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I've Got Spirit....How 'Bout You?

If you know me, you know that I am a huge fan of Spirit Airlines. I mean, there is no other airline that can get me from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale or New York for under $100. Or to Los Angeles, direct, for under $200. And YES, before you ask, that includes baggage fees!

I have been flying Spirit for a couple of years now, and I swear I have heard every objection. So here are my responses to the most common complaints.

They have “hidden fees”: None of the fees are hidden. Just take the time to read the words on the screen instead of simply hitting next to breeze through to checkout. But, now that Spirit is required to include taxes and fees in the cost of the fare upfront, that should make some of ya’ll happy. Personally, I preferred viewing the fares without all the taxes/fees included and then viewing the total after all costs. But hey, that’s just me.

They charge for bags, even carry-on: Yes, they do. But in most cases, even after the cost of my bag, Spirit still comes in as the least expensive option. For instance, a recent ticket to NY cost me $96.11 total ($50.11 for the ticket and $46 baggage fee). And that was for a checked bag. The next lowest fare for that same weekend on a different carrier was close to $200. So technically, the other carrier’s “baggage fee” was even more.

It’s not comfortable: Neither is my trip to the dentist, but that doesn’t stop me from going. And when was the last time you were comfortable on a domestic flight in coach?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you will be comfortable (unless you are less than 5’ tall). But I am saying that for a 2 to 3 hour flight, it’s tolerable. And I’m usually on the first or last flight of the day. In other words, I’m sleep.

They charge for beverages: This one usually gets the blank stare. Seriously? Buy a can of Coke before you board the plane. On my flight home a few nights ago, I stopped by the restaurant near my gate and paid $.71 for a large cup of ice. I then filled said cup with water from the fountain. Problem solved.

I’m sure there are other complaints, or what I like to call “justifiable excuses to spend more money”, but if you are ready to give it a try, here are some additional tips and tricks:

Become a $9 Fare Club member: You will have access to even lower fares and you save on baggage fees.

Pay baggage fees at time of booking: The fees are cheaper if you pay the fee when you book your flight. For instance, the $46 I paid for my checked bag above would have been $36 if I had paid the baggage fee when I booked my airfare. Also, if you are traveling with someone, consider packing ONE large bag and split the checked baggage fee rather than both of you paying for carry-on bags.

Sign-up for email notices: You will receive notices of travel deals via email. Here is the trick – DO NOT HESITATE. If you can, check out the travel deal immediately. The lowest fares will go quickly.

Use Spirit Airlines as a Regional Carrier: Spirit may not fly everywhere you want to go, so use Spirit to get as close to your destination as possible. For instance, to get to Hawaii, I will book an inexpensive Spirit Airlines ticket to Los Angeles and then fly to Hawaii from there. Also, whenever I see a deal to Ft. Lauderdale, I jump on it since flying to the Caribbean is much cheaper when leaving from the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area.

Be Flexible: Spirit Airlines flies to destinations that may not be on your “to do” list, but if a great deal to a place you have never been shows up, consider making it a long weekend trip. Or, a great deal to a place you have been but would like to visit again. Why Not?

The choice is yours. I will say that Spirit Airlines may not be for everyone. But for me, they are always my first choice when looking for ways to save money while getting to my desired destination.

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