Since the beginning of 2016, I'd been on Google Flights daily looking at the prices for trips to Phoenix, AZ. It was one of the many places I really wanted to visit this year, so I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss out on any flight deals. Low & behold, I was online searching one day and found flights starting at $79 roundtrip. At this point, I just knew I was going. What could stop me? I'd never purchased a flight ticket for lower than $150, let alone $79. I selected this price option and realized that this flight would be with Spirit Airlines. This made me hesitate a bit. Honestly, I'd heard plenty of terrible things about Spirit. At the end of the day, I was willing to give it a try for $79. I hadn't heard of any plane crashes, so at the least I knew I'd most likely make it to my destination alive. Ha!
Before I booked my flight, I read several reviews and headed to Spirit's website to read the fine print. If you don't know much about Spirit, these flights can appear to be much lower in cost due to add-on services. The flight is priced and then you have the option to add-on services that other airlines may include in the original ticket price such as carry-on bags, checked bags, seat selections, water, etc. While the flight alone may be cheaper, you may end up paying the same amount or more after you have purchased the necessary add-ons.
This Guide will tell you everything you need to know about their 'Bare Fare'.
How you can avoid additional costs:
Its honestly that simple. Before you finalize your flight options, Spirit's website tells you up front that each service will cost you extra if you choose to add it on in the airport instead of online. THE WEBSITE TELLS YOU THIS UPFRONT. They will charge you just as they promised. Know exactly what you're purchasing or not purchasing when you buy your tickets online.
Purchase Everything Online
As stated above, If you read the pop-ups on the website, you will know that you need to choose all of your add-on's online to avoid extra costs. If you choose to pay for your checked bag at the airport instead of paying for it when you purchase the ticket online, you will pay an additional cost. Know what you'll need when you purchase your ticket to avoid paying those fees.
Know what you WON'T be Getting
You won't be getting a snack. I saw so many complaints about this before purchasing my ticket which was weird, because this didn't seem like a big deal at all to me. Buy your own snacks & water ahead of time to bring on the flight or eat in the airport. Problem solved! Also the seats don't recline. They are naturally a bit more reclined than your average airplanes but you cannot recline them any further. Bring a neck pillow so that you can at least rest your head comfortably. You won't be getting free water so you can either bring an empty water bottle & fill it up when you pass security or purchase a water before you get on your flight.
At the end of the day, you will get exactly what you pay for & nothing more.
Its best to know this ahead of time!
So when would I recommend flying Spirit?
Leisure Trips(incase of delays or cancellations)
Short Flight Times
Trips Where You don't Need Much Luggage(to avoid baggage costs)
Significant Price Differences
How did our flight go?
As I said, we didn't end up paying any additional fees. Our first flight was delayed by an hour and they didn't provide much information as to why it was delayed. Thankfully, we didn't have any obligations so this wasn't a huge deal. I've had terrible experiences with every other airline such as 4+ hour delays, lost luggage, horrible customer service, etc. so I can't say that this only happens with Spirit. Our second flight was on time and they were much better about communication on that flight. Overall, everything went as expected and I'd say the experience was totally worth what we paid. Especially since the price was $200+ less than any other comparable flight with a different airline.
If you can find comparable flights prices for other airlines(United, American, Delta, Southwest) that don't charge additional fees, then I would choose to fly with those. However, if you've added up your potential fees beforehand and Spirit's prices are still hundreds of dollars less, I'd say to give it a try. Be sure that to know exactly what to expect before booking.