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Our Experience with Spirit Airlines

Back when I first moved to Ohio around 15 years ago, it was fairly easy to find inexpensive flights between Ohio and Florida.  Even once my kids were born, I could still find inexpensive flights.  Luckily, I could also fly with the first kid on my lap until he was two years old, which saved me even more money.  He was always a good traveler, so it wasn't a problem.

Now that both of my kids are older and we have to buy three tickets, the cost would be prohibitive even before the price hikes several years ago.  When I can find anything under $200 per person per ticket, I guess I have to be happy now.  

We weren't planning on going home this Summer because I didn't want to spend the money.  My dad and stepmom planned on coming up to visit us for two weeks since we weren't planning on coming home.  But sometime in February, I decided that I really wanted to come home.  I figured if I could schedule it around the time my parents were coming up, the kids and I could fly down one way and then ride back up with my parents.  

When I was searching for airline tickets, the most inexpensive tickets I was able to find were on Spirit Airlines.  I had never flown on Spirit before, so I was a little apprehensive.  After exhaustive cross-referencing of prices of different airlines, including all of the extra little fees that some airlines may add, Spirit was still the best deal.

Spirit airlines calls themselves a "no-frills" airline.  They have a bare fare that only gets you and one personal item from point A to point B.  Everything else~~~ and I mean everything ~~~ is an extra fee.  But as I said, even with all of the added fees, Spirit was cheaper than any other airline on the days I needed.  

Here are the things that we paid extra for:
Choosing our seats:  $15 extra per seat
Carry-on ( my laptop):  $35
1st (and only!!) checked bag: $30

I also made sure to print our boarding passes at home, because that would have been an extra fee per person, also.

Here's the thing. . . . . I've had to pay to choose my seats on another airline before also.  This is NOT a new fee to me.  One day when my kids are older and don't mind sitting with strangers, this won't be an issue.  Right now, I'm more comfortable having them with me in the same row, so I'm willing to pay that fee.  Here's ANOTHER thing. . . . . the time that I paid that seat fee before on the other airline, the airline still managed to mess it up and not have our seats together once I tried to check in.  So, what was the fee for anyway!!!???!!!  

Luckily, when I showed up at Spirit, the seats that I paid to choose were actually the seats we got.  Have to give the point to Spirit on this one.

Here's a main difference between Spirit and other airlines that I've flown with that "first checked bag."  Spirit only allows 40 pounds on your first checked bag and smaller dimensions than most airlines allow.  Our medium sized suitcase just barely fit under the dimensions allowed.  Anything over those dimensions or weight would have been considered an oversized bag and would have incurred an even larger fee.  

The kids and I managed to pack for 3 weeks for all 3 of us in under 40 pounds.  We actually even did it in under 35 pounds, I think.  We knew that we would be able to do laundry here.

Spirit also does not have complimentary drinks or snacks.  You are able to purchase drinks or snacks with a credit card.  They did have some mixed combinations.  Drinks were between around $3 for a soda or there was an option to buy 2 for $5.  They also had liquor available according to the website, but I wasn't able to test out that possibility.  I didn't see anyone ordering anything when the flight attendant came down the aisle asking if anyone wanted to order anything and I wasn't prepared when he came past.  Be aware, you might only get one chance to order!

Our flight was delayed almost two hours on the day we flew.  I had a Facebook friend say,
"I was worried when you said that you were flying Spirit!"

BUT, here's my history with flying. . . . . at least 50% of the flights I've ever flown on, NO MATTER which airline, have been delayed.  I'm beginning to think that I'm the curse.  Haha.  I've been delayed for them to change a battery once.  I got stuck on the tarmac once for over an hour with a toddler in my lap because they had to change an air-conditioning card.  I've been stuck on the tarmac with my hubby and friends in Colorado for over an hour because they had to de-ice planes.  The last time my kids and I flew four years ago, we were delayed two hours in the airport.

When I checked the flight several times in the week leading up to my flight, none of the other flights were delayed more than 15 minutes.  And for the past two days, it was on time once and only delayed 15 minutes once.  I'm not able to check back farther than that.  But it seems like the flight segment that I take is generally on time or close to on time.

All of the employees that we came across were pretty friendly and the flight attendant on our flight was pretty funny, too.  We were lucky enough to get one of the funny take-off instructions.  My son quoted the flight attendant for days after the flight.  
"No smoking is allowed on this plane.  However, the wings are available.  The wind will be hitting you at 500 miles per hour, but if you can light it, you can smoke it." 
My son really got a kick out of that.  
The flight attendants even make light of the fact that they are a bare-bones low cost airline.
"You may hit the flight attendant call button one time for no charge.  If you have to hit it again, it will be $50.  We are Spirit airlines afterall."    Everyone was chuckling throughout the whole announcement.  

Besides our two hour delay, I think we had a pretty good experience with Spirit Airlines.  If you value saving money over extravagance and luxury, it might be a good choice for you.  It would be especially good if you tend to fly light and don't need to know where your seat will be.

Even with our carry-on fee, seat fee, checked luggage fee and government taxes and fees, we got three one way tickets for around $300.  For us, it was definitely worth the loss of "luxury", which we never have on most flights anyway.

Another thing to consider is that they don't have wifi.  It wasn't a concern for me, since I don't need to be connected at all times.  The airline suggests that if you would like to watch a movie on one of your devices, you have it downloaded to your device before your flight.

 Which is your favorite airline to fly on?

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