Spirit Airlines Flight Booking Process: Fees, Extras, and Real Costs

Spirit Airlines in the United States gets a lot of bad press. I admit I was apprehensive booking this flight myself! I have never flown with them and want too. I am doing this to share my experience with my readers and to give an honest review.

I am paying for this flight myself! The super cheap airfares due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus have allowed me to do so without the need of having an actual trip in mind.

I started off at Spirit.com to search for the flight I wanted. In this case I was looking to fly Atlanta – Fort Lauderdale one way on a Saturday morning. This allowed me to layover and fly back from Miami to Atlanta on Frontier later that day. I will be flying both airlines for the first time and will review them both!

After I performed the fare search and chose my flight I was shown the price below. All flights that day were the same price but this was the only one that fit my schedule. $26.40 is cheap!

When I clicked on the “Continue” button above I was presented with a bundle offer. For $61.99 I would have received:

The Bundle It is a good deal if you can at least utilize the checked bag, carry-on bag, and seat selection for an exit row seat over booking it all separately.

I chose “Book It” as I didn’t need all these benefits for this particular journey.

Next I was asked for my personal details which I will leave out here for obvious reasons! At this point I signed into my Free Spirit account to save time and add my frequent flyer number, PRE-Check number, etc.

After entering my details it took me to the screen to pay for baggage. I was planning to carry only one personal item. It also gives you a chance to join the $9 Fare Club. This is only useful if you fly Spirit often. I continued with the “Standard” option.

NOTE: Baggage fees with Spirit are MUCH cheaper booked in advance with your ticket. They charge far more at the airport plus the checkin fee mentioned later in this guide. Be sure to make proper selections here!

Prices of the various bags are shown here:

Next up was seat selection. The prices ranged from $12 near the back of the aircraft to $37 for the “Big Front Seat” (similar to competitors domestic first class seats). Standard seats closer to the middle were $15. Exit rows and forward seats were $19.

I debated a while and decided to buy the “Big Front Seat: to try it out since the fare was so low. I plan to fly in a regular economy seat and exit row seat on Spirit in the future. I will review them both as well. The only benefit of the “Big Front Seat” is the extra space. No food or drink is included!

You can continue without choosing any seats for free too.

I chose Seat 2A. You can see my selection and cost below.

Next I was presented with “Add On Trip Options”. The options included priority boarding, fast track security, and a pre-paid change fee. I already have TSA PRE-Check and am not worried about boarding time with only a small bag. I do not plan to change the flight so I skipped all these options.

At the bottom you can see a note about checkin. Checkin is free online or on a mobile device. There is a $10 charge for using an airport agent. This is one of the “gotcha” fees Spirit is known for. I planned to use my phone so I chose online checkin for free.

After the Options screen you are taken to the payment screen. Here you are offered trip insurance, a trial of the $9 fare club, and a sign up offer for the Spirit credit card. I declined all three items.

At this point I filled in my payment details and purchased the ticket. You can see the total I paid below.

To clarify this $63.40 price ONLY includes: Airfare, “Big Front Seat”, and one small personal item (laptop bag or small backpack). This is a great deal for a first class seat even if I have to pay for food and drink should I want it! To compare a First Class fare on the same route on a full service airline was $210 at the time of booking.

Even with the aforementioned bundle included it is sill an $85 savings over a traditional carrier.

After payment I was sent to the confirmation page. I was presented with some ads of free trial offers for 4 services. I had to click “No Thanks” to all of them which is a bit of an annoyance but not overly so.

The booking process on Spirit.com was a bit cumbersome but typical of a low cost carrier where each part of the flight is charged separately. When booking with Spirit it is best to do so directly. Using third party travel sites may or may not offer you prepaid baggage, inform you of the extra fees, and could end up an expensive lesson at the checkin counter.

I can see how some of the traps above can annoy many travelers if they are not reading carefully or did not book the tickets directly with Spirit. This can also happen if the flights are included as part of a travel package and these details are not communicated properly. Pay attention to all details when booking low cost carriers!

Overall there is good value to be found flying Spirit if traveling with limited baggage and food, drink, and seat selections are not important. This is especially true for short haul trips with carry on luggage. My review of this trip is coming soon!