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The Ultimate Guide To Flying Spirit Airlines With Kids [2024]

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Ashley Onadele
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Ashley Onadele

Senior Content Contributor

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Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerou...
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Keri Stooksbury

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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The ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines is both beloved and loathed. Despite the headache of having to pay for each amenity, Spirit continues to be the airline of choice for many, including families.

Ticket prices are often favorable, and with a growing number of destinations serviced by the airline, it’s no wonder it’s so popular. But buyer beware: Spirit Airlines charges for a carry-on, to select a seat, to print your boarding pass at the airport, and more. But if you’re prepared for these expenses or have a plan to avoid them, you may still come out ahead, even when traveling with a family.

Here’s everything you need to know about flying Spirit Airlines with kids.

Where Spirit Airlines Flies

Spirit Airlines is based in Florida but flies throughout the U.S. and internationally. The airline’s international destinations include points in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, including Punta Cana and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Cartagena, Colombia; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The airline has 2 hub airports: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).

Spirit Airlines is not part of any airline alliance and does not have any airline partners.

Family at airport in front of Spirit plane
Spirit Airlines has a signature bright yellow color. Image Credit: Spirit Airlines

Free Spirit Loyalty Program

Free Spirit, Spirit Airlines’ loyalty program, allows travelers to earn points to redeem for flights on Spirit Airlines. Points can be earned by flying with the airline, paying for add-ons such as seat selection, spending on a Spirit Airlines credit card, and more. The program conveniently rewards you based on dollars spent with the airline and select partners versus miles flown.

Flights can be redeemed for as few as 2,500 Free Spirit points. As long as you continue to earn or redeem points, spend with a partner within 12 months, or hold a Free Spirit credit card such as the Free Spirit® Travel Mastercard®, your miles won’t expire.

Elite Status

There are just 2 elite statuses in the Free Spirit program: Free Spirit Silver and Free Spirit Gold. You earn status by earning Free Spirit Status Qualifying Points (SQPs). SQPs are earned from every dollar spent on Spirit Airlines and an eligible Spirit credit card. It’s free to join the program.

Free Spirit Silver members have to earn 2,000 SQPs to receive this status. After that, they earn 8 points per dollar on fares and 16 points per dollar on ancillary purchases, including cruises, dining, and vacations. They also receive additional benefits such as a redemption fee waiver, exit row seat assignment, and same-day standby.

Free Spirit Gold members must have earned 5,000 SQPs. These members earn 10 points per dollar on fares and 20 points per dollar on ancillary purchases. They also receive all of the benefits of Free Spirit Silver members and other benefits, including Zone 1 boarding, a free checked bag, and a free carry-on bag.

Travelers without elite status can still earn points toward status as Free Spirit members. These members earn 6 points per dollar spent on fares and 12 points per dollar spent on ancillary purchases.

Family Pooling

Spirit allows Free Spirit members to pool their points together with friends and family. Each pool must have a Pool Pilot, and that person must either have Free Spirit Silver or Gold status or hold a Spirit credit card. There can be up to 8 friends and family in 1 pool. Pooled points can be redeemed for any member in the pool starting at 2,500 points.

Spirit Saver$ Club

Spirit Airlines offers a membership program called Spirit Saver$ Club that gives members flight discounts. Spirit Saver$ Club discounts apply to up to 8 people on the same reservation. In addition to discounted fares, members receive discounted bags, seats, shortcut security, shortcut boarding, and flight flex. You also receive exclusive savings from the airline’s partners.

Spirit Saver$ Club memberships are $69.95 per year, and students receive 30% off of memberships.

Spirit Airlines Lounges

Spirit Airlines does not operate its own airport lounges. However, you can get a Priority Pass for airport lounge access as a benefit with several credit cards. If you don’t have a Priority Pass from a credit card, you can sign up for a new account through Spirit’s online shopping portal and receive bonus points.

How To Book Spirit Airlines

You can book Spirit Airlines flights directly at Spirit.com. By searching for flights on a third-party site such as Google Flights, you can see how Spirit Airlines compares to other ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Frontier Airlines, on the same route.

Hot Tip:

You can often find even cheaper Spirit fares at the airport. If it’s worth your time and effort, purchase your ticket directly from the Spirit ticket counter.

Flying With Kids on Spirit Airlines

Traveling with kids on Spirit Airlines may save you some money, but don’t expect any frills or even guaranteed family seating with this airline. It’s easy to add a lap infant to your reservation at the time of booking, but that might be where the ease ends.

Flying With a Lap Child

When booking flights on Spirit’s website, you can add adults and children to the itinerary. Children are categorized as between ages 0 to 17 years old. Once you add a child to the search parameters, you’ll be asked to enter the child’s date of birth. From there, you can choose to get a seat for your infant or not.

Spirit Airlines screenshot
Spirit makes it easy to add a lap infant to your reservation at the time of booking. Image Credit: Spirit Airlines

You can check 1 stroller and 1 car seat per child for free. If traveling with a child under 2 years old, you can bring a diaper bag free of charge.

