Spirit Vs. Southwest Airlines

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spirit airlinesYes, I cracked and bought tickets during the $50 off Spirit Airlines sale yesterday. I found round-trip tickets from DFW to Orlando for $68.18. Round-trip!!!!

The sad part of this tale is I couldn’t take complete advantage of that sale. While the days we were considering flying home from Orlando were on sale ($34.09 one-way per person), the day we wanted to fly out was not. So what did we do?

I was able to take advantage of $25 off per person even if I only purchased one-way tickets online. I still put the “50OFF” in the promotion code box and it deducted $25 off each ticket price. That came to $34.09 per person to fly home from Orlando in January. I bought the tickets home online last night, and planned to go to DFW today to purchase our tickets to Orlando.

I got the tickets today from DFW to Orlando for $85.10 per person. Honestly, it’s not a bad price, but it seemed like so much more when I got the other ones for $34.09 each. Our round-trip ticket price comes out to $119.19 per person. We’ll be checking one bag each way, with the $9 club membership price ($21 each way) that averages out the four tickets to $129.69 per person.

Spirit Airline Baggage FeesBut Tiff, Southwest is having a sale right now! Did you even check them???

Funny you should ask, I did. Now, Southwest prices weren’t bad at all, they were definitely cheaper than I usually find them for, but how did they compare to Spirit Air’s sale?

For the flight out to Orlando, same day, non-stop, later than the Spirit flight, but nothing we wouldn’t do, was $134 per person. A difference of almost $49 per person. For someone flying by themselves who has to check a bag and isn’t a $9 fare club member, I wouldn’t blame them at all if they decided to fly the Southwest flight out to Orlando.

The bag price for Spirit to check only one bag would cost $32, making Southwest’s flight out only $17 more than Spirit’s. Since we’re flying with four people, $49 more per person is almost $200. I can check our bag for only $21 so we’re saving a substantial amount ($174.60) if the four of us fly on Spirit instead of Southwest.

I checked Southwest’s prices on the days we were looking at flying home. Their cheapest flights were all non-stops and their lowest prices varied between $123 per person and $133 per person. For all four of us to fly home on Spirit it cost us $157.36 and that’s including our checked bag. It’s about one-third of the cheapest price on Southwest.

Total cost of the flight if we flew on Southwest would have been $257 per person. Our Spirit tickets come to $129.69 per person including our bag fees. Just a little over half the entire cost Southwest would have cost us.
So yes, Spirit won again for our family. We’ll have time to visit family, take the kids to Disney, and hopefully complete the Disney World half-marathon (eek).


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


  1. Helmuth

    October 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Look at all of the crazy fees that my cousin paid this week to fly on Apirit today. I been in the industry for 37 years and have never seen what I am about to paste for you to see.

    Thank you for choosing Spirit Airlines. This notice contains information to be used during your travels. Please review the contents of this document carefully. For your convenience, please print a copy to take with you on your trip.

    Contact Information

    United States of America
    Purchase Price

    Flight Price $431.98
    Base Fare $287.75
    – Flight $248.77 –
    – Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations $4.00 –
    – Passenger Usage Fee $34.98 –
    Fuel $144.23
    Bags $285.00
    Government’s Cut $55.20
    US-International Departure Tax $35.00
    Security Fee $11.20
    Passenger Facility Fee $9.00
    Other Fees -$267.09
    Overweight Bag 41-50lbs (18-23kg) $25.00

    Total $530.09

    • Tiff

      October 17, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Wow, and all that for just one person. That’s crazy. Hence, why I tell people if they’re considering Spirit to consider ALL the extra fees. You can save money flying on them, but it takes some research and work. It’s not for everybody.

      Most of those fees you listed are included in the price they show the customer for the cost of your flight. The one that’s not included is bags. It’s cheaper to check bags than to have carry-ons, and I’ve saved money (since we fly them so often) with a $9 fare club membership on luggage. The “passenger usage fee” is the internet charge. $16.99 per ticket per person (each way) if you buy tickets online. That’s why I usually buy them at the airport unless there’s an online sale that makes buying them online cheaper than buying at the airport.

  2. theSHARK

    October 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    well… My mom got a good deal from IAH to LAX for something like $260 r/t. didn’t pay any luggage fees and it stayed $260. However, after waiting at the airport for 4 hours they finally cancelled the flight, and the next available one was 2 days later. Every time she takes Spirit there’s always at least a 1 hour delay. Spirit should change their slogan as “Never say never” —- since everybody always says “Never again am I flying on Spirit” hahahaa

    • Tiff

      October 17, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Wow! Honestly, most of my flights with Spirit have been on-time or even early. I also saw them help a guy get rebooked to another flight so he could be where he needed to be on time (he was going to miss his connection because of our flight delay).

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