if you’re close on weight.

  64. My wife and I flew spirit for our honeymoon and had the worst experience ever. We will never use this airline again and would recommend everyone else do the same. We were able to deal with the basic problems with this airline like charging for everything known to man. Any bags, checked or carry (other than a small purse or backpack), the weight limit of 40 pounds, charging me to pick a seat so I could sit next to my wife (on 4 legs of our 6 flights both ways), if you don’t check in before your flight, and for any food or drink.

    When we arrived in Dallas we had to get off the plane, and then reboard the exact same plane we were just on. Our flight leaving from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale was delayed multiple times. Then the same thing happened from Ft. Lauderdale to Montego Bay, Jamaica. On our return flight we have run into the same thing. Multiple delays from Jamaica to Ft. Lauderdale, and now Ft. Lauderdale to Dallas. I am sure we will run into more if we ever get to Phoenix. When we tried to talk to an agent she said that it was air traffic controls fault and gave us the customer service number to call. When we called that number is said spirit airlines charges for calls and ended the call.

    I cannot express how terrible this airline is and can promise you they are not worth the savings.

  65. Hello,

    I just purchased 4 tickets for a flight in May, and I want to buy another 2 for the same flight, and avoid any charges, while getting the bare rate for being a member. Is my best bet to cancel my initial ticket (since it’s within 24 hours), and buy the tickets again, including the additional 2 I want?

    1. Canceling the tickets is probably not your best call. I did that once as I made a mistake in the reservations. I was a member of the “club” and am no longer. I typically will purchase my tickets at the airport. The “34.00” fares at the airport are actually $1.00 fares plus tax(roughly$16.00). I have flown from Chicago to Kansas City for $32.00 round trip about 5 times, Myrtle Beach for a little more. I am taking a trip to New Orleans for $32.00 round trip and am also planing a trip to california for the same. I bring a large tote and that is it. I do not pay for drinks, I bring an empty water bottle and fill it at the airport. I find I am able to travel more because of Spirit. I find the planes are newer than some of the major air carriers.

      A quick savings note. If you are traveling to a destination that has a stop or two, try booking the ticket as a multi-destination option. You will save more that way.

  66. Hi Tiff, thank you for your insight on Spirit Airlines rules. My wife and I are traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles later this month and I just want to be sure our backpacks will pass the size specifications when we get to the airport. Can you describe the backpacks you guys use? Our backpacks roughly fit the 16x14x12″ specifications when fully loaded if it squishes down a little. Since it’s not rigid I am having trouble feeling confidant that I will not get hit with a $100 fee at the gate. Without any squishing they measure roughly 18x14x9″ Thanks in advance!

    1. One of our backpack’s is a High Sierra Swerve. I bought it a few years ago but the current version looks similar. Pretty sturdy, fits a laptop. I try to put our heavier items in the backpack since they have the 40 lb weight limit for checked bags.

  67. Tiff, just wanted to thank you for your article and all the replies. You are saving me a hundred bucks on not purchasing seats ahead of time as it sounds like they will seat me with my 3 & 6 yr old and wife regardless if I prepay. Take care.

  68. I am booking a flight to fly out of a small airport in Niagara Falls to Fort Lauderdale. This is my first experience with Spirit. Everyone is telling me no but I am only bringing a small backpack for a short trip. My question is, since this flight leaves at 2am, will they cancel it if there are not many passengers? I don’t want to drive the 2 hours to Niagara Falls to hear it’s cancelled and then not get a refund.

    Any experience with thia?

    1. If Spirit makes any changes to your flight (time, date, etc) they will give you the option to change your flight within two weeks for no extra charge. They can’t cancel the flight and not give you a refund for something that is within their control. If it’s weather issues, then there are different rules for that.



      1. I suppose I’m basing my previous comment off so many people saying ” they cancelled my flight due to weather even though it’s clear skies everywhere and now they won’t refund me since they don’t have to when it’s for weather”

        I worry I’ll lose out on a couple hundred bucks and not make it to my destination that I’ve paid $1000 in activities activities and hotels and rental car that I can’t get back.

        1. Unfortunately the weather issue is typical for any airline in the U.S. There is no requirement that they compensate you for your trip. The second link I posted are suggestions from Keri about what to do if your flight is weather canceled.

