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Old 01-30-2018, 10:16 AM
629 posts, read 371,369 times
Reputation: 493


Has anyone flown Spirit Airlines lately? I was checking rates for flights for Atlanta to San Juan Puerto Rico on Google and their ad came up. The rates are at least half of Delta.

I'm not picky on flying. I usually fly Southwest. Is Spirit like Southwest?
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:25 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,680 posts, read 16,101,231 times
Reputation: 7700
Worse than Southwest in terms of seating space, and they add in all kinds of fees for everything, unlike Southwest's all-in pricing. Also does not have a great customer service reputation- their CEO likes it when, as he says, people 'hate fly' with his airline.

The people I know that like them are there because their Big Front Seat rows, which are a vague business class alternative, are generally quite comfortable and cheaper than the legacy airlines' domestic or first class options.
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:54 AM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
22,558 posts, read 39,944,045 times
Reputation: 23693
Yes. 'hate fly' is digestible for the occasional $19.90 fare. But miserable experience, so don't bring bags. I use them for day trips only. Or wear 3 sets of clothes. That can become a security issue.

You can easily spot Spirit Flight Attendants. They are seated in exit rows and wearing the parachutes.
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Old 01-30-2018, 12:49 PM
9,426 posts, read 7,083,794 times
Reputation: 12192
I have no experience flying with them, but.. I read through Elliott.com which is a consumer advocacy site that tends to focus on travel and Spirit is one of the most complained about airlines. From charging you for everything under the sun to stranding people in airports.. Lots of bad stories about them.

My opinion, unless I'm saving a serious amount of money.. I'd fly elsewhere.
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Old 01-30-2018, 02:30 PM
3,086 posts, read 820,707 times
Reputation: 1734
We just returned from Nicaragua connecting through Fort Lauderdale on Spirit. First time using that airline. It was fine - more than fine. And we saved a bunch of money. Planes left on time with courteous, helpful personnel. But as for most things, upfront research may lead to better results.

Many of the complaints about Spirit have to do with their pricing structure. Whether it "pays" to use Spirit for a particular routing should be figured out only after a dummy booking. Also, read the fine print on baggage sizing then follow it - meticulously.

A more serious consideration is that Spirit does not interline and with fewer flights any delays have the potential of being a hassle - a real hassle. Too, Spirit does not take responsibility for hotels, meals etc. for delays. Again, it's all in the fine print.

We did this:

1. Possible delayed or cancelled flights. Prepared by booking backup flights on Southwest (for the domestic connecting segments, using points with no penalty for our cancellations). We had a tight connection returning thru Fort Lauderdale and with the next flight to our "home" airport about 9 hours later (assuming there were seats) that was a no-brainer. After an all night flight, I didn't want to risk that kind of delay and was willing to "potentially" pay for it. Not needed. Here, Southwest flights can be cancelled up to 10 minutes prior to departure.

2. Trip insurance for any issue with the international flight segment. Again, this was not needed.

3. There *were* long lines for check-in on departure. We arrived at the airport within the suggested window and had no problem.

4. We were unable to preprint boarding passes ahead of time (our issue) but there was no fee to use the airport kiosks (within time window).

5. We had one personal item that just fit within the maximum dimensions. I pre-measured at home. But it *was* a roller-bag where the rigid handle ended up protruding a fraction of an inch from the sample bag bin. The check-in counter worker said I'd be fine if I did NOT roll it onto the plane - for that was the tip-off. I converted it into a backpack and had no problem coming or going. Still, I saw one woman pulled aside for a roller bag that sure didn't look any larger than mine. This is a $100 mistake that you do not want to make.

The main issue that we encountered was that there were several simultaneous incoming international flights at Terminal 4 in Fort Lauderdale at 5 am in the morning. I'm assuming here that Spirit flies off-peak to reduce costs and that most (all ?) of these flights were Spirit's? This led to 2 to 3 hour long back-ups at Immigration and Customs.

Here, if you don't have Global Entry or TSA pre-check be SURE to download the new Customs app that should shorten your wait times considerably. Also, checking a bag where you have to wait for it to be off-loaded under this scenario is a major mistake if you do not have about 3 hours between connections.

We have Global Entry etc. and did not have to wait for luggage and so made our 1 hour and 10 minute connection with lots of time to spare. (No airline seems to do much here other than follow "legal" connections times which depending on specific circumstances can be woefully inadequate.)

I'd fly Spirit again. Since our flight segments were relatively short we didn't bother with the "big seats" but that would also be a big benefit for a long flight.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:22 PM
708 posts, read 777,165 times
Reputation: 1753
Southwest gets rave reviews. Spirit does not.

I’ve never flown Spirit, but I’ve heard far too many horror stories from people who have. Plus the news reports of cancelled flights, lost luggage, and stranded passengers are enough to keep me away even when they are the cheapest option. I’ll gladly pay the difference for a better experience. It’s true that no carrier is perfect, but with flying Spirit the odds for a poor experience increase dramatically.

I know one person who swears by it. If you carry-on and aren’t traveling too far or for a long period of time, he thinks it’s the best option. He usually takes a 2-hour domestic flight with them for a weekend trip to see friends.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:03 AM
629 posts, read 371,369 times
Reputation: 493
Thanks everyone for the comments.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:07 AM
629 posts, read 371,369 times
Reputation: 493
Originally Posted by EveryLady View Post
Southwest flights can be cancelled up to 10 minutes prior to departure.
I've got to admit that I didn't know you could cancel a flight on Southwest 10 minutes before departure. Thanks for mentioning this.
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Old 01-31-2018, 01:26 PM
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,800 posts, read 17,713,305 times
Reputation: 9029
I've only flown Spirit from Minneapolis to Chicago, the leg room was noticeably pretty bad (i'm 6 feet tall) however if there was a good deal i could handle a flight from Atlanta to San Juan.
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Old 01-31-2018, 06:54 PM
12,299 posts, read 15,194,052 times
Reputation: 8108
Tolerable. I brought a backpack, which fit under the seat. Only an hour flight. Paid for coffee.
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