Spirit Airlines Review — Seats, Amenities, Customer Service, Fees, & More

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This general review of Spirit Airlines has been compiled to give you a quick glance at the airline from the viewpoint of a viable customer.

Ever wonder… How much does Spirit charge for Baggage Fees? Will I get snacks and drinks when I fly Spirit? How often is Spirit Airlines delayed?

We’ve outlined some basic company statistics, ticketing options, added fees including baggage fees, seat specs, inflight amenities, customer satisfaction ratings, and more.

Basic Information

Airline: Spirit Airlines

Alliance: none

Category: Ultra Low-Cost Carrier

Frequent Flyer Program: Free Spirit

Tag Line: “Less Money. More Go.”

About/Mission Statement: “Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ: SAVE) is committed to offering the lowest total price to the places we fly, on average much lower than other airlines…We help people save money and travel more often, create new jobs and stimulate business growth in the communities we serve.” (source)

Daily Flights: 400+

Destinations: 59 (U.S., Latin America, & Caribbean)

Fleet: 105 planes

Main Hub: Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International (FLL)

FAQ Guide: 20 Frequently Asked Questions About Flying Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines Cabin and Seats
Customers infight on Spirit Airlines. Image Credit: Spirit Airlines.

Ticketing Options

  • Standard Fare (Bare Fare)
  • $9 Fare Club

Standard Fare: Spirit Airlines prides itself on offering “unbundled” fares. In a nutshell, this means advertising the lowest possible rate as a base fare, or as they call it a Bare Fare™. Spirit then gives customers the ability to add options, which they call Frill Control™.

Spirit Airlines - The Bare Fare
Image Credit: Spirit

This means Spirit’s basic fare includes the most standard seat and 1 personal item. No refreshments, no seat recline, no Wi-Fi, etc. Spirit claims this generally lowers the cost of your ticket since with most other airlines all of these “frills” are included in your base fare, even if you don’t want them.

$9 Fare Club: Spirit advertises a $9 Fare Club that they claim gives customers exclusive access to some of the lowest fairs available, as well as discounted baggage fees. They also claim that $9 Fare Club members are privy to special deals only available to members.

The cost of the program is a $59.95 fee, which is renewed annually for $69.95 unless members decide to cancel. The club’s discounts are also applicable for up to 8 persons on your itinerary if reserved under the same booking confirmation number.

Spirit Airlines - Your Guide To More Go
Image Credit: Spirit

Word to The Wise: Remember that when booking with Spirit, an average traveler usually encounters added fees for options they generally don’t even consider when purchasing a typical airline ticket. For example, it’ll cost you $10 to print your boarding pass at the airport ticket counter vs. on your home computer. You can find more information on Spirit’s options/fees below.

Additionally, while you can pay more for a little extra leg room, there are no traditional premium economy, business class, or first class fares on Spirit Airlines.

Spirit Baggage & Other Fees

Since Spirit Airlines starts with a stripped down fare, there are a number of additional options that can be tacked on for an extra fee.

Baggage Fees: Spirit only includes 1 personal item with their Bare Fare. This means a carry-on and all checked bags are extra. Additionally, baggage prices increase the closer you get to take-off. So, your best bet is to pre-purchase your desired baggage allowance during your initial booking.

It’s important to note that Spirit Airlines has some pretty tight size/weight limitations for baggage:

  • Personal Item: 18″ x 14″ x 8″
  • Standard Carry-On: 22″ x 18″ x10″
  • Checked Bag: max linear dimensions of 62″, max weight of 40lbs

The following table displays general fees for MOST routes. However, for the most accurate baggage fee calculations, please use Spirit’s online baggage calculator tool here.

