Last Updated on February 23, 2023
The current fleet size of Spirit Airlines is almost 200 and the airline flies to over 80 destinations across North and South America.
The airline was first in 1983 as Charter Airlines – at a time when the company only had a fleet of DC-9 and MD-80 aircrafts. Today, Spirit Airlines has an all Airbus A320 and Airbus A320-neo family fleet.
Currently headquartered in Miramar, Florida, Spirit Airlines has now been acquired by JetBlu as of July 2022 – a deal that would bump up this airline to fifth place from eight in terms of the largest passenger carrier in the United States.
For a reliable, timely, and inexpensive airline service in the Americas, Spirit is a good option to consider.
Their Savers Club Perks are quite catchy and are a great way to save money on air travel. However, Spirit Airline’s extra baggage fees and uncomfortable in-flight seating take away a few brownie points from the otherwise on-point service.
So the question arises, is Spirit Airlines good and actually worth booking? Here are fourteen things to know about the pros and cons of Spirit Airlines:
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Table of Contents
Slow Service And Long Check-In Lines
No Extra Service With Seat Upgrades
Not The Comfiest Airline Seats
Limited Free Cancellations/Rescheduling Options
Photo (c) Wikimedia
Is Spirit Airlines Good – Pros
1. Ultra-Low Cost Airline
This is perhaps Spirit Airline’s most obvious advantage – its ultra-low fares across North and South America.
The airline’s entire business model is all about “More Go” which makes it possible for more people to travel more frequently in the US, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
On average, the most basic fares on Spirit Airlines start at 54 USD one way. However, their lowest price offerings start at 27 USD one way for certain routes.
This fare is usually inclusive of one standard seat and one personal carry-on item.
Since they do not include refreshments, WiFi, check-in luggage, etc in their base fare, it makes for a very affordable airline for the “no frills” passenger.
For those who want some more facilities in their ticket, there are several upgradation options to choose from.
2. Spirit Savers Club Perks
For frequent fliers, the Spirit Savers Club is a great way to max out the already low fares that Spirit Airlines is known for.
Starting at 69.95 USD/ month (with better deals for longer memberships), the Spirit Savers Club lets you in on exclusive perks that are not available otherwise.
Some of these perks include:
- 30% discount on fares for students with the “Student Beans” program. This discount is also applicable for up to 8 additional persons travelling with the student.
- Up to 50% discount on the check in and additional carry on bags.
- Additional discounts on seat selection including Big Front Seats with extra legroom space and exit row seats.
- Discounts on ticket upgrades including Shortcut Security, Shortcut Boarding and flexible tickets.
Additionally, their “Free Spirit” Loyalty Program with two membership tiers: Gold and Silver.
This program allows fliers to earn points on every dollar spent and gives exclusive offers with their partner brands including hotels, food and beverage, car rental, and lifestyle brands.
3. In The Top 10 Of WSJ Best US Airlines
Each year, the Wall Street Journal comes out with a list of the 10 best and worst airlines in the United States.
Spiti Airlines has been ranked in the top 10 best US airlines according to the WSJ since 2015.
This annual airline ranking is based on a number of factors including delays, cancelled flights, tarmac delays, on time arrivals, customer complaints, baggage handling and more – with Spirit Airlines positively delivering year after year.
4. Seat Selection Options (At A Small Added Cost)
Though free seat selection is not included in the base price of Spirit Airlines tickets, fliers have the option to choose their preferred window or aisle (or maybe even middle?) at a small added cost.
Seat assignment costs start at 5 USD but vary depending on the route.
Fliers can also opt for exit row seats or Big Front seats with extra legroom. Big Front seats usually start at 12 USD.
5. Good Safety Ratings
In 2018, Spirit Airlines was the only North American airline to feature in the list of the 10 safest airlines in the world – and with good reason.
In its over 30 years of service, Spirit Airlines has not had any major accidents.
The only newsworthy accident happened in 2022 when the left main landing gear wheels of Flight 383 from Tampa, Florida suffered a fire during landing at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia.
All passengers were able to safely disembark and not a single injury was reported.
The aircraft was then taken out of service for.
6. No Major Delays
Spirit Airlines takes pride in itself for having no major delays across almost all routes it flies.
In fact, over the years, Spirit has actively improved its on-time arrival performance.
In 2015, it ranked 13 with only 67% of flights landing on time according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
In 2016, Spirit bumped up to number 5.
And by 2017, Spirit was ranking second in the USA with 90% on-time arrivals, just behind Delta Airlines and way ahead of American and United Airlines.
Is Spirit Airlines Good? – Neutral
7. Bundle It Combo
The Bundle It Combo is Spirit Airlines’ way of purchasing most of their À La Smarte items.
These include a check in bag, a carry on bag, seat selection including exit row seats but now the Big Front seats with extra legroom space, Shortcut Boarding and the Flight Flex which allows fliers to one flight modification up to 24 hours before departure.
Super Savers Club members get even cheaper deals with the Bundle It Combo.
While this can often be a good deal, it may not always turn out to be cheaper than buying all these items separately.
The availability of the Bundle It Combo also varies from route to route.
