Spirit versus Spirit
Like most, comfort and service may be high on your must-have list.
As a travel agent, I get asked all the time, what airline do I prefer? Or even more so, what’s the cheapest airline? Personally, if I can have a smooth experience, getting me from point a to point b and it’s budget friendly.. It’s a Winner!
I’ve tried at least 6 different airlines, and can honestly say I haven’t had a bad experience on any airline. We do know that every airline has had it's bad press before. For this very reason, I decided to garner my own opinion and experience for myself. Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about Spirit Airlines: some good..some not so good. Yes, the legroom on the aircraft leave a lot to be desired, but I’m 5'2 and don't require much...the longest flight I've been on was 5 hours and...I made it!!
So let’s chat about why I’m really here.. Let’s talk about the absolute BEST thing Spirit has to offer… PRICE!! If you are looking to save some money, check out my first class tips on how to get the biggest savings with Spirit!
Before we get started here’s a quick disclaimer…. Purchasing tickets at the counter of low-cost carriers like Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier will be cheaper than purchasing the SAME EXACT ticket online. There are certain fees that are waived when you purchase at the counter versus online.
So are you ready to save? Let’s go!
Remember this important rule...Before making the trek to the airport you have to do a little homework.
As long as the airfare pricing is published on Spirit.com you can purchase at the counter.( As of today January 27 you can purchase a ticket for travel between now and September 8, 2020).
Select your Travel Dates & Prices:
Select your dates and head to Spirit.com.
Once there check your dates for costs.
For an example let's just say we were flying from BWI to LAX January 33rd to February 30th.(remember this is an example)
I am not a big fan of flying so I automatically choose the fastest flight (which may not be the cheapest flight).
In our example today there is a non stop, round trip flight for $300 leaving on the 33rd. Let’s go through the usual booking steps and make sure to add all costs to the ticket.
Choose a seat: You can actually save a few coins by letting Spirit randomly choose your seat for free. (I've lucked up and have gotten either an aisle or window seat..one time my husband and I got free upgrades to the big seats)
Add your bags: This pricing varies depending on the weather and how many days you’ll be traveling.
Keep in mind, the way you pack when traveling can affect your experience. If you travel with more than 2 or 3 bags, Spirit may not be the most cost-effective airline for you. They seemingly charge for every little thing but it's charges that other airlines also charge for but include in your overall price. So it's not truly "free".
During the summer I was able to use the free under the seat bag Spirit allows for a 4 day stay in Vegas. I am also team carry on, so that helps.
But let's assume you travel light ...This is where most people fall out of love with Spirit...baggage fees.
Spirit's size and weight limit may differ from what you are used to so please check here for the most current rates.
Adding seat cost and one checked bag to my pretend flight has raised the cost to $375. That's $375 for my flight, seats, one bag and fees.
Compare Airlines: Now, we take this info and compare it to my other favorite airline, Southwest, by entering the same details in the search option choosing the itinerary that closely resembles the one used on Spirit.com.
Even with the lure of two free checked bags I have found more often than not Southwest asking for hundreds of dollars more for the same itinerary as Spirit. In some cases, I could pay for 3 more bags and another seat and still had money left over.
Keep in mind we are trying to compare apple to apples...so if you have frequent flier miles or credits or a buddy pass you can use...use them.
Decision time: After your homework is complete and it's obvious that Spirit is the better option go with Spirit.
Now what is considered "better" is subjective...You like what you like and there has been the rare occasion where Spirit just isn't worth the savings (my rule of thumb is I have to save at least $100 or more to book with Spirit.)
Things are about to get exciting..at least for me it does!
We may be able to get the same flight for $.01. Yup you've read that right! Spirit Airlines has penny fares, but they can not be purchased online. They can only be bought at the Spirit Airline counter (for now).
I haven't found a rhyme or reason as to how they decide which fares will be a penny or when these fares occur, but they certainly exist. No need to ask the rep for them, as they are automatically calculated.
I've been fortunate enough to get non stop fares to New Orleans, Las Vegas and Orlando for a penny. Of course, Uncle Sam cares nothing about that and still requires his cut so each round trip ticket cost about $66 each which still isn't bad considering how much money you may save..
Head to the airport: But before you go consider:
Parking: Make sure to consider the cost of getting to the airport and airport parking. this may include gas,tolls and parking fees. Thankfully I only live 25 minutes away from my nearest airport..
DO NOT PARK CURBSIDE. Wait times vary and you may get ticketed or towed. I usually arrange a ride during non-peak hours during the week. A random Wednesday or Thursday at mid afternoon seems to have the shortest wait times.
Pay for bags & seats at the time of purchase: While I'm at the counter, I usually ask the rep if I can pay for my bags and seat at the time of purchase, saving me even more money.
Count your change!
In the event that I do not score a lucky penny fare I still have saved as much as $50-$70 per ticket versus paying more online. And when you compare your airport counter purchase to Southwest prices you are almost certain to save even more.
In my mock purchase, I saved enough money to pay for my bags and my seats, buy snacks and use those extra hundreds saved to buy another ticket and hotel stay.
Are you ready for a real life trial! Use my first class tips and let me know how it worked for you! If you don’t have time, I’m always here to help you navigate your booking! Let’s chat!