During BookingBefore/During
Online Check-In
Reservation Desk
At the Gate
Carry-On$26 / $35$36 / $45$55 / $55$65 / $65
1st Checked Bag$21 / $30$31 / $40$50 / $50$65 / $65
2nd Checked Bag$31 / $40$41 / $50$60 / $60n/a
$9 Fare Club / Standard Fare

Reservation Center Booking: Spirit Airlines charges $35 per reservation center phone booking for both standard bookings and Free Spirit award tickets. Save yourself some money and book online if possible.

Seat Assignment & Big Front Seat™: Unless you pay an extra fee, Spirit randomly assigns you a seat at check-in. They also can’t guarantee you’ll get to sit with your friends or family with this free assignment. Spirit urges customers to purchase a seat assignment to choose the seat they really want.

Seat assignments begin at $5 and can cost up to $50, varying according to your specific route and the exact location of seats on the aircraft.

Additionally, customers can purchase a Big Front Seat™ that comes with about 6″ of extra legroom. (See seat specs below.) Since these seats are limited (usually 4-10 per plane), you can expect the cost to fall between $12-$150 in advance or $25-$175 as an onboard upgrade. This price is based on availability and flight length.

Spirit Airlines - Fees
Image Credit: Spirit

Boarding Pass: Let’s be clear here: when flying Spirit, check-in online and print your boarding pass at home. If you wait until you get to the airport, Spirit Airlines will charge $2 per boarding pass printed at a kiosk and a hefty $10 per pass printed at their check-in counters. Spirit argues that it utilizes more of their time and resources to print a pass at the airport, so that’s why they charge for it.

It’s also important to note that Spirit does not yet have functionality for mobile device boarding passes.

Refreshments Onboard: Spirit states: “Your Bare Fare doesn’t include refreshments – even water – because it costs money to stock ’em and gas to carry ’em.” Spirit provides a menu with variable pricing from which customers can make a drink/snack selection.

Soft drinks, juices, and water currently cost $3, with coffee and tea costing $2. You can expect to pay $7 for alcoholic beverages and snacks vary from $2.50-$6.50.

Modification Fees: These are fees applied to change or cancel your reservation. If you purchase “Flex Flight” for $35-$45 at the time of booking, you’re allowed 1 flight modification at no extra cost as long as it’s done more than 24 hours prior to your departure.

  • Change/Cancellation Fee: $90 (online); $100 (phone/in-person); $50 (group booking)

As an added benefit to canceling online, customers are issued a $10 voucher (per one-way fare) if the value of the reservation is less than the cost of cancellation.

Priority Boarding: Customers who wish to acquire Zone 2 priority boarding may pay $5.99 per one-way ticket.

Standby Fee: The standby fee is currently $99 per one-way flight.

Infant (Lap Child) Fee: FREE (taxes may apply in certain countries)

Unaccompanied Minor Fee: $100 per customer, each way (includes snack and beverage)

Pet Transport Fee: $110 per pet container, each way (limited to 4 pets per cabin total)

How to Avoid Excess Fees

There’s an easy way to avoid a number of these excess fees, and it involves utilizing the member benefits of specific credit cards.

The following cards offer airline credits that will cover the cost of certain added fees (baggage, inflight purchases, etc.):

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card - This no annual fee card comes with a 20,000 bonus mile offer after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months. When you use your card for travel purchases (e.g. baggage fees), use your miles to pay off all, or part of, your statement balance! We've highlighted 30+ benefits of the card.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - The "big brother" card to the VentureOne with a 100,000 bonus miles offer when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. This card is full of benefits and perks and you can redeem your miles on travel or transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs.

Spirit Inflight Amenities & Seat Specs

What will my flight on Spirit look like?

Spirit Airlines A320 Cabin Interior
A320 cabin interior. Image Credit: Spirit.com.

Inflight Amenities: As mentioned above, Spirit prides itself on offering the lowest possible base fare. This means a lot of inflight amenities many travelers are used to are simply unavailable.

  • Spirit does not provide in-flight Wi-Fi, video streaming capabilities, or any onboard entertainment.
  • Refreshment service is limited to paid beverages and snacks only.
Spirit Airlines A320 Cabin Interior
A320 cabin interior. Image Credit: Spirit.com.