Is Spirit Airlines Good? – Cons
8. Slow Service + Long Check In Lines
Despite its lucratively low fares, Spirit is notorious for its slow customer service.
In 2013, Skytrax downgraded Spirit Airlines to be the only two star passenger carrier in the USA.
On top of that, Spirit is also known to have earned a record fine for violating customer protection policies.
Apart from that, the bag drop lines at most airports for Spirit are nightmarishly long.
Often people have reported about 75 to 100 people in line at a time, with the line moving at a rather slow speed.
There are options to skip the check in line – but these often cost as much as 55 USD – usually a lot more than the initial price of the ticket!
9. Extra Baggage Fees
In 2010, Spirit was the first American airline to charge an extra for carry on bags.
The CEO of Spirit Airlines has maintained that Spirit is a “no frills” airline and chagrin extra for carry on bags is one of their ways to ensure their ultra low cost airline status remains intact.
In fact, one must also pay extra for checked in luggage (while navigating through their long, slow bag drop lines).
The cost for carry on bags starts from 30 USD and check in bags start at 55 USD – but can increase up to 45% if you don’t pay this at the time of booking your ticket and pay at the airport instead.
Spirit offers one free “personal item” per person with a maximum dimension of 16 x 14 x 12 inches – generally the size of a handbag or a small backpack/ laptop bag.
10. No Extra Service with Seat Upgrades
As mentioned before, Spirit’s way of keeping the base fares to a bare minimum is to offer added “a la carte” service at an extra cost.
And while paying for a seat upgrade, fliers would usually expect some service upgrades along with that.
If you are one of those, prepare to be disappointed because a seat upgradation comes with just that – a seat upgradation and nothing else.
11. Food And Beverages Cost Extra
Another way Spirit claims to keep its fares low is by not serving complimentary meals on board.
Any snacks, meals or beverages asked for cost extra – even water.
So if you find yourself thirsty aboard Spirit Airlines, expect to pay 3 USD for a bottle of water – and a lot more in case hunger strikes!
12. Not the Comfiest Airplane Seats
While for many people, paying extra for luggage, seat selection, in flight meals and more might not feel like a problem, Spirit’s tiny seats with next to no legroom space definitely start feeling like a problem of some sort.
The seats also do not recline so expect to be strapped upright with little wiggle room – a true hassle, especially on long, international journeys.
13. Limited Free Cancellations/ Rescheduling Options
Spirit’s cancellation and rescheduling policies are also not favoured by many.
Special combos and programs such as the Bundle It Combo and Super Savers Club allow fliers to reschedule or cancel their flight for free up to 24 hours before departure.
However, in case you have not purchased either of these privileges, modification of your flight itinerary may come at a cost.
Modification is free over 60 days of departure.
Anything less than that, and you must pay anything between 49 to 99 USD for modification depending on the time period before departure.
14. Smaller Airline Route Network
Lastly, the airline route network with Spirit Airlines is not the most expansive.
The airline flies to 83 destinations, flying to 35 of 50 American states – with most states having only one city to which Spirit flies.
Outside of the USA, Spirit flies to countries like Aruba, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, Colombia, Dominican Republic and others in the Caribbean and Latin America regions.
Is Spirit Airlines Good – Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Spirit Airlines So Cheap?
Spirit Airlines’ business model is heavily dependent on ancillary fees.
This means that Spirit’s base fares are far lower than its competitors but at the same time, while other airlines provide a variety of other facilities included in the ticket such as seat selection, meals, and baggage fees, Spirit does not include any of these in its base fare.
This is beneficial for frequent and light fliers, especially on shorter flights.
But for longer flights, most people often end up having to spend extra money on amenities such as check-in and carry-on luggage, in-flight meals, seat assignment, etc.
Is It Better To Fly Spirit Or Delta?
Delta and Spirit are airlines from different segments. While Delta is a premium full-service airline, Spirit focuses on being an LCC or Low-Cost Carrier.
From the cost perspective, Spirit is more economical. Even after purchasing add-on items such as meals, seat assignments, and baggage fees, Spirit is more likely to still come out cheaper than Delta on most routes.
In terms of airport service, Delta has its own clubs and lounges with robust dining and entertainment options – while the airport experience with Spirit is more straightforward, sometimes even cumbersome with its slow service and long check-in lines.
Inside the aircraft, Delta has more legroom as compared to Spirit, and the seats inside Delta aircraft recline – unlike the seats in Spirit Airlines!
So ultimately it depends on what you are looking for. If cost is a big factor in choosing an airline, Spirit might be your top pick.
But if comfort is where you are leaning towards, you might want to go with Delta instead.
Final Thoughts- Is Spirit Airlines Good?
In conclusion, Spirit Airlines is a great option for budget-conscious travelers who are willing to sacrifice certain amenities in exchange for low fares.
The airline is known for its low base fares as well as its additional fees, which can quickly add up if you’re not careful.
Despite these drawbacks, Spirit offers rewards and discounts such as Club Perks that make it an attractive choice for budget travelers.
With its reliable service, great deals, and no-frills approach to air travel, Spirit is a good option if you’re looking for an affordable way to get from point A to point B.
You may be interested in these related posts:
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Is Sun Country A Good Airline? 12 Things To Know (Pros And Cons)
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