Founded in 1980, Spirit Airlines is a low-cost airline offering more than 250 daily flights to over 50 destinations within the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. Having no fear of going against the grain, Spirit is committed to providing consumers low fares with no hidden fees. Home of the “Bare Fare,” a ticket with this airline is exactly that: a ticket. It covers gas to get you from one place to another. There is no “free” checked bag and no “free” in-flight snacks. Spirit saves even more money by flying fuel-efficient Airbus planes. Plus, they add extra seats to their planes so the cost of flying is split between more people. Fewer “free” amenities, fuel-efficient planes, and more seats to fill result in lower prices for you.
- Ticket prices
- Membership program
- Travel insurance
Spirit believes travelers should only be required to pay for what they use. That's why a ticket only covers gas, and no extras are provided. If you print your pass at home, bring one personal item (16"x14"x12"), and allow the airline to choose your seat upon check-in, then your ticket is the only spending you'll be doing. If you want some of the traditional extras, however, there are still some ways for you to be satisfied. For instance, there is an in-flight menu with snacks and drinks, ranging in price from $1-$15, to quench any cravings that may creep up. Spirit offers Pringles, M&M's, chips and salsa, and other tasty snack options. The beverage menu consists of soft drinks, juices, bottled water, hot drinks and plenty of alcoholic beverages as well. Upgrading to a Big Front Seat, which offers greater space and more legroom than their standard seats, is another way passengers can spend a little extra to ensure optimum comfort.
With several ways to earn miles and receive exclusive travel deals, Spirit is eager to reward their loyal consumers. With three membership offers, travelers are sure to find a rewards program best suited for their specific traveling needs.
-Free Spirit is Spirit's free-to-join membership program. Members earn frequent flier miles on Spirit flights, and flights with partner airlines, and receive special updates and offers.
-$9 Fare Club has an annual enrollment fee of $59.99. This membership offers the lowest fares, exclusive access to discounted fares and vacation packages and up to 50% off checked bags compared to paying at the airport. (It should be noted that this membership automatically renews at the end of the initial contract period for a fee of $69.95 unless cancelled before date of termination.)
-Spirit World Mastercard is another great option for frequent Spirit fliers. Cardholders earn double miles on everyday purchases, which means two miles for every dollar spent, and also receive 15,000 bonus miles after the first purchase. Another great feature of this card is that miles do not expire with monthly card use.
An additional useful feature Spirit offers is travel insurance, which is offered through Travel Guard. The charge for a Domestic Itinerary is 5% of the total reservation price with a $14 minimum; the charge for an International Itinerary is 5.5% of the total reservation price with a $16 minimum; the charge for a Vacation Package Itinerary is 6.5% of total reservation price with a $25 minimum. Specific quotations, including exact coverage and pricing, can be obtained from the travel guard website.
- In-flight services
- On-time percentage
Although it makes sense in order to honor their desire to provide the lowest fees possible for consumers, passengers may still feel dissatisfied with the lack of amenities provided by the airline. No in-flight entertainment, no Wi-Fi availability, crammed seating, snacks and beverages available for purchase only may promote uncomfortable, un-entertaining travel conditions.
Even though the 50 destinations Spirit flies to does include some world-class locations-including Las Vegas, San Diego, Montreal, New York, St. Thomas, San Salvador and Mexico City-the fact remains: 50 destinations just isn't very many. It won't be unheard of for potential passengers to give their business to another airline simply because Spirit is unable to fly to their desired destination.
Punctuality is one of the most important qualities of a reliable airline. That said, Spirit arrived on time with only 58% success between May 15, 2015 and July 15, 2015. Whether flying for an important business conference or a much-needed family getaway, passengers should be able to trust that their flights will depart on time.
The Bottom Line
Determine your priorities. Spirit Airlines is a great option if you won't miss the freebies, can pack super light and are most concerned with getting a low-priced fare. However, individuals who are willing to spend a little bit more at another airline are likely to find their money was well spent. It won't be difficult to find a fairly priced carrier offering more amenities, flying to more destinations, and proving on-time reliability.