Sunday, January 28, 2018

The great, the ok and the dirty; How Spirit Airlines wrangles you back in.

Hi readers!

This week is about finding travels deals online through Spirit in a sort of pro/con list. I am not affiliated with Spirit Airlines in any way.
I'm a really thrifty shopper- I look for deals, I research competitive pricing, I look for the gold in all shopping situations (but not in a Hoarders/TLC show way). I like Spirit because if you're not too consumed with time spent at the airport it's a really great deal. Where else can you fly round trip to NYC non-stop for about $150? No place. That's where.
Everyone takes these photos, right?

The Good: I'm not always convinced of Spirit being the best choice for all flights, but, sometimes a good deal is a good deal- or a great one! I found a one-way ticket to DC for $48 two weeks ago to visit a pal and I am kicking myself for not booking for a later date!- even though the trip back was more expensive at about $110... it was a 2 hour non-stop flight! WHAT was I thinking? Meanwhile American was around $325. See below for a more recent cost comparison.  If you're in it just for the fun of going someplace on the cheap and not SUPER worried about time restraints on your itinerary, I'd say at least check it out.  I find myself weekly now looking up prices of flights to random places I'd like to visit. Seriously, I've really fallen down the Spirit rabbit hole.
This is the cost if I left this week to DC from Detroit, round trip at about $250 per person. I did the same trip with American Airlines and you can see it's $100 more AND has a lengthy layover for no apparent reason. Hard to pass up.

OK: I've recently taken to Spirit's Free Spirit rewards program for frequent flyers. If I use Spirit any time soon it will be worth it. Anyhow, with this, of course, you earn sky miles for every flight, which, as you know, can be cashed in on the website for free airfare once you reach a high enough bracket of I believe 5,000 miles to equal one RT flight. But because I am a Free Spiriter I was also emailed about this annoyingly on-key survey program from Spirit called Miles For Thoughts. Instead of regular surveys all of the work from home and Penny Hoarder sites tell you about that can earn you a whopping 13 cents if you're lucky- Miles for Thoughts asks the same annoyingly invasive qualifying questions and "getting to know you" stuff  time after time and you're lucky to get a survey at all sometimes- but when you DO you get miles! I landed my first survey, and despite my binge watching Gilmore Girls for the millionth time, I earned 400 miles in what I imagine would have been six minutes if I were actually paying attention. Pretty easy stuff about banking and Merrill Lynch. Also, some of the surveys remember your answers so you mercifully don't have to redo everything every time. So, if you'd rather earn sky miles like me instead of spending all night trying to earn pennies at a time, I'd look into Miles for Thoughts. You DO, however, need to be on Free Spirit in order to get into Miles for Thoughts- those two accounts merge together into one MEGA spirit account. Thrifty tip: They're both FREE!
I've also been thinking about their Spirit World Mastercard credit card through Bank of America. Not that I need another card, but my credit is GOOD and you earn 15,000 miles from it (which is up to three RT flights not including taxes and fees blah blah) when you book your first ticket plus double cash back if you use it to book flights otherwise through spirit. Maybe I'm a sucker for thinking that's a good idea, but you can always cancel a credit card, or leave it open but rarely used to help your credit score a tad. I'm still on the fence since opening this post on Friday. The restrictions for those miles are heavy, but unlike other credit cards, it doesn't say you need to spend this much money in this much time to qualify. It just says from your first purchase, which I can only assume is through Spirit. Still, though...

You can also join their $9 fare club, which is a monthly fee of, you guessed it, $9, but lets you take better advantage of offers such as one way flights for $25 instead of $50+ and half off baggage check-ins. It would be worth it if you used Spirit a few times a year, I think. $9 a month is like, one small Starbucks coffee with no frills and only one sugar (but not the natural raw kind or Splenda- those are fancy extras).

Some tips if you choose to fly Spirit for the first time:
1. There are checked bag fees. You ticket is for you and a personal item only. All other bags are subject to extra fees, which I would recommend purchasing ahead of your flight.  They do check. 
2. Spirit does not fly to every American airport. It does take you to some Central and South American airports for a deal, don't expect to go to a luxury vacation spot like Hawaii on Spirit for cheap. 
3. You have to pay for everything in flight. Bring a book and a snack.


