Spirit Airlines

What Happens if I Miss My Flight on Spirit?

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I am lucky enough this hasn’t happened to me (yet). I love you all, but I’m also not going to test-run it to see what happens. Instead, I did some research to try and help those who find themselves in this situation.

I got the answer you all love to hear… it depends.

First, if you miss your connecting flight because your first flight was delayed, just like every other airline, Spirit will try to get you out on the next available flight.

No airline has to let you fly stand-by if you miss your flight. An unwritten rule among the airlines is if you miss your flight and are at the airport within two hours of your missed flight time, they will try to put you on stand-by for another flight.

Even if you know you’re not going to make your flight, still try to get to the airport as quickly as possible. You could get lucky and your flight could be delayed and you can still make it. If you definitely miss your flight, the best thing to do is talk to a desk or gate agent to see if you can fly stand-by on the next available flight.

If you are in the latter situation here are some things to keep in mind:

1) Try to get to the gate anyways. You have a better chance of a gate agent being able to work with you (especially if it’s obvious you just missed your flight) than waiting to speak to a desk agent or calling someone on the phone.

2) Be nice. Seriously, people who work for the airlines have people yelling at them and blaming them for their problems all day. I would even wager Spirit has more than their fair share of irate passengers. They are people trying to do their job and make a living. They are not trying to make your life harder. No airline has to let people fly stand-by if they miss a flight. It’s a courtesy most extend because they know sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Being nice might be the difference between a gate agent who goes above and beyond to help you vs someone who tells you sorry, you’re out of luck. Keep in mind, you might still have to pay a change fee if you get put on stand-by, but most of the time this will be cheaper than purchasing a new last-minute ticket.

3) If you are way beyond the 2-hour point of missing your flight (e.g. you thought you were flying out the next day) it’s likely you will have to purchase a new ticket. I would look online at other airlines and travel sites (Priceline, Orbitz, etc) to see if there’s something cheaper on another airline.

4) If you miss the first leg of your trip and get on another flight, double-check and make sure the airline doesn’t cancel your return flight. Sometimes the system will automatically cancel you if you didn’t make your initial flight.

Everyone hopes they don’t end up in this situation. But if you do, I hope this helps some.


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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. susi

    February 9, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Love that you highlight how important it is to be nice to the gate agents. People often forget they are dealing with humans.

    • Evangeline

      October 22, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      I had a friend who worked as a travel agent, she told me that a client of hers told of one time he was behind a pax who was abusive towards the airline employee because she didn’t get the seat she wanted. When he came up, agent sighed, and said, “Sir, what seat do you want?” He replied, “After what you’ve been through, put me anywhere you want!” and she put him in first class-it may not be so easy now with the advent of all the frequent flier clubs, but as she says, it doesn’t hurt but only help to be nice.

    • Rick

      September 24, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Dealing with Spirit employees is like dealing with the old ladies at my local DMV, and the irritable old women at our HOA. Never, Never again! We flew on a recommendation, and now it’s my turn to NOT recommend Spirit on every social platform media afforded to me! Not that 1 person is going to hurt Spirit airlines, but we fly about 20-15 times a year, and I will guarantee Spirit will not see another penny from my family!

      • mace

        July 11, 2018 at 3:13 pm

        im 1000% with you on that…

  2. Jose

    February 9, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    A couple of months ago missed my flight to SJO by 15 minutes, arrived to the gate at FLL and the gate agent was very helpful, booked me without questions (or charges) to the next flight the next day! So YMMV…

  3. Steve

    February 9, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    If you miss your flight on Spirit, they do the unthinkable, they give you Delta Skymiles

  4. Bob

    February 9, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Q: What happens if you miss your flight on Spirit?
    A: You count your blessings 🙂

  5. Patricia Driscoll

    March 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    What is the cost of changing your flight with Spirit?

    • expert

      September 9, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      it’s a $110 change fee!

  6. Matt

    June 23, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Point #4 is important! I once purposely skipped a Spirit flight because plans changed and I needed to drive from Chicago to New York rather than fly. I fully expected to fly back to ORD, but was surprised to find out that the system auto-cancelled my return flight. I later discovered that if I’d gone online and cancelled the initial flight, they would have kept the return flight intact.

  7. Taylor

    October 3, 2015 at 12:14 am

    So if I cancel my initial flight it won’t cancel my return flight? And also if I hit cancel reservation does it automatically cancel it or do I have to click like yes I’m sure or something?