          1. We just got back from our vacation using spirit. I would 100% use this airline again. Everything was on time, quick and smooth. We adhered to all guidelines and we didn’t pay any extra fees or anything. I would recommend this airline to anyonr. Definitely worth it.

  69. I bought a round trip ticket and now want to leave a few day sooner, can i cancel my outgoing Friday flight buy Wednesday? will I still be able to keep my return fight Sunday? or will cancelling my Friday flight cancel my Sunday flight.

    1. I would either call them or go to the airport to talk to someone and find out. Since the tickets are usually reserved as “one-ways” you SHOULD be able to do that; but you need to inform them that you’re changing your flight so the system doesn’t automatically cancel your return flight since you purchased the tickets on the same reservation. Good luck!

      1. I did end up talking to someone. If I canceled my Friday flight it would have cost me and my husband 120 each. I asked them what if we just didn’t show on Fridays flight..they said it would cancel our return flight. So we left it as is and are just taking a short trip!!

        1. Yikes! I guess since they were on the same reservation that was the issue. I’ve bought our tickets on separate reservations before and they don’t automatically cancel when you do that. But I only do that if I’m traveling with my husband and he has to leave on a different day than the rest of us do or some other extenuating circumstance where it makes more sense (e.g. it’s a better deal to purchase tickets online one-way and at the airport the other way).

          1. This is actually very standard – I have found out the hard way with other airlines (United to be specific). If you don’t show up for the first leg of round trip they automatically cancel your return flight.

            Therefor, it is best to purchase 2 one-way tickets rather than a round trip ticket if you think you might need to adjust either date. The change fee can be more expensive than the flight. I have simply purchased a new ticket and then just not shown up for the originally purchased flight. By buying 2 one-way tickets the one that isn’t changing isn’t effected by the one that is.

  70. Hi, I am flying out of MSP. I have booked our flight, 2 carry-ons and 2 checked bags awhile ago with the membership. I will either print boarding passes at home or at airport kiosk. Do you know if there is faster curbside baggage check-in? Or with the weight restrictions and higher fees, if over 40#, is it not possible? Or do I just go to counter to check-in bags only? Also, If I were to change my mind and want all my bags to be carry-ons is there a way to change that on-line? And would it tell me the price difference? Thanks.

    1. I have not seen a curbside baggage check in. At DFW they have gotten better about moving the “fast bag drop” line as quickly as possible, but I haven’t flown them out of MSP.


      I haven’t tried changing bags from checked to carry-ons online. My best guess is they won’t let you do that. If you can do it online I’d love to hear if it worked for you. You may have a better chance doing that at the airport, but then you’d be charged the higher airport carry-on fee. Good luck!

      1. I just got off the phone with Spirit. No I can’t switch bags from checked in to carry-on without repaying the carry-on price. BUT a representative would be able to credit my account the first paid amount to be used towards a trip booked within the next 60 days and flown within a year. I don’t travel. so for me not great. But others might find it useful. The representative supposedly verified that there are bag drops at both the airports I’ll be flying out of.

        1. Thanks for letting us know what happened! That’s good information that they would be willing to credit your account. Obviously not great if you’re not a frequent flyer, but hopefully it will help someone else.

          Do you know if she meant the fast bag drops inside the airport or was she saying they have them curbside as well? As far as I know Spirit has a fast bag drop at every airport; there’s the full service line and the “fast bag drop” line, but they’re both inside where you normally check bags. I haven’t seen a curbside option for that yet.

          1. Yes, you’re correct. She referred to it as fast drop. What is your general knowledge of these? Should I plan on fast drop being a better bet than ticket counter bag check in?

  71. After purchasing a rt ticket for my daughter from houston to baltimore for $300. I was then redirected to purchase a carryon for $40. Which totaled $113. Is this normal?

    1. No. Airlines are required to include all taxes and fees when they list prices (whether it’s for your seat, luggage, etc). If it said $40 then you should have been charged exactly $40 each way totaling $80.