The Dirty:
The seats are smaller. There's barely any legroom. Don't be tall. Or have expectations of being comfortable if you are tall. (I'm not tall)
Spirit is rumored to be low fares because it's low quality. I get it. I do. It's hit or miss. On my way to San Diego there was no issue flying. Same with Orlando. Everything was on time, everyone was pleasant, my Dr. Pepper exploded a little. 
BUT on my way to Puerto Rico the way out was delayed a few minutes. No big deal. Got there fine. The way back, however, felt like as close as you can emotionally get to not knowing where your kids are at night while still being safe and not worried about anyone's death. We got to the airport at 10am for a 12:30 flight. Flight delayed. Flight delayed. Still, more delays. At 3ish or after we found out it's because there was a dent in the plane that they were fixing. What? A dent? So, HOURS later we finally boarded the place- at almost 6pm. So we board and sit in waiting for another half hour because some assholes refuse to make room in the overhead compartment for other paying customers. Dicks. Then we get to Florida and have to fly around a storm. It was completely bad ass and I have lightning videos somewhere around here. It did delay us further but not anyone's fault there. Totally dope. BUT when we finally get to Detroit Metro it's raining. It takes LEGIT 55 minutes to line the plane up with the gate so that we can exit. They. Could. Not. Line. It. Up. THEN they (or whatever powers that be) decided that since it thundered once while we landed an hour ago that it was unsafe conditions to unpack the luggage from the compartments under us and send it to the baggage claims. Only they didn't tell us that as we exited the plane. We had to find out another hour later after we all swore we didn't need our bags anymore. Then about 45 minutes after THAT bags started coming down one at a time. So, long story medium, our trip home took us from landing just after 5:40pm at DTW to finally retrieving our luggage well after 1 or 2am. I was exhausted. I don't know who is fully to blame for everything that happened after our arrival to DTW, but since we were there with Spirit airlines, I guess it's them. I don't know even if that can be helped or what airport policy is there, but after a shite day waiting for our flight and then waiting to get off of our flight, let's just say there was no cherry on top. Best bet is to travel lightly. This was a BAD experience, but probably not common.


So not every trip is the same, like all flights. If you're willing to travel light and have no real concept of time, I recommend these deals. It's quite worth it if you're saving half or more of what you'd spend on American or Frontier or something to get to the exact same place. I like Spirit because I get so excited at the thought of going somewhere more on the cheap than normal, and actually going sooner rather than later while still having pocket money. A lot of time people don't travel when they want to because of money, right? If money is your excuse to not go then you're traveling all wrong. Hopefully I could shed some light on your plans and make your wallet hurt a little less with some of these tips. 

I'd love to hear some other stories about flight deals. Next story I will go into my favorite app, Hopper, among a few other travel apps. Stay tuned and be kind to one another!

51 comments:

  1. I did not know that exists. Love the Spirit. I make alot of trips and the earning of sky miles will be useful.

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    1. It is definitely worth looking into. Sometimes the prices are MUCH lower but the flights are quicker, as well, as you saw above! I've taken three trips with them so far with only one bad experience on the way home, and I think that was rare.

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  2. I have been traveling quite often and I was not aware of these tips, thanks for sharing.

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  3. Vidoes of a lightening storm sounds epic! I think with any flight is gonna be hit or miss if this go right and that's not always the companies fault. However getting great deals on flights is awesome and I am definitely checking out Free Spirit

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  4. unfortunately I don't get to travel much! but thanks to reading this I've learned a thing or two on how Spirit has great deals to save us some money (which I'm always a fan of)... love the tips you've kindly shared with your readers ; ) thanks!

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    1. Thank you, stick around for more tips and ideas!

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  5. I have never flown with Spirit but I can tell from your article that I will probably only use them for short flights. For one, I am tall and two, I dont love flying so I would be uncomfortable!

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    1. My husband is 6 foot and he is ok to fly Spirit. I don't think, storm aside, that i have ever had a flight longer than 5 hours. So, not the worst!

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  6. I am hoping to travel more in the next year and am totally going to check out Spirit more. I flew them once and it was not bad. I much rather spend more money on a hotel than a flight too! :-)

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    1. And food! I love trying the local desserts!

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  7. Huh! I havent ever heard of them! I kinda like the riskiness, lol! Also, LOL at "dont be tall". Im tall! May be fine for short flights though!

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    1. My hubby is 6' and he is typically fine. It's not terrible, just give a good stretch!

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  8. This is really interesting to read! I just flew Spirit for the first time last month and had a great experience despite the horror stories I've heard. Like you said, if you've got time and flexibility, then the risk is probably worth it!

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    1. Cheers! Yes, it's worth the deal to me, especially the direct flights.

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  9. I love finding new ways to save a buck. Spirit's Free Spirit rewards program for frequent flyers sounds like a great program.

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  10. Spirit has literally changed our lives since the day we came across.Me and my husband worked in different cities and it was the best way to see each other every 15 days.

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    1. that's great! Yeah, now that I know about the timing issues sometimes with taking off on time, i don't even worry about it. It's worth the great deals!

