Tips on surviving a flight with Spirit Airlines

If there’s one thing travelers can agree upon, it’s that budget airlines skimp on the luxuries. For instance, many times snacks and meals cost extra and even baggage fees. But who gets ragged on the most? Spirit Airlines.

Now, I’m not opposed to flying with Spirit Airlines. In recent years, I’ve flown with the airline dozens of times at a fraction of the cost. To me, saving hundreds of dollars it would cost flying with another airline was worth it.

As many of you know, I flew with Spirit to Puerto Rico, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, just to name a few. Here are some insider tips on how to have the best flight.


The bare fare ticket for Spirit does not include baggage. In fact, you have to pay extra to bring additional bags with you. This is the biggest gripe I hear about Spirit Airlines. With the bare fare ticket, you are able to bring one bag that measures 18″x14″x8″. Bags that qualify for this are usually laptop bags, purses or small backpacks.

Where most travelers get nabbed is when they think they can skimp by the flight attendants with a larger bag. Honestly, it’s a toss-up. I’ve had flight attendants who have allowed roller carry-ons on the flight, while other attendants have forced people with slightly larger backpacks to check them. And when you have to check your bags at the gate, the fees are astronomical. On the website, baggage fees can be more than $150. That could easily pay for an upgrade on another airline.

To prevent these costs, I would always pack a bag that fits these requirements. As a heads up, this is only one bag. You don’t get a purse and a carry-on. Only one bag. That I know they are strict on.


So what I do? I pack light enough so my purse and all my clothes fit in one bag. This may seem crazy, but trust me, it’s possible. If I can pack two weeks of clothes, a purse, and souvenirs in a carry-on, you can too! 


Another way Spirit makes extra money is through seat selection. When you buy a bare fare ticket, you automatically forfeit the right to choose your seat. Honestly, I haven’t always found this to be bad. But, then again, I’m not super picky on where I sit. But there’s a way to get around paying the extra fees, which again can be as costly as $175.

Offer to sit in the emergency exit row.

As soon as you arrive at your gate, go up to the ticket counter and ask if they have any seats available in the emergency exit row. And if so, offer to sit there and assist. Sometimes flight operators are ecstatic that you asked, it says them the problem of having to ask someone on the flight if they’re willing to move. Just, for your safety and the rest of the cabin’s safety, please be able to assist others in an emergency. If you feel like you can’t, don’t try this hack.

Otherwise, just make sure to check-in early online or the app to try to get the best seats that are left.

Printing tickets at home

Yes, Spirit even nickles and dimes you on boarding passes. To print your boarding pass at the airport or at the ticket counter it counts $2 or $10 per boarding pass. Ironically, I’ve never had this problem. The only way to get around this fee is if your Spirit flight is a connection. This happened to me on my return flight from Puerto Rico. When I checked in for my first flight, I received my first boarding pass, but not my second boarding pass. The reason for this, was because I was too early for my next flight’s check-in. I simply approached the ticket desk, explained my situation, and they printed my ticket for free.

Other costs

  • Unaccompanied minors – $100
  • Pets in cabin – $110 for each pet, each way
  • In-flight snacks or beverages – $1 to $15 for each
  • Flight modifications or cancellations – $50 to $100

To save on these costs there are a few tricks you can deploy. First, bring a full water bottle and snacks with you. I do this everytime I fly anyway, so this isn’t hard for me to remember.

When booking with Spirit, make sure you have your exact travel dates and that there is no chance that they might change. Spirit also offers travel insurance for you flights that you can also look into for an additional $25 or so.

So, why should you take Spirit?

Spirit is my ideal airline for a quick weekend getaway or when I just need to get somewhere. It isn’t for when you are traveling luxuriously or have 12 bags to take with you — an exaggeration, I know. For instance, on my flight to Puerto Rico, I knew I was backpacking across the country already so I didn’t need an airline that already incorporated my baggage fees into my ticket price. And for my Phoenix and Las Vegas vacations, I was only staying four or five days and could pare down my luggage to fit inside a backpack to save me some serious cash. The airline isn’t for everyone, but it’s not as bad as what everyone says. I honestly will take Spirit in a heartbeat if it means saving hundreds of dollars on my next vacation.

Leave your stories below about your experience with Spirit, or other budget airlines!

If there are other airlines you are curious about, leave them in the comments below! They might be the topic of an upcoming blog post focused on another budget airlines. 

Quirky Globetrotter

Hi! I'm Martha! The mastermind behind Quirky Globetrotter a feminist travel blog. Quirky Globetrotter is devoted to telling narratives devoted to female solo travel and hidden gems worldwide with an emphasis on intersectional feminism and how that impacts travel on a global and local level.

11 thoughts on “Tips on surviving a flight with Spirit Airlines

  1. Thank you for sharing your tips and experience. I have always been a bit reluctant about flying with budget airlines but you just wiped away most my fears. If I can start to save more on flights, I can travel more often (:

    1. It’s all about research and knowing what you’re getting yourself into! And for me, budget airlines are great! Like you said, less costs means more travel and vacay money!

  2. I have actually never heard of this airline. But thanks for sharing your experience with them, I will have to keep them in mind for my next trip.


    1. It’s a very popular budget airline now! Just make sure that they’re the right airline for you before you purchase a ticket. Best of luck!

  3. Nice article… Baggage fees can be scary at times. Might end up leaving some important things just for it to fit into 1 or 2 luggages.

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