Seat Specs: Seat Specs for Spirit Airlines flights vary slightly depending on plane style. However, Spirit is notorious for having one of the shortest economy pitches of all domestic carriers. We’ve combined information from Spirit Airlines and SeatGuru to aggregate the following seat specs.

In general, dimensions are as follows:

  • Big Front Seats – 36″ pitch, 20″ width
  • Standard economy seats – 28″ pitch, 17.75″ width
 StyleTotal Number
of Seats
Big Front SeatsEconomy Seats
Airbus A319 (319)14510135
Airbus A320 (320)1784174
Airbus A320 SF (320)1784174
Airbus A320 SF (32A)1828174
Airbus A321 (321)2184214
Airbus A321 SF (32B)2288220

*Please note that when reading the information & tables above, Spirit refers to their standard seats as “Deluxe Leather Seats.”

Hot Tip: You can find information on Spirit’s boarding zones and boarding process here.

Spirit Customer Satisfaction

Are customers happy with Spirit Airlines?

While Spirit Airlines doesn’t drum up a lot of positive press when it comes to customer satisfaction, they’re working hard to change the narrative.

Spirit Airlines Flight Attendants
Image Credit: spirit.com

Spirit’s new tactic involves talking up their Basic Fare and emphasizing the fact that stripped down services are necessary to provide you, the customer, with the cheapest possible ticket option.

Here are a few examples:

Instead of hiding the fact that their seat specs are a little tight, Spirit states: “We’re a cozy airline; We add extra seats to our planes so we can fly with more people. This lowers ticket prices for everyone, just like a carpool.”

To justify their increasing baggage fee scale, Spirit says: “It costs time and resources to process at the airport, which means it costs you more money.”

To address their “no refunds” policy, Spirit claims: “Trying to resell your ticket raises fares for everyone, so we don’t give refunds if your plans change. Insurance is available to protect you from the unexpected.”

Honesty & Transparency: One thing you can’t fault Spirit on is their honesty. They are very clear on their website that they’re attempting to offer the best possible price by cutting unnecessary expenditures. They even state they’re proud to have broken some rules along the way.

Transparency on the other hand…not so much. With Spirit, it’s tough to determine your total costs until you’ve selected all your specifics including destination, departure dates, add ons, etc. Without going through the motions all the way to your purchase point, customers are simply given quotes like “fees starting at $5.”

Most Common Complaints

What are the most common Spirit Airlines complaints?

The August 2017 Air Travel Consumer Report filed by Transportation.gov ranks Spirit Airlines as having the highest number of consumer complaints of any airline from the 12 reporting U.S. carriers.

For January 2017 through June 2017, there were 781 complaints out of 11,582,036 system-wide enplanements, or 6.74 complaints per 100,000 passengers. (In comparison, Southwest had just 0.5 complaints per 100,000 passengers.)

  • Flight Problems (cancellation, delay, or misconnection): 435 / 55.7%
  • Reservation, Ticketing, Boarding: 93 / 11.9%
  • Fares: 55 / 7.04%
  • Refunds: 50 / 6.40%
  • Customer Service: 43 / 5.51%
  • Baggage: 41 / 5.25%
  • Over-Sales: 33 / 4.23%
  • Disability: 22 / 2.82%
  • Advertising: 1 / 0.13%
  • Other: 8 / 1.02%

Consumer Rankings, Ratings, Etc. 

It’s difficult to compile all the rankings, ratings, reviews and performance statistics into a single short synopsis, mainly because there are so many out there. Instead, we’ve listed a few of the more reputable options for a quick overview.