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  11. I have not flown with Spirit, but they sound like Ryanair in Europe. Budget airlines are good to get you from A To B, but that is about it!

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  12. Thanks for you concrete information. I can compare this to Ryanair (local European Airline) which is also a budget one as Lucy Williams said. The problem with them is that all other extra features like seats or baggages or even being on fast lines can cost from 5 euros and above what a scam right? I mean how can a budget airline be on a budget if it's all about paying extras. That's hilarious!

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  13. I know bags are extra with spirit but line jumping is for $9 fare club members as well as premium seats. Thats why i think theyre good for just a few hours worth.

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  14. I'm all for saving money! Especially on flights. Is prefer to spend it on a nice hotel and fun activities.

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  15. Examining the cons in addition to the pros of these bargain airlines is definitely helpful... I often say "what? it's cheaper!" and sometimes regret it later!

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    1. I absolutely get that. To me, if it's a savings of $20 or $50 and then turns out to be a crappy flight then I'm super bitter about it. But when it's a matter of saving over $100 and one thing goes wrong or I feel a little cramped I feel it still worth the savings. Because it all does add up and saving that extra cash means doing something cooler

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  16. I don't think I've heard of Spirit. The prices sound very reasonable and having a reward program is awesome.

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    1. It's mostly North American but travels to south, central and islands. Where are you from? Worth looking into if it would suit you!

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  17. I didn't realize Sprint had an airline. I may have to look into them in the future for quick flights when I want to get out of town for a day or two, but be able to stick to my budget.

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    1. Spirit is def good for that! I flew detroit to san Diego for half price! Do you fly often?

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  18. When it comes to vacation I spend all my savings. But, I was not aware of this. Thank you. Now it will help me to save a little on tickets and spend more on foods. :)

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    1. I love trying all the food! any suggestions?

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  19. Thanks for this blog post. I would like to research more when I am traveling aboard. This blog would certainly help.

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    1. thank you for saying! Do you travel often?

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  20. Thanks for your article. Reminds me of one of the airlines here in the Philippines. Let's just hope that you don't fly human and land as Spirit in that airlines.

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  21. I have not used the service of this airline yet but certainly now I will do so after reading your positive remarks. Its always good to save on airline fare.

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  22. I like spirit though I do hate all the nickel and diming they do with all the fees. If you really dont care and are free you can lessen the fees by not choosing a seat. But the carry on bag fee drives me crazy! Otherwise, I agree I do love their prices and I am the kind of guy who would save a dollar to sit in the back with the chickens

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  23. I agree with this! I've traveled with Spirit going to Vegas (one hour flight) with no problem, but flying to Cancun was so much more of a pain with multiple issues too

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  24. I flew spirit airlines once and swore I'd never do it again. The flights were cheaper but then you lost your savings because they charge to bring a carry-on. Yea, a carry-on! You can only bring a personal handbag type item for free and they charge for carry-ons. We also had a major delay because our flight was running like 5 minutes behind and then got bumped out of the queue and had to wait over an hour while we were already seated in the plane for takeoff.

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    1. To be fair, getting bumped happens in ALL airlines sometimes. We've all had to wait extra on flights. On British Airways my hysband I got taken OFF of a flight list on our layover home from Holland and had to wait for a new connection hours later. Wasn't their fault. Poo happens. And a carry on is about $22, which was mentioned in my post. You're allowed a personal item free so just pack accordingly, like put your laptop or camera in a backpack with clothes or whatever you need with you. It's all listed in their guidelines online. And in my post.

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  25. I don't fly often, so this is great info to know! I'll definitely keep Spirit in mind next time I'm looking for a flight that doesn't cost more than my entire vacation. :-)

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    1. Cheers! It's worth a look if you're hoping to spend more money in the trip instead of on it!

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  26. Thanks for sharing the good, bad and ugly! It's something I need to look into next time I travel!

    April | www.thebluehydrangeas.com

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  27. I do travel a lot but not wasn't aware of these tips. This is a great piece of information.

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  28. Spirit has some great deals! Unfortunately they do not fly out of my local airport, so I always use Southwest.
    www.amandasok.com

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  29. A trip to NYC non-stop for about $150? This sounds amazing! I definitely need to check Spirit out, thank you.

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  30. Of all the airlines, we mostly fly Spirit bcaz it is almost always cheaper and plus we like to travel light. But there I times I wish I could check a bag and that is a no no with spirit!

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  31. Spirit does have some pretty good deals out there. I know if you need a good deal, you probably won't get any better. I guess it really depends on what your needs are before you get on a flight that should be the greatest consideration.

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  32. Spirit doesn't fly out of our airport sadly, but wow that's a good deal!

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  33. Haha, oh Spirit! I don't love it, but you really just can't pass up those great deals!

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