      What Spirit does is constantly ask you if you want to purchase other “add-ons”. They will charge you to pick your seat out ahead of time which they charge extra for, they will charge you for priority boarding, they will even ask if you want to “GreenUp” and donate for them to use more environmentally friendly napkins and cups. If you paid more than what was listed for the bag, then you probably added one or more of these “add-ons” that increase the price of your flight. 🙁


  72. We got off the plane from Las Vegas to Minneapolis on March 18, 2016 and layover was only 15 minutes … So long story short they call for our flight, which keep in mind you could barely hear the woman announcing over the PA. We began to load on the plane and the woman at the desk says that I had to pay $100.00 for that carry on bag, and we have taken four flights with spirit since January and we have been to ATL, MIA, LAS, and they have not said a word about my bag until we got to Minneapolis. We didn’t know that bag would cost $100.00, so then I proceeded to inform them that no one told us or said anything at all at any other destination and they still were extremely rude, Beyond rude and the woman Said ” I told everyone and even announced it!!! Well I began to say we didn’t know and or hear u announce anything!!!! We thought it was a personal bag and I even told the lady I couldn’t hear her and she began to get even more unprofessional with me and said I announced it multiple times and she rolled her eyes at me!!! So then I began to say well why did they let us on the flight the other three or four times and not say anything!!! She said I cannot help what they do!!! I told her that was not an excuse and I wanted to talk to a manager! So then she began to say well, if we get a supervisor up here u will miss your flight, basically she was holding that over our head!!! I just wanted an explanation because we have went to 4 different destinations with spirit and no one said anything about my personal carry on bag! It was ridiculous how we were treated and made us pay the $100.00 dollars that was way too pricey for a dang carry on!!!! And the girl behind us had already paid for her carry on and they made her pay again in Minneapolis gate B, she was super mad about that and said that she was gonna give them a horrible review as well!!! This has been the worst service and the two women working at the terminal were super rude and unprofessional!!!! They would not even talk to us civilized!! And we will never fly with Spirit again and our family and friends won’t either!! I would like to report this situation and let them know the story because I hope something gets done about it because no one told us anything and it got through multiple times!! So why all of the sudden now!! Please respond back!
    I would like to report both of those women, they were beyond rude!!! We will never fly Spirit again!

    1. To make sure this is understood, I do not work for Spirit Airlines or represent the airline in any way, shape, or form. I am someone who flies on the airline frequently and I write posts to help people fly the airline without getting charged a bunch of extra fees they weren’t aware of.

      You definitely should report to Spirit the customer service you received. Even if the airline was correct about the bag fee; that is no reason for employees to be rude to customers. In my not-so-humble opinion eye rolling and other unprofessional behavior by their representatives should not be tolerated. Since I don’t work for the airline, this is only my personal opinion and obviously they can handle it however they want to.

      Their carry-on rules haven’t changed since 2013 so I’m surprised this is the first time you were charged for your carry-on (if it was a true carry-on and not a personal item). Spirit is very clear about their policies with carry-on bags. I know anytime I am flying with Spirit I am constantly asked (via E-mail and when I check-in online) if I want to pay for any bags and that fees will be much more expensive if you wait to purchase them at the airport. They usually also have signs posted at the ticket counters and the boarding gates as well warning people of the baggage fees.

      If they were correct about charging for the bag if it was a true carry-on and not a personal bag, I think your best strategy would be to focus on how you were treated not the cost of the bag. They have covered their butts pretty well and are very open about their bag fee policies. Unless you can prove your bag was only a personal item and not a carry-on you can’t win that battle. BUT, if you can tell them something like “I understand there was a charge for my bag, but that was no excuse to be treated the way I was” and then go into the explanation of how the agents talked to you (and other customers) you may get further with that kind of complaint. Good luck!

  73. Hey Tiff!

    You have a lot of great information! If my bag is 19x11x7 (the only problem is the height) how strict are they on it being a personal item or carry on. It’s my first time flying and I want to be sure. I understand you don’t work there but it would be great if I can have some insight. Thank you!

    1. The answer is everyone’s favorite, it depends. 🙂

      How squishy is your bag? And does it have wheels? If your bag is a regular duffel bag or backpack as long as you can smash it so it fits into their “personal bag measuring device” you should be fine.

      This post explains my personal experience with that and why I don’t recommend personal bags with wheels (unless you’re 100% positive they will fit their measuring device). From what I’ve seen as long as you can manage to get your bag into the fitting device they’ll let it go as a personal item.

