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

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Erin Miller

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An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publicat...
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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.

Have you ever wondered — how much does Spirit charge for baggage fees? Do you get snacks and drinks when you fly Spirit? How often is Spirit 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: N/A

Category: Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier

Frequent Flyer Program: Free Spirit

Tag Line: “Less Money. More Go.”

About/Mission Statement: “We live for More Go. It’s the big idea behind our business model, making it possible for more people to travel to more places, more often. And it’s what inspires us to Invest In The Guest, going beyond low fares to discover more ways to make our unique brand of customizable travel a great personal experience too.” (source)

Daily Flights: 500+ (pre-COVID-19)

Destinations: 65+ (U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean)

Fleet: 150+ planes

Main Hub: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International (FLL)

FAQ Guide: Frequently Asked Questions About Flying Spirit Airlines

Spirit Ticketing Options

Spirit check in
Customer checking in on Spirit Airlines. Image Credit: Spirit

Standard Fare

Spirit Airlines prides itself on offering “unbundled” fares. In a nutshell, this means advertising the lowest possible rate as a base fare. Spirit then gives customers the ability to add options that it calls À La Smarte options.

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.

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

Spirit Saver$ Club

Spirit advertises a Spirit Saver$ Club (formerly known as the $9 Fare Club) that it claims gives customers exclusive access to some of the lowest fares available, as well as discounted baggage fees, seats, Flight Flex, Shortcut Security, and Shortcut Boarding. It also claims that Spirit Saver$ Club members are privy to special deals only available to members.

The cost of the program is $69.95 for 12 months, $99.90 for 18 months, or $129.90 for 24 months. The club’s discounts are also applicable for up to 8 persons on your itinerary if reserved under the same booking confirmation number.

Hot Tip: 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.

Spirit Frequent Flyer Program

Spirit debuted a new and improved Free Spirit loyalty program in 2021, adding new perks like accelerated points earning, seat and baggage benefits, the ability to pool points with family and friends, and a longer expiration date for points.

Free Spirit is free to join and you can earn points by flying on Spirit, spending on its Bank of America co-branded credit cards, or participating with its partner programs.

You can redeem Free Spirit points on award flights or with select partner products and services.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our in-depth article on Spirit’s Free Spirit loyalty program.

Spirit Baggage and Other Fees

spirit bag drop
Image Credit: Spirit

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 its standard 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 inches
  • Standard Carry-On: 22 x 18 x 10 inches
  • Checked Bag: max linear dimensions of 62 inches, max weight of 40 pounds

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.

SCROLL FOR MORE
During BookingBefore/During
Online Check-In
Airport
Reservation Desk
At the Gate
Carry-On$26 / $35$36 / $45$55 / $55$65 / $65
First Checked Bag$21 / $30$31 / $40$50 / $50$65 / $65
Second Checked Bag$31 / $40$41 / $50$60 / $60N/A
Spirit Saver$ Club / Standard Fare

Other Fees

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 and Big Front Seat: Unless you pay an extra fee