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I Scored Spirit’s Big Front Seat for Just $40 Round-Trip — Here’s How

Brett Holzhauer's image
Brett Holzhauer
Brett Holzhauer's image

Brett Holzhauer

Content Contributor

31 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 22U.S. States Visited: 29

Brett is a personal finance and travel junkie. Based out of Fort Lauderdale, he's had over 100 credit cards and earned millions of credit card rewards.
Edited by: Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

News Managing Editor

101 Published Articles 710 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...

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Spirit Airlines can fall on the wrong end of many jokes and news headlines, and for good reason. Despite this, I’ve been flying the big yellow bus in the sky a bit more in recent months and have learned more about its intricacies and customer experience.

On a quick trip from my home of Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL) to Cancun, Mexico (CUN), I decided to run a few experiments.

In the days before each flight, I was offered the opportunity to bid on its “Big Front Seat,” located at the front of the aircraft, and scored a pretty inexpensive ride to and from home. Here’s how I did it.

My Successful Upgrade on Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines is well known for nickel-and-diming its customers along the way. These fees can be for carry-on bags (which I easily avoid by using my backpack as a personal item), picking a seat onboard, buying drinks onboard, or even printing a boarding pass at the airport.

But if you’re a diligent traveler, you can dodge these fees altogether. For instance, I never selected a seat while booking my flight. Since each flight was only 90 minutes, I figured I would be fine in any seat onboard.

But a few days before the flight, I received an email to bid on sitting at the front of the plane.

Spirit Big Front Seat
One of the most spacious domestic airplane seats in the sky. Image Credit: Brett Holzhauer

Spirit Airlines doesn’t have a true first class product, but it does have the Big Front Seat. The service is the same during the flight, but you simply get a bigger, more comfortable chair.

Bidding on Spirit’s Big Front Seat

When you bid on a seat, the email gives you a barometer to pay anywhere from $20 to $250. Because my flight was so short, I bid the $20 minimum.

A few days before takeoff, I was approved for the $20 bid on my Fort Lauderdale to Cancun flight. However, the return home flight was where things got interesting.

When I bid the $20 minimum (again), I was told I was outbid, which was fine by me as I wasn’t willing to spend more than that. However, when I checked the Spirit app again at the airport, I was approved to sit up front again.

I’m still unsure how that happened, but for a mere $40 round-trip, I got a much more comfortable experience to and from Mexico. Next time you fly with Spirit, don’t overlook bidding as you may be able to upgrade your next flight for as little as $20.

How To Beat Budget Airlines at Their Own Game

If you decide to book a flight with Spirit or any of its ultra-low-cost competitors, there are several things to remember.

First, these airlines are avidly looking for any way to generate additional revenue after you book that ticket. If I’m choosing to fly on a budget airline, I’m trying to keep more money in my pocket by avoiding any of their upcharges.

Here are a few of our expert tips to dodge these fees:

  • Avoid upsells. When you book your flight, you will be served a seemingly endless number of offers, such as rental cars, hotels, help at the airport, travel insurance, and more. Simply say no.
  • Travel as lightly as possible. These airlines are notorious for expensive baggage fees and seat assignment charges. These fees can negate any potential savings from flying with a regular airline.
  • Be flexible with the seat you get. Budget airlines love to charge extra for seat assignments. Try your best to avoid this add-on. And if you’re particular about where you sit, consider approaching the gate agent and asking politely for a different seat assignment to see if they can move you.
  • BYOD. Drinks onboard can be extremely expensive. The best way to avoid this is to bring a refillable water bottle and find somewhere in the airport to refill it before boarding — and the same rule goes for snacks!
Hot Tip:

You should sign up for Spirit’s loyalty program, Free Spirit, to earn Spirit points. You can also double-dip your rewards by booking flights with a travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Final Thoughts

Despite struggling financially, Spirit delivers great value to consumers looking for a no-frills experience getting from A to B. If you decide to book with Spirit, it’s best to keep your expectations in line and have a game plan for avoiding the airline’s infamous list of fees.

Brett Holzhauer's image

About Brett Holzhauer

Brett is a personal finance and travel junkie. Based out of Fort Lauderdale, he’s had over 100 credit cards and earned millions of credit card rewards. He learned the tricks of the trade from his mom, and has taken many steps forward. He wasn’t exposed to much travel as a kid, but now has a goal of reaching 100 countries in his life. In 2019, he sold all of his possessions to become a digital nomad, and he says it was one of the best decisions he ever made. He plans to do it again at some point in his life.

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