      Hope that helps! =)


  74. I flew Spirit Airline Airlines today and their employees stole stuff out of my bag it was a checked bag and the items that were stolen were completely with inside the suitcase I know that because they were packed directly in the middle if not closer to the bottom which means their employees not only stole my stuff but they went through my entire bag to find out what they wanted Spirit Airlines is the biggest piece of crap company I have ever dealt with in my life and anybody who decides to fly with them is stupider than they are

    1. I’m currently packing for my flight on Wednesday and this makes me very nervous now to read this. Has this happened to anyone else?

  75. We are flying Tampa to Cancun tomorrow & Spirit website says 1 free checked bag per international traveler. Yet Spirit charged my credit card $70 for 1 checked bag each for 2 travelers. What gives? Thx.

  76. My and my son just flew Spirit from Detroit to Boston May 21-23, and didnt have any issues at all, except a gate change… not a big deal… the fare was low enough I drove from Toronto to Detroit, we went on a weekend trip to Fenway so we only had carry-on (which is a backpack each) I paid for the carry on, not knowing that the backpack was considered a personal item size(free)..my own fault and cost me $200 extra total for both of us round trip.

    this airline doesnt fake the fact that they are cheap… and they are cheap for a reason. maybe we have started expecting too much… if I take a greyhound bus I dont expect them to give me pillows, meals, drinks, blankets, tvs or headphones…just get me there safe.

    Im taking Spirit because its a plane that will get me from A to B safely and for a cheap, nothing fancy. If i wanted a drink and snacks and TV and entertainment I’d fly Southwest (which i have no problem with) or if I wanted to feel like i was getting ripped off I’d fly Air Canada out of Toronto (i cant afford that) so I fly Spirit.

    We all flew Spirit because it was the cheapest option… then we are all quick to complain how cheap they are… the bag prices are posted. I like that I’m saving money and someone else who packs everything they own for a weekend vacation is paying more.. basically paying for me to have a cheaper flight….

    if someone is treated unfairly our rudely and its uncalled for then I do have an issue with that… but I have seen quite a few people at airports think they are owed something just for being a passenger, which I dont agree with either..

    thank you Spirit.. 1 for 1 so far… Im planning on using them again whenever I can for quick weekend/long weekend getaways.

  77. I’m actually flying out with Spirit this weekend with my spouse and two year old. We’ve flown with her several times before on other airlines and always call ahead at least a few days early to make sure they’ll seat at least one of us with her (after checking in for her second flight and finding out they had us all sitting many rows apart). I have never had a problem with an airline getting that arranged. I called Spirit at the start of the week to make sure they were aware passanger three on our itenerary was a toddler in a car seat and was told that she absolutely could end up being seated by herself and the only way to make sure she had at least one parent next to her was to purchase seat reservations. They absolutely refused to do anything for us otherwise. So of course we ended up paying them, because how could we leave it up to chance that she’d end up sitting alone? So did they change their policy on how they seat small children, or did they scam us?

    1. It sounds like you got scammed. I never had to pay to be seated with my children and I always got seated with others in my party even if it was all adults. It may have not been intentional; it’s likely the employee(s) you talked to did not know the company’s policy. That happens a lot, not just with Spirit, but with any company I’ve dealt with. Insurance, airlines, retail, you name it.

      It also may be their “official” policy that they cannot guarantee you seats together; but I’ve always been seated with everyone on our reservation and I’e never purchased our seats ahead of time. I’ve also never seen families split up on a flight. I’m sorry this happened to you. 🙁

  78. When we flew Spirit for our first time almost 8 years ago. I swore never again. I hoped they would go belly up. I guess what they say is true, a sucker is born every second.for the life of me I cannot believe what people will put up with to save a buck or even a couple hundred.
    That being said…and I giggle inside…we just bought spirit. Our 10 year anniversary to Mexico. We are saving $400 each. So that is quite significant. However, if Spirit treats us as badly as the last time. I don’t care if it saves us $10000, I would rather stay home. Time will tell.

    1. Fair enough. I had a similar experience with Ryanair. We tried them again last year after having a horrible experience in 2007 and never again.