Priority Boarding for Families

Spirit has 6 boarding zones. Family boarding is technically the fourth boarding zone after preboarding, Zone 1, and Zone 2. Families are eligible for family boarding when traveling with children 3 years old or younger.

There are a few ways to move up in the boarding process to board in Zone 2. The first is to purchase Shortcut Boarding. Free Spirit Silver elites and Spirit credit cardholders also get to board during Zone 2. Free Spirit Gold elites board during Zone 1.

Unaccompanied Minors

Spirit flight attendant with boy
Children can fly as unaccompanied minors starting at age 5. Image Credit: Spirit Airlines

Children 5 to 14 years old traveling alone without an adult must travel under Spirit’s unaccompanied minors program. Minors can only fly on direct domestic flights, including flights to and from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Children 15 years or older can still fly as an unaccompanied minor, but it is not required to travel independently.

The unaccompanied minor fee is $150 per person each way.

Seating

Spirit Airlines does not have a family seating guarantee. Unless you elect to pay for a seat at the time of booking or at check-in, you’ll have to ask a gate agent or flight attendant to find seats together. They will try to find adjacent seats for children 13 years old or younger traveling with an accompanying adult.

Spirit is an all-economy airline, but it has what it calls a Big Front Seat. A Big Front Seat is wider and provides more legroom than the standard seat. You can reserve this seat type during or after booking. Big Front Seats can cost $12 to $900, even when purchased in advance.

Spirit Big Front Seat
Spirit’s Big Front Seat is a comfortable way to fly this ultra-low-cost airline. Image Credit: Spirit Airlines

Snacks and Beverage Service

Spirit Airlines does not offer any complimentary inflight food or beverages. You can, however, purchase snacks and drinks either individually or bundled. For-purchase snacks include M&Ms, Pringles, Cheez-It, and Brownie Brittle. You can purchase coffee, tea, wine, spirits, and beer onboard as well.

Free Spirit Gold members get a free snack and drink.

Onboard Amenities

Spirit has Wi-Fi starting at $3.99 per flight.

Hot Tip:

Even though Spirit charges for à la carte items like bags and seats, you can find out how much add-ons will cost using Spirit’s calculator. You can also conveniently calculate how much you’ll spend when bringing a bag on a new trip or adding one to an existing trip.

Inflight Entertainment

Spirit does not have complimentary inflight entertainment. However, you don’t need Wi-Fi if you load games, TV, and movies to your devices before you fly. You could also purchase Wi-Fi and stream entertainment on your own device.

Spirit Airlines Credit Cards

There are 2 Spirit Airlines co-branded credit cards: the Free Spirit card and Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard®.

The Free Spirit card earns 2 points per dollar spent on eligible Spirit purchases and 1 point per dollar on everything else. Cardholders receive 5,000 bonus points each year on their account anniversary when they spend at least $10,000 on the card in a year. There is no annual fee for this card.

The Free Spirit World Elite card earns 3 points per dollar on eligible Spirit purchases, 2 points per dollar spent on eligible dining and grocery store purchases, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. After spending at least $5,000 on the card in a year, you’ll get a $100 companion flight voucher. This card also gets you closer to elite status by earning 1 SQP for each $10 you spend on the card. There is a $0 Introductory Fee for the first year. After that, $79.

Final Thoughts

Even though it’s an ultra-low-cost carrier whose initial price isn’t what it seems, Spirit Airlines continues to be a popular airline for travelers. As with other carriers in the class, there are ways to save money when adding amenities like a carry-on bag. Spirit is here to stay and wants to grow its network and partners. It’s worth considering if you find a route and price you like, especially if it saves your family money at the end of the day.

The information regarding the Free Spirit® Travel Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Free Spirit® Travel More World Elite Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Spirit Airline child friendly?

That depends on what you consider “child friendly.” The airline does not charge extra to check a stroller or car seat, and a diaper bag is also free. Family boarding is available for those traveling with children 3 years old or younger. The airline also has an unaccompanied minor program. However, there’s no guaranteed family seating, so if you want to be sure you’ll sit together, you should pay for to select your seats.

Does Spirit Airlines sit kids with parents?

If you do not purchase a seat for your family during or after booking, you may not be able to sit together. You will have to wait to speak with a gate agent or even a flight attendant to find adjacent seats next to an accompanying adult for children 13 years old or younger.

What documents do I need to fly with a child on Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Airlines may ask to see documentation of your child’s age. Acceptable documentation include a birth certificate or passport.

Does Spirit let kids fly free?

Children from 7 days old until their second birthday may fly as a complimentary lap child on Spirit.

Ashley Onadele's image

About Ashley Onadele

Ashley discovered a love for travel in college that’s continued as her family has grown. She loves showing parents how they can take their families on trips using points and has contributed to numerous publications and podcasts.

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