SkyTrax Ranking: 2 Star Airline (out of 5)

SkyTrax Customer Rating: 3/10 (average from 1,906 reviews)

ACSI Rating (American Customer Satisfaction Index): 61% (lowest of 12 largest U.S. carriers, 12mo ending March ’17)

AQR (Airline Quality Rating): 11th of 12 Overall, 12th of 12 Customer Satisfaction (of 12 largest U.S. carriers)

TripAdvisor Airline Review Rating: 2.5/5 (average from 4,283 reviews)

Kayak Customer Rating: 5.4/10 (average from 48,754 reviews)


Bureau of Transportation Statistics

  • Rate of Cancelled Flights: 3.37% (2017 year to date)
  • Average Departure Delay, All Flights: 12.76 minutes (2017 year to date)
  • Average Departure Delay, Late Flights: 65.49 minutes (2017 year to date)

Transportation.gov, Air Travel Consumer Reports

  • On Time Arrival Rate (Jun ’16-Jun ’17): 76%, 9th out of 12 reporting carriers
  • Number & Percentage of Reg. Sched. Flights Arriving Late 70% or More of the Time (Jun ’17): 14/445 or 3.1%
  • Mishandled Baggage Reports Filed by Passengers (Jan-May 2017): 17,253 per 10,805,441 passengers, or 1.60 in 1,000
  • Passengers Involuntarily Denied Boarding (Jan-Jun 2017): Worst of 12 reporting carriers at 1.06 per 100,000 passengers
  • Most Chronically Delayed Flight (May/Jun 2017): Spirit 876, FLL>EWR at 87%/80% of flights delayed by 103.7/86.58 minutes

Best/Worst Lists

(B) Spirit Press Release: As of year-end 2016, Spirit’s Fit Fleet™ averaged 5.2 years, the youngest fleet of any major U.S. airline.

(W) The Points Guy Best & Worst Airlines: 10th out of 10 (i.e. the worst of 10 largest U.S. airlines, 2017 report)

(W) WalletHub 2017’s Best Airlines: 11th out of 12 (i.e. the second worst of 10 largest U.S. airlines & 2 regional carriers)

In Favor of Spirit Airlines

While the Spirit Airlines conversation usually trends toward the negative side, there are a number of reviews supporting Spirit Airlines.

Spirit Airlines Plane
Image Credit: Spirit.com

People who speak positively about Spirit seem to be those who know exactly what they want out of a cheap flight: getting from Point A to Point B, and that’s about it. They’re expecting a stripped down experience, and they’re expecting to encounter some surprise fees during the booking process.

They know what to pay for and when to pay for it, as well as where and what time to fly in order to secure some seriously cheap fares.

You can find people like The Points Guy (whose report lists Spirit as the worst of 10 largest U.S. airlines) telling you why “I flew Spirit Airlines and Kinda Liked It.”

LifeHacker teaches you “How to Fly Spirit Without Losing Your Mind,” noting that as much as they hate the airline itself, the prices are awesome.

One Huffington Post contributor has written a post to explain “Why I Continue To Fly Spirit Airlines Despite All The Reasons People Think I Shouldn’t.”

So…there are a few brave souls out there who will publicly vouch for Spirit.

Final Thoughts

All in all, there are a number of factors that consistently land Spirit in the proverbial hot seat when it comes to customer satisfaction. Ticketing options are limited, extra fees abound, seat specs are tight, and inflight amenities are certainly lacking. Not to mention that the general consensus surrounding flying Spirit seems to be: don’t.

However, if you’re looking for an especially cheap fare, don’t mind a bare bones flight experience, and aren’t too bothered about potential complaint-worthy hiccups, by all means…go ahead and book yourself a Spirit Airlines flight!

Frequently asked questions

How much does Spirit Airlines charge for baggage fees?