  79. I’ll give them one more try. May 2015 we were traveling to Houston from Baltimore. We get to the airport for departure only to find the flight was cancelled. After standing in line for 2 hours, we finally get booked on Southwest at different DC airport the next day. On our return trip I start getting notifications that our 7:30 AM flight was delayed, 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, 1 hour and 15 minutes, and finally 2 hours. Then our last notification at 4:00 in the morning indicated the flight was back on schedule. Who does that? Good thing we were only staying 25 minutes from the airport. Long and short, we made the flight but my wife said never again. Well, never say never because we’re trying them again in July.

    1. Good luck! Spirit is a weird airline because they are extremely motivated to stay (or in this case) get back on schedule. I assume their business model is based on quick turn-around times at the airport. I’ve never been on an airline who tries to get a flight out early like they do.

  80. Hi there! You said that you can save money by buying the tickets at the airport instead of online… Is it possible to book a hotel along with the flight tickets at the airport? Or does the flight+hotel only work online? Thank you for all of the valuable info!

    1. My best guess is I don’t think so. I know you can’t take advantage of the $9 fare prices at the airport (only online) so I don’t think you can’t get the hotel or rental car deals at the airport either. Full disclosure: I haven’t tried to do it, so I’m only guessing. If anyone else knows for sure I’d love to hear about it!

  81. Flight 331 LGA – ORD 06/05/16 was cancelled because of weather condition. OK, it happens sometimes, but:

    1. E-mail notification wasn’t sent to me. I just get phone call from some strange person. When I tried to call back number was disconnected
    2. Spirit offered nearest flight 2 days later. In the same time flights of other airlines just were delayed (even not cancelled)
    3. We denied the Spirit offer and had to buy tickets to United flight that was delayed in several hours. When we returned beck to Spirit counter in LGA it was empty. All Spirit employees left for home although it was before the departure time of cancelled flight
    4. Spirit refund me for cancelled flight without any problem (that’s why I marked “1”, not “0”) but I failed to receive confirmation about flight cancellation. I uploaded this request 06/06/16 on-line on the Spirit site (I have copy of it on my e-mai), but still nobody responded.
    5. Several times I called to Spirit (801-401-2222) with the same request. Various representatives lied to me: “Sure, we are sending you e-mail right now”, but I got nothing. At last, supervisor Kim (#35702) told me that they cannot do it and I should upload on-line request. I don’t see any sense to do it again because this impersonal procedure does not encourage employees for proper feedback. As a result, I have problem with my claim to Insurance company now (trip was insured)

    Conclusion: awful service, irresponsible staff.

    1. Yeah, that’s pretty awful and I’m sorry that happened to you. I typically fly out of one of their hubs (DFW) so it’s unlikely they would send everyone home for a day. The one time we had a weather cancellation all the other airlines were canceling/rescheduling too (ice storm at DFW) and I think I had up to a 7-day window to reschedule my flights. The hardest part was getting someone on the phone, but once I did talk to someone it wasn’t a problem getting what I needed.

      I’m going to suggest this to KT as well, but have you sent a formal complaint to Spirit Airlines? My dad is always one for writing a formal letter (now an E-mail) of complaint to a company when we feels he has received substandard service while traveling. He doesn’t always get some kind of compensation, but he has enough times to feel it’s worth effort. Good luck!

  82. First of all, let me say, I am scared to fly and reading all these negative comments regarding Spirit airline is making the anxiety much worse! I am flying from Philadelphia to Vegas in September and am dreading it. I am praying that the flight will be smooth and on time. I have paid so much money for roomier seats (my boyfriend is 6’3”) and the baggage fees. Sigh. Wish me well. I will let you know how the flight goes…..

    1. First of all, let me reassure you, that if I thought for a minute there was a safety of flight issue with Spirit Airlines, I would never suggest flying on them. I’m the type of person who normally laments how over-involved our government gets in regulating so many things, but this is one I’m very grateful for. Since we live in the United States, Spirit (and all other airlines) have to follow all the federal aviation regulations that are prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) who govern all aviation activities in the United States. Long story short (too late) they have to follow the same rules and regulations as every other airline in the U.S. There may be less “extras” than on other airlines (no free drinks, no in-flight magazine, etc), but they have the same safety equipment, they have to follow the same safety regulations, and their crews are required to have the same safety training as everyone else. I hope this makes you feel a little better about flying and I hope your flight goes smoothly in September! We’re headed to Vegas on Spirit this weekend. =)

  83. I NEVER fly anything but Spirit but I have just been wronged to an inexcusable point and will NEVER fly with them again no matter how cheap the ticket is.