  8. Beverly

    October 28, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I remember my bf was unable to get a flight out of Miami with Spirit after missing his flight due to delays from his previous international flight. It was the most frustrating experience for us, to top it off the lady said no more flights for another 48 hours. Needless to say we ended up buying another ticket from a different airline flying out of MIA to ATL that same day. Never again.

  9. peter

    January 2, 2016 at 2:57 am

    We have a situation where we have 2 flights on American, a week apart, one from city A to city B, the other from city B to city C. We would prefer now to drive from A to B, but American told us that if we cancel or miss that flight, we would either face a $230/person fee or have the second flight cancelled. Any suggestions?

    • Tiff

      January 20, 2016 at 5:38 am

      Unfortunately the best thing you can do is talk to someone and beg your case and see if they can do anything for you. No guarantees though. :-/

  10. Josh

    January 31, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    I would like to point out that Spirit’s computer will very well cancel your return flight, THE DAY OF return, if you miss your original flight. I arrived at the airport a day early to catch an earlier return but it was booked. Even though the agent reprinted my original itinerary yesterday, when I arrived today, my return flight was completely cancelled out of the system. At first the agent was telling me I’d have to purchase another ticket. I was like no, this isn’t my mistake, I told you guys yesterday I took an earlier flight and NO one told me the system would cancel, (because really no one knew). They acted like I, the customer should know, so I have been looking it up on Spirit’s website, and can find nothing 😀 , figured I’d let you guys know and maybe make a confirmed edit. They re-instated my flight free of charge since there were extra seats.. I stayed polite but firm.

  11. Allison

    June 23, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    We missed our return flight from Myrtle Beach to Dallas airport, TSA line was an hour and a half wait. We, along with 20 other people, missed our flight, they rescheduled us all with other flights. Although the next flight to get there us there same day got cancelled and we had to wait till the next day. Spirits airlines usually works with you if you’re nice to them.

  12. Ann

    June 23, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    I have a situation, I booked a flight that cost $70 that I can’t make, they want $90 fee to cancel, if I just not show up for the flight, will I be charged a fee? I called and got the runaround, never answered my question.

  13. Shawn

    August 26, 2017 at 9:02 am

    I bought a round trip ticket and missed my first flight. It was the last flight for the night and everyone at the gate including attendents were gone. I left and came back in the morning and explained what happened. They put me on the next available flight,no fees, no problem.

  14. Rick

    September 24, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Well this rule doesn’t apply with Spirit Airlines. We arrived at 5:25 for a 5:56 pm flight to Atlanta. We left our home at 1:30 for the normally 2 hour drive to BWI (Baltimore). After hitting not 1 but 2 wrecks, one in which they had 3 of 4 lanes closed on a major interstate. We sat in the first wreck for over an hour without moving. Story made short, I knew we would miss the flight but because I knew of this rule we continued on to the airport. Once arriving, we were basically told sorry about your luck, charged $99 for missing out flight then another $50 for changing the ticket. Not to mention having to spend over $200 for a hotel for the night because the next flight to Atlanta left the next morning at 5:52 am. Thought we’d give this airline a chance, on a recommendation but never again.. Really bad experience, very unfriendly, and to top it all off when we did arrive in Atlanta at 7:38 am, we were still sitting on the runway at 8:40, and no one ever said why… I hate when paying customers are treated like crap, and I will advise everyone not to waste their time with this company. P.S. Just noticed on their website, it said we arrived at 8:41… Totally untrue!

  15. Patrick Wright

    October 17, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Spirit airline is total scam. If you miss your flight within a 2 hr limit you can get another flight, but not with spirit! Spirit charged after missing the flight by 30 minutes because of traffic. And charged twice for luggage. And had to wait from Wednesday afternoon until thursday morning to get a flight from Orlando to Baltimore. Ridiculous! Spirit needs some customer service training.

  16. Hiwot

    October 9, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Spirit airline is total scam. If you miss your flight within a 2 hr limit you can get another flight, but not with spirit! Spirit charged after missing the flight by 30 minutes because of traffic. And charged twice for luggage. And had to wait from Wednesday afternoon until thursday morning to get a flight from Atlanta to Baltimore. Ridiculous! Spirit needs some customer service training. I asked the manager for some help because I was pregnant and I have 4 years old baby girl with me rush me to get in , but the manager was so rude and disrespectful to me. Spirit needs help!!

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