Ever since we moved to Texas a couple years ago, we have been flying a lot more often. My family is all in south Florida, and we fly there a few times a year to go visit. So finding great deals on flights are always a necessity for us, especially since we will be paying for another seat in less than a month when Ryan turns two! Cue Spirit Airlines. (Please note I am in no way associated with Spirit Airlines, I just like passing on knowledge for great deals!)
The first time I started looking for flights to make a trip to Florida, I found Spirit Airlines. Their prices seemed too good to be true. And in some ways, they are if you don’t know what you are doing. We have flown on Spirit so many times (10 round-trip flights as of writing this) that we have our routine and have learned most of the ins-and-outs of flying on Spirit. And I want to pass this information on to anyone else who may be considering them. If you pay attention, you can get some great deals on your flights.
Add bags on early
As with almost any airline now, there are fees for your bags. With Spirit, the earlier you pay for your bags, the cheaper it is. If you know you are going to need a bag when you book the flight, that is the cheapest time to add the bag. The price goes up the moment you confirm your flight. Then again when you do your online check-in, and again at the terminal/gate. So make sure you purchase any bags you need as soon as you know you need them. I know that we can get everything for a week in Florida in my one suitcase, so when I book those trips I add the checked bag on while I am booking to save the most money.
You only get one bag on the plane for free
I repeat, you only get ONE bag on the plane for free. Not a bag and a purse. Not one bag and one personal item. One bag only. And it has to fit underneath the seat in front of you. I usually bring a backpack and it is a perfect size. If you want an overhead bag, you have to pay for it. And same as with the checked bags, the earlier you pay for it, the cheaper it will be. Don’t make the mistake my best friend did, and not know you have to pay for the overhead until she was boarding, and it cost her $100 to bring the bag on!!
Baby items are free
When you are traveling with a baby or small child, there are a few things that are free. You can gate check one stroller and one car seat per child with you. We have gate checked the boy’s car seats a few times now, and there is no charge. I’ve also been told you can bring an additional bag on the plane for free if you have a lap child with you, but I haven’t personally tried it.
Reduce Extra Fees
Make sure to check in online up to 24 hours before your flight, and print your boarding passes. If you don’t print your boarding passes, you are charged $10 for the desk agent to print them for you. The exception is if you have a lap child, you have to go to the check-in desk. But you still had to have printed the paper saying to check in, or you will be charged as well. When I have Ryan in my lap, I don’t get an actual boarding pass for him or me, but just a note saying to see the agent. Print that!
Don’t choose your seats
Unless you have a really good reason to pick which seat you are in, don’t waste the money on picking a seat. I was worried the first time that it meant I could be separated from Tyler, but they assured me that if you are traveling with a child, you will be seated together. Sometimes we are in the very last row of the plane, but they have never once put us away from each other. It is possible, if you have multiple adults and children, that you won’t all be together. But they have told me they won’t make a child sit on their own even if you don’t pay to get seats together.
Make sure you book your reservation online. There is a fee to actually call and talk to an agent to book. I know it sounds crazy, but their reasoning is they have to pay a person, and the more people who call in, the more people they need to hire.
On the flight
No free refreshments
Pack your own snacks, and bring an empty water bottle to fill up in the airport. On Spirit, there are no free snacks or drinks, not even water. You have to pay for everything. And you have to use a credit or debit card, they don’t accept cash for anything. We always bring a few things for us all to snack on during the flight, and bring the boys straw cups and fill them at the water fountains once we get through security so they have a drink on the plane.
The seats are a little smaller, with a little less leg room than most airlines. Being on the smaller side, this has never been a problem for me. You can opt to pay for one of the bigger seats, which are the front row and the emergency exit rows if you want, but this starts to add up and increase your costs. To me, the reason I fly spirit is to keep the costs down, so we have never sat in one of the bigger seats.
My last “pro” tip for flying with Spirit is to join their $9 fare club if you fly often enough. It’s about $60 for a year-long membership, but it saves me much more than that throughout the year. Last year, we were debating on renewing, when we started looking at the flights to photograph a friends wedding in Orlando. If we joined, it gave us a cheaper price on the flights as well as a discount on the bags. When we added it up, just on that flight alone, with only two of us (the boys didn’t go), it saved as much as it cost, and then we had it for the rest of the year. Anyone who books on the same reservation as the person with the membership gets the same discounts. So I have it in my name and get it for everyone else in our group.
If you are looking for a great deal on flights, check out Spirit. Just make sure you follow these tips to know what you are doing, or it can end up costing a lot more. We fly Spirit all the time, and we fly Spirit with toddlers, so it can be helpful for anyone. We love being able to travel and go places, so this is our go-to airline for those cheap tickets, like when we went to Colorado last month for $70 round-trip each!
Have you flown on Spirit Airlines? What are your thoughts?