    I bought my airline ticket to visit my Grandmother. She passed away so I needed to cancel my flight. She raised me since I was 3 years old because my parents died when I was young. So she has been my mother my entire life. When I called to see if I could get a full refund, I was told that my Grandmother is not immediate family, even though she has been my mother for 27 years. My ticket was $160 and I am only getting $34 back. I am not even getting a quarter of the flight price back! But before that, the first person I spoke to told me that I couldn’t speak with a manager because the result would be the same. It was super difficult to actually JUST talk to a manager, and then to be told that my Grandmother who raised me for 2 years sis not immediate family.

    Basically, they lost a customer who used to fly nothing but Spirit. I can’t believe how terrible they were. And they were being super short with me the whole time!

    1. First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss. 🙁

      That’s really awful that they did that to you. I’ve had many bad experiences with various companies, but to treat you that way when you had a family member die is inexcusable.

      If nothing else, if you haven’t already done it yet, I would send a formal complaint to Spirit Airlines. My dad is always one for writing a formal letter (now an E-mail) of complaint to a company when we feels he has received substandard service while traveling. He doesn’t always get some kind of compensation, but he has enough times to feel it’s worth effort. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting through to the right person. Good luck, and again, I am so sorry about your grandmother. 🙁

  84. I have been thinking about just taking a carry on for my trip in September. Can I cancel the checked bag I already paid for?

    1. You should call them to cancel the checked bag, (pretty sure they allow that), and then pay ahead for the carry-on bag because you get a few dollars discount by paying ahead of time. Make sure you follow the size guidelines on your carry-on or you’ll pay $100 at the gate. Same goes for your personal item – it must fit the size guideline or they’ll charge you $100 at the gate.

  85. I was supposed to fly Spirit for the first time before they cancelled my flight. This was in LAX omw to Phoenix. THANKFULLY, I was able to get on a different flight with American at Spirit’s expense. However, I ended up missing a connecting ride and had to pony up $$. I am currently trying to figure out how I can get them to reimburse me. Don’t fly Spirit, kids.

    1. I would Google “my rights as an airline passenger” to see what kind of compensation you are due since I don’t know the entire situation. Some things are the airline’s fault (mechanical problems), some are beyond their control (weather), and then there’s things that are the passenger’s fault. Good luck!

  86. So question, If i were to drive to my airport and buy my tickets in advanced at the counter instead of online… would i still save that $33 ? TIA

    1. Yup, that’s what saves the $33. Of course, prices change quickly, so it’s always good to double-check the price of the flights you want before you go to the airport.

  87. Thank you for writing this!! Your blog helped me to decide to go with Spirit. I measured my bags, I read and reread all the info on their website, I booked my flight. No problems whatsoever! I flew with my husband and paid for both of us to have a carry on, but I did not pay for seats. Both flights we were seated together, both flights left a little early and arrived early, checked in online and printed boarding passes with no problems. The only thing I will do differently the next time is to only pay for one carry, We would have had more than enough luggage space with one carryon and our two free personal items. I also used a backpack, blue jean material and stuffed my purse inside it.

  88. According to one of your post about this flight, you mentioned that one is allowed 1 personal bag. What I want to know is the size of that 1 personal bag. You said it could be a duffle bag or backpack. With this being sad I suppose its any size duffle. Please let me know the size requirements on a personal bag. Thanks.

    1. Sorry, I meant to hit as a reply to you! Haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning. =)

      They’re changing their policy soon. The current size is this (as it says, through April 3, 2017):

      For Travel Through April 3, 2017:
      Personal item (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.): Dimensions must not exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches (40 x 35 x 30 cm) including handles and wheels.

      Then it’s this for travel April 4, 2017 & Beyond:
      Personal item (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.): Dimensions must not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm) including handles and wheels.

  89. They’re changing their policy soon. The current size is this (as it says, through April 3, 2017):

    For Travel Through April 3, 2017:

    Personal item (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.): Dimensions must not exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches (40 x 35 x 30 cm) including handles and wheels.

