Tips for Flying Spirit Airlines

Whenever I tell someone I'm flying on Spirit Airlines, I usually get this type of reaction...

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This is more than likely due to Spirit earning the highest complaint rate of 2015 among large U.S. airlines, according to the national Airline Quality Rating report. In my opinion, people complain too much. Don't get me wrong, some complaints are warranted; but what I've learned from traveling frequently is that no trip/vacation will play out perfect and you can choose to have a positive attitude while accepting the imperfections. If you can do this, I promise your trips/vacations will be much more enjoyable.     

As a frequent flyer on Spirit...yes I said frequent honest opinion is it's not that bad and sometimes is worth it. The more money I save, the more I'll be able to travel in my lifetime.

Spirit decided to make their own rules and not follow the norm. By doing this, they've been able to consistently publish lower fares than their competitors. I've seen a few times where the price is not significantly lower than another airline or maybe even higher than another airline. In those cases, I may choose the competitor. However, if the price is significantly lower, I almost always choose Spirit. I've learned their rules and figured out how to have a complaint free Spirit flight.

Rule #1 - Learn to pack light

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One complaint I consistently hear while traveling on Spirit is the surprise baggage fees. Technically it's not a surprise because they outline all baggage rules on their website. However, understandably most passengers are used to the "normal" baggage allowances from other airlines and assume it'll be the same with Spirit. The only bag Spirit allows for free is a personal item, around the size of a backpack or small duffel bag (16"x14"x12").  

Click here to price out how much it would cost for a carry-on or checked-in bag for your trip. Add this charge to the ticket price before purchasing so you'll know the exact cost, especially when comparing the cost to other airlines. I mostly take Spirit on short trips and I've learned how to pack light, so I avoid the baggage fees. Packing light is an art and takes some time to learn.  Click here to see some space saving tips.  There are also a bunch of videos on You Tube on how to pack light.

I personally use a small duffel bag, which I purchased on Amazon.  There are multiple bags to choose from that target Spirit Airlines customers.  Click here to see some options.

Rule #2 - Buy a $9 Fare Club Membership 

If you plan on flying with Spirit multiples times for the year, this can be a good investment. The cost is $59.95 for the first year and unless canceled will renew at $69.95 each year after that. Members will get access to rates that are discounted on average by $75 or more. If you're making a reservation with multiple passengers, only one person needs to be enrolled for everyone to benefit. Members also get access to discounted baggage fees.

Rule #3 - Bring your own entertainment 

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There's no in-flight entertainment on Spirit; no TVs and no magazines. Before leaving home, make sure to fill your mobile device with things to keep entertained. I suggest investing in a small tablet or netbook.  You don't want anything that takes up too much space and you may not want to drain the battery on your cell phone. Make sure all your devices are fully charged as there is no charging outlet.

Rule #4 - Pack a snack or pay

There are no free snacks or beverages on Spirit.  Everything, including water, is extra. This is also how they keep the prices of the tickets down. If you think you'll feel like snacking or drinking in-flight, either plan ahead to bring something or be prepared to pay. Click here to see a list of food/drinks that are offered on board and the prices.

Rule #5 - Don't Pre-select a seat

Pre-selecting seats will cost you. If you skip this charge, a seat will be assigned to you upon check in. If there's absolutely no way you'll take a chance with getting a middle seat, then go ahead and pay for a seat; but if you chose Spirit based on price over another airline, then keep this addition to the price in mind. Many times if I end up in a middle seat, I've been able to get the gate agent to switch the seat for free. If the flight is full then I'm out of luck, but I'm OK in the middle seat if need be.

Rule #6 - Try to avoid a red-eye flight

If possible, try to avoid a red-eye flight, unless you can sleep sitting straight up. The seats on Spirit do not recline. I remember coming back from Las Vegas on a red-eye and it was the most uncomfortable flight I've been on. Since then, I've decided against red-eye flights on Spirit if more than 2 -3 hours long. 

By Tpdwkouaa - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Hopefully these tips will help you avoid unwanted surprises when flying with Spirit. If you can play by their rules, you'll benefit from big savings; especially if traveling often. One last rule - If you're like me who likes to build miles to pay for flights, keep in mind that Spirit's frequent flyer miles expire if there's no activity for three months. Click here to see how you can keep your miles active.

Have a safe flight!


  1. Great tips khrisy....spirits always gets me with those prices but #1 tip is the best pack light and make it work for you

    1. Thanks for reading! Yes packing light is key with Spirit for sure.


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