During BookingBefore/During
Online Check-In
Reservation Desk
At the Gate
Carry-On$26 / $35$36 / $45$55 / $55$65 / $65
1st Checked Bag$21 / $30$31 / $40$50 / $50$65 / $65
2nd Checked Bag$31 / $40$41 / $50$60 / $60n/a
Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin currently maintains her status as Alex's adventure-seeking partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points through in-depth content creation & relationship management.
She caught the travel bug just after high school when her grandmother took her on a two-week, whirlwind trip around Europe. That was that - she's been gallivanting around the globe ever since (26 countries & counting)!

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. Fabiola Anixter June 7, 2018

    I’m flying with my dog in Sept 2018 and he weighs 17 lbs and he fits in the bag approved by the airline. However, should I spend the extra money to purchase the big front seat with Spirit airlines so he can have more room? Please advise.


    • Hi Fabiola, this is HIGHLY DEPENDENT on which plane model you’re flying on! PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that if you choose a bulkhead seat (one where there is no seat in front of you) all of your belongings must go into an overhead compartment – you can’t keep anything at your feet and the space under your seat is reserved for the passengers sitting behind you.

      If you are flying on an A320 V1 or A321 V1, there are only 4 “Big Front” seats and these are at the bulkhead so this could be a big no-go. If you are flying on an A319, A320 V2 or A321 V3, these have a select number of “Big Front” seats that aren’t at the bulkhead but these are VERY limited!

      I don’t know how Spirit Airlines deals with passengers who have brought a pet and have purchased one of these seats but with all the pet safety concerns on airlines recently, I wouldn’t risk it! If your pet fits in the approved sized pet carrier, it should fit comfortably under the seat in front of you regardless of which seat type you choose.

      Since we don’t know Spirit’s official policies on this subject, we would recommend calling Spirit Customer Care at 1-801-401-2222 and inquiring with them directly.


  2. Tiago Galdino Da La Silva December 11, 2018

    I arrived on Nov. 12, 2018 to Orlando on flight #433 from Boston, I was the last passenger out of the plane. When I got to baggage claim I realized I had left my new iPad and a towel on the aircraft. I immediately went to the counter and told them what happened. They send an employee from Spirit to go to the gate and see if he could locate my iPad and towel, he comes back and said that a airline employee saw the towel on the plane so he ask for some one go to get it inside the plane. They went then came out and said, “I’m sorry but I could not find it”, I call the police. He interviewed same personnel and they told him the same story. Unbelievable!!! Police Report was file and a complaint to Spirit Airlines too but no answer…
    wrote to Consumer Report and it’s published. next to go to the TV News!!!


  3. Stefanie Lange January 4, 2019

    We flew spirit in October 2018 for the first time. We went from Cleveland to Orlando. Our experience was great. Yes it’s only 40 lbs for a checked bag and if you want to sit together it’s extra, but the flight was great. We got there earlier than expected. The people were all very nice. Coming home they upgraded our seats plus we had tsa pre check. All in all a great experience.


  4. Sunshine Baxter August 16, 2019

    Your staff at the check in and baggage was very ride and stuck up. I really think your whole luggage rule really sucks and is ridiculous. My suitcase alone with nothing in it weighs about 10-15lbs and you say 40lbs max, well that leaves it it where I can barely put anything in it. Then if it’s over 50lbs it’s $55 and over 60 it’s $100. Plus a carry on bag $47, I mean that is a straight rip off. I think really need to check your employees for their rudeness. Really disappointing


    • Hi Sunshine,

      I’m sorry you had such a negative experience, that sounds very frustrating. But please be advised that we are not Spirit Airlines, we are Upgraded Points. If you’d like to bring these concerns up to Spirit Airlines you can contact their customer support number at (801) 401-2222.

      Thanks for reading!


  5. Robert McWilliams November 8, 2019

    I’m trying to book a flight but don’t remember my password. How do I change my password?


    • Hi Robert,

      We do not represent Spirit Airlines, we are Upgraded Points, a website that publishes helpful travel information. With that said, there should be a link for you to click on the login page that says “forgot password”, which will allow you to reset it. If you need further assistance I suggest you contact the Spirit customer service team directly.