    Then it’s this for travel April 4, 2017 & Beyond:

    Personal item (e.g., purse, small backpack, etc.): Dimensions must not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm) including handles and wheels.

  90. Very very worried about all the flight cancellations and rude staff and bag issues. Wife and I are leaving next Thursday from Pdx to Vegas and am praying for no delays. Only taking one free carry on and printing tickets ahead of time and buying upgraded seats. Since Pdx is a hub I hope there is no problem and would you suggest arriving at least 2 or more hours early? Any tips for smooth flight? Thanks in advance

      1. Usually the staff on Spirit is the same as other airlines. Occasionally you’ll deal with someone incredibly rude, but most of the time the people I deal with are very nice and try to help you.

        You can look at this website ahead of time to see how delayed (or on-time) your flight has been over the last week or so. It’s not a guarantee of course, but it may give you some idea of what you can expect.


        You don’t need to buy seats unless you want seats with more leg room. You will be automatically assigned seats together when you check-in even if you don’t purchase them. I suggest waiting to check-in until a few hours before your flight so you’ll be assigned seats closer in the front. If you check-in at the 24-hour point they fill up the back of the plane first.

        If you purchase a carry-on you’ll also automatically be given priority boarding so don’t pay extra for that; a purchased carry-on automatically gives you priority 1 boarding and usually they’ll let your entire party board with you.

        If you don’t have to check a bag or go to a ticket agent, how early you get to the airport depends on how long it takes to go through security. DFW’s security usually isn’t too bad, but I don’t know how PDX is. Make sure you give yourself enough time to park, get through security and get to your gate. Spirit also tends to start the boarding process earlier than other airlines, but they still close the doors 15 minutes before take-off (just like any other airline).

        Hope this helps!

        1. Hey Tiff,

          Quick question, if I pay online is the fee already paid for? The 17$ each way fee? Or do I pay that at the airport? My girlfriend and I intent to fly to Phili from Dallas, but we live in Austin TX, so are driving to Dallas staying with a friend. The prices are really that much savings for us. We are both in our young 20s so we are just gonna share 1 backpack for a 3 day stay to visit family. We aren’t ones to complain and I understand that nothing is offered through spirit (I.e. Drinks, pillows, etc.).

          I just really want to know, after I pay online (and we are pre paying for our backpack carry on fee) what else will I have to pay at the airport?

          Thanks, and I appreciate the time and effort you have put into this!

          1. Yup, the fee is already included in the online price. If you look at the price break-outs it’s called the “passenger usage fee”. It’s now $17.99 per person each way. Provided you’ve already paid for your bags online and print at your tickets at home or at the kiosk at the airport you shouldn’t be charged for anything else once you’re there. Good luck!

  91. I didn’t realize you have to pay baggage fees for EACH flight. I didn’t see this when I booked online and had to pay $55 for each of my carry-ons for my return trip at the airport so don’t make the same mistake as I did. I could’ve saved $40 right there!

  92. I’m flying next Saturday to LAS…i have a suitcase that is 16 X 14 X 12….am i also allowed a computer bag or a purse?
    Does spirit charge for a neck pillow?

  93. Any idea when Spirit loads their inventory. For PDX–>LAX it’s been sitting there for weeks with last booking date of Sept 6th. I keep checking back daily. But starting to drive me crazy. I called them, but their off shore call center just said keep checking. BTW- an especially good use for 5k points r/t on spirit is to do an AK $99 cert (buy ticket, get one for $99-no blackouts) from NW to FLL, then from FLL to Caribbean or central America (2500 points each way).

    1. I’m not sure. The best thing to do is keep looking. All I can do is tell you what I’ve seen in the past, and it’s the same thing they’ve told you. Sorry!

  94. Hi Tiff, our 1-st round trip with Spirit went without a hitch! I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all the helpful tips and for sharing your experience. Thanks to you we knew what to expect and we saved some additional $s! Maybe we were lucky, but our flights were on time and we did not encounter any rude staff, everyone was very nice and polite. On our return flight, upon checking our suitcase in, the clerk at the counter said TSA was having issues with boarding passes and reprinted our boarding passes free of charge. I would also like to confirm that we did not purchase seats when booking or checking in online and we were indeed assigned seats together. Thank You very very much!

