How Bad Is Spirit Airlines?

Last Updated on December 1, 2020

What’s wrong with Spirit Airlines? Why is Spirit so bad? These are questions that are often asked around the web.

But they’re loaded questions that presume that Spirit Airlines is bad and that it’s only a question of how bad.

Years ago, when aviation became a thing is was only for the rich. Over time prices came down and flying became more affordable, but an astounding amount of snobbery remains.

People just love to brag about fare class, how big their seat is, and how much of a big priority they are. For some, paying more for flights is even a status symbol.

I believe in “innocent until proven guilty”. So this post puts the low-cost airline on trial and asks…

Is Spirit Airlines really that bad?

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Why Is Spirit Airlines Reputation So Bad?

There you go again prejudging…

First let’s ask, does Spirit really have a bad reputation? I tried to find some happy customers who have flown Spirit and enjoyed it.

Anthony flew recently with Spirit and was pleasantly surprised:

Anthony did pay extra to get the big front seats though. Big front seats are Spirit’s version of first class.

And Scott loved the big front seats too:

Nick thought Spirit is not that bad:

And Nikita says she has “never had a bad experience”:

And this King was also singing the praises of Spirit:

When Spirit starts servicing a new airport some people even get excited about it:

Tuan’s advice is “know before you go” and make sure you “do your research” before booking a flight with Spirit.

On the other hand Spirit Airlines really piss some people off…

The bad reviews seem to come when someone tries to take advantage of a cheap price but they don’t realize that there will be restrictions.

Briefly here are the main complaints about Spirit:

  • They charge for carry-on bags (The personal item isn’t as small as you think)
  • They charge for a checked bag (Most airlines charge for checked bags)
  • They have no leg room (Spirit have increased the amount of legroom on many flights, you can also pay for extra space if you need ahread of time)
  • They charge extra for seat selection
  • They charge for water (Bring your own water)
  • Poor customer service (Well maybe but the prices are cheap)

Don’t worry this isn’t a paid advert for Spirit. We’ll now look at those disgruntled passengers.

Not Everyone Loves Spirit

Mariah says “Spirit Airlines is not worth the money you save”:

And Pauly laughed and said Spirit is “as bad as it gets”.

I think Jazz hit the nail on the head when she said “They are the McDonalds of airlines”:

Jazz means it as an insult, but then a lot of people love Mickey D’s. I think it’s a really good comparison.

Spirit is a budget airline. You wouldn’t go to McDonald’s and expect the customer service and experience of a 5-star restaurant. You don’t lose the plot because your Big Mac isn’t a ribeye steak with a red wine sauce.

You know it’s going to be basic, but because your expectations are low then a cheap meal at McDonald’s can be tasty and good value.

Likewise, once you accept that Spirit isn’t a full service airline they don’t seem so bad.

If you understand Spirit’s game and how to avoid their charges you reach a better understanding. It is what it is.

Not everyone looks carefully into the rules though.

Liam didn’t think he got enough leg room:

And the comment about $55 to have a change of clothing is about paying to bring a carry-on size bag on Spirit.

As Tuan said, “know before you go” and “do your research”.

Alejandro didn’t read the rules:

When you fly Spirit you can only bring one free bag. These are the rules and the rules are strict. If a wheel is protruding they will charge you!

And you need to pack your purse inside your larger bag or they will charge you.

Is that bad? Yeah, it sure feels bad if you didn’t expect it.

But you should have expected it Alejandro.

Personally, I think it’s good that other passengers are not filling up the overhead lockers with oversized bags. How many times have you flown with other airlines only to be told the overhead bins are full.

They are full because nobody enforces the limits.

Needing to pack your purse inside your personal item isn’t so bad if you plan ahead.

The same happened to this dude…

Dr Manhatten got a great flight price. To fly anywhere for $56 is amazing.

But then the shit hit the fan because he didn’t know the rules and he wasn’t prepared.

Yes, Spirit does charge $10 to print out a boarding pass at the counter, but you can easily avoid this fee.

All you need to do is print out the ticket at home or have a copy of the boarding pass emailed to your phone. You can show a digital ticket on your phone.

You can also use the Spirit mobile app and get your boarding pass there.

Secondly, fees for bags larger than 18 x 14 x 8 are cheaper if you pay for them when you book the flight. They are also discounted if you add a carry-on bag during online check-in.

If you rock up to the airport or the boarding gate unprepared with an oversize bag then yes Spirit will hit you in the pocket. Does this make them a bad airline?

Plenty of people plan ahead, stick to the rules, pack light, and avoid most of the Spirit extra charges. These people are happy with the Spirit cheap flights.

Unorganized passengers fall victim to Spirit’s pricing traps and get triggered into outrage. You’ll find them screaming “never again” all over the place.

The Spirit slogan is “Less money. More Go” but I think Ben might just have written them a better one:

Guilty Or Not Guilty?

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I’ll be honest I still can’t make my mind up about Spirit Airlines.

I do think the way they price things is a trick. And tricksters are bad.

Cheap flights + incredibly expensive extras is a trap.

I do wish they would simplify their pricing model.

Once you understand how Spirit operates they are not that bad. Years ago they shocked everyone with their pricing model. A lot of people got burned and ranted.

If you are still getting burned now then sorry it’s probably your own fault.

If you fly Spirit always plan your trip carefully. Bring your own food. Travel light. Choose which extras you need and which you don’t.

At least Spirit markets themselves as an ultra-low-cost airline. Airlines like United and American are now selling Basic Economy tickets but they still want you to think they are high-class. Maybe that is more dishonest.

Spirit sells very cheap flights and then is very expensive for everything else. Legroom, baggage, snacks and the like are where Spirit make their profits.

If you want free peanuts then they are not the airline for you.

But you do realize that those peanuts were never free right? You paid for them with your overpriced fare.

So how bad is Spirit Airlines? Well all airlines are bad. Spirit are just bad in their own unique way.

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