  6. What is flight flex?


  7. Lora Britton January 7, 2020

    I just received on update on an upcoming flight…the times are the same but they added Class T to my departure and Class R for return flight what does this mean?


    • Catherine Luther January 8, 2020

      Hi Lora,

      These would be airline booking codes. T indicates a discount economy fare and R would indicate that it’s a return fare.


  8. Flew from Baltimore to Orlando with a stop in Charleston. Other than the stop in Charleston it was not a bad flight. I’ve been on much worse that costs much more. I’d take this puddle jumper type flight over the drawn out standard any day of the week. A flight for those needing to get from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. This is my first of many flights between the 2 cities and my opinion may change, but as for now.. An OK flight


  9. Flew from Las Vegas to MSP airport flight 170.
    Pay for window seat, 30 min before landing flight attendants open overhead light in cabin so you can’t enjoy night views through the window. On top of that they are rude, they need to work on their customer service experience.


  10. Donna Gordon February 26, 2020

    On February 26th 2020, I happened to travel with Spirit Airlines via Bradley International airport. It was my first time traveling with Spirit and for all my years of traveling it was my best experience dealing with a ticketing staff. Armando is the kindest, most pleasant, and knowledgeable customer service rep. He was able to answer all my questions and willingly assisted me with my check in process. Thanks Armando, your kindness was much appreciated. Customer service at its best.


  11. brian a opert May 14, 2020

    Spirit shows a lot of fluff while screwing their passengers. I purchased a cheap nonrefundable one way ticket last January, and for obvious reasons canceled before my travel in April. They offer a one year credit – no refunds. Now that the world is beginning to get back on its feet, we know that we will never live the same life again. and a ticket that expires in January 2020 is the same as throwing $200 over my shoulder. Does ANYONE know what our world will look like in January 2020? So I called and asked for a refund (again). the agent read the script and bottom line – nope and no extensions. For the first time ever, the agent and I (we) are all in the same boat. And we discussed that. So, in an effort to see what they could do, the agent (Chris) had a supervisor call me back. Kier did call me and read the same script. And his response: tough! Use the ticket by January 2020 or you are out $200.00. The most amazing thing about this is that I purchased a comparable ticket on Southwest at the same time (for the return trip.) And today I was advised that Southwest’s “use in one year” policy has already been extended until – ready? – January 2022! I never even had to ask. Amazing what a REAL airline can do – Spirit sucks, always has and obviously always will suck! Stay away! And these pretty pictures offer zero but wallpaper. Money counts – cute pics don’t.


  12. I took a round trip flight to O’Hara from lax. Going was like being squished between two sumo wrestlers but bearable. My ticket covered one checked bag – no issues there until the return trip.
    I actually was concerned I had more weight so went to their sight the 2nd of October to confirm flight and check weight restrictions for a standard bag. The sight stated 50 lbs for standard NOT 40 lbs. I didn’t know the 40 lb restriction until I had to self check for baggage tags etc. they automatically charged for 44 lbs an additional $30.00. No option to weigh prior to check-in nor just take items out to meet weight.
    I tried to resolve the charge with the agent but she blew it off and had absolutely no idea what their site said. I guess they figured I’m a senile old person who just pulled that weight of 50 lbs out of thin air!! So screw the senior flyer. I contacted customer service today but obviously, their agents aren’t authorized to actually do anything to resolve or assist. Bad enough your herded like cattle, charged even for water but not ice (seems they have to load and serve that too so kinda blows that excuse on why they charge for water) and squeeze you into a spot where people even passing by hit you.
    I suggest anyone flying, they choose some other airline! Too bad Southwest doesn’t fly to O’Hare – they’d make a killing as everyone would bail on spirit! I’ve had two different experiences with spirit and both sucked! Never again – no future aggravating situations.


  13. Jennifer Pierce November 10, 2020

    Will I be charged for a carry on bag?


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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