    1. I’m so glad it worked out for you! I’ve noticed places where we’ve encountered rude staff it tends to be a regional thing at the airport we’re at and not necessarily an airline thing. =)

    1. Yes, but you still have to follow the TSA rules and regulations with liquids. So powders you can keep separate, but all your liquids need to be in a 3 oz (or less) bottle and they all have to fit in a quart-sized clear bag. Hope this helps! =)

  95. Worst airline in America. After countless problems, stopped using them. Drive an extra hour to another airport rather book with Spirit.

  96. Look, folks, you get what you pay for. If you have a tight schedule, book another airline. If you are traveling with kids, be prepared for delay and the associated costs and headaches. If you want comfort, or cannot tolerate uncomfortable seats and being squeezed like sardines, book another airline. If you want snacks or drink, bring it with you. If you cannot tolerate underpaid, unhappy employees who tend to be rude, book another airline. Read the fine print and prepare in advance. Print your boarding pass in advance. Measure your carry on bag and make sure it is not too big (you are allowed one small carry-on free). Make sure to arrive in plenty of time. Book an early-in-the-day flight and make sure Spirit has other routes that day so if your flight is canceled, you won’t be staying at an Airport Motel overnight and eating overpriced crummy food. Make sure your pay for your checked bags in advance, and that they are not too heavy, or you will pay a lot extra. Consider the possibility of shipping in advance your clothes, etc, to your destination. FedEx or UPS is a lot cheaper, especially if you have several bags. If you want to speak to a customer service rep over the phone, be prepared to wait for an hour. If you want to sit together with other family, be prepared to pay extra. If you want a aisle seat, be prepared to pay extra. If you cannot tolerate a huge greedy company lying to you, book another airline.

    But if you have limited funds, know their rules and use them to your advantage, they are dirt cheap.

    I have some friends with three kids who have family in Miami. Instead of paying close to four hundred dollars per ticket round trip to Miami, they flew to Orlando, where roundtrip was only $100, and luckily nonstop. Then they rented a car from Orlando to Miami for one day at $60. They shipped most of their stuff by fedex in advance, and each family member had one small carryon (with clothes in case of a overnight delay, and snacks for the flight and layover). And they read all the fine print at the Spirit website and planned in advance. y

    So instead of paying 2,000 in travel expenses, they paid only $600. Sure, there was a lot of inconvenience. One of their flights was delayed over four hours, they didn’t get to sit together. The kids were a .little cranky upon arrival.

    But they saved $1,400, and had a very inexpensive Florida vacation with other family. Was it worth it to them? Absolutely.

    There is a reason why Spirit, while by far the cheapest way to fly, is not only the most profitable airline in America, but also the fastest growing. If you have limited funds, it may be right for you. But research first, and if choose Spirit, be prepared for a terrible experience, and remember, their cancelled or late flights are only ten percent worse than the industry average. If you can afford to take the added risk, discomfort, and inconvenience, and don’t find the cost savings a reasonable trade off, by all means do not book Spirit.

  97. Sprit is the worst airline and they should not be able to operate. There are so many fees and misleading things on their website like the $9 fare club that cost 59.00 and charging to print boarding passes, what a pietiful excuse for an airline. I will never spend another cent with SPIRIT.

  98. I just booked a ticket this morning and saw the online booking fee. It was $18.99, listed as ‘passenger usage charge’.

  99. Hi Tiff, I’d like to ask, we’re international travellers from the Philippines, is there a discount for our baggages considering we’re tourists and us non-locals flying via spirit? Thanks for your reply

  100. I booked my flight and I didn’t include my middle initial which is on my drivers license. is that going to be a problem? if so what number can I call?

  101. While I find Spirit’s site to be very clear on weight and size requirements, the photos that accompany them are deceiving. I understand a checked bag can not exceed 62 linear inches and 40 lbs. however, the language (as do many airlines) states “62 linear inches including wheels and handle.” Now, reading all these mixed review posts I have come across, does that mean that the 62 linear inches is not to be exceeded with the handle FULLY EXTENDED? I don’t want to be hit with an added fee at the gate because of an extended handle. I may be a bit too literal here but I’m obviously cautious after other posts I’ve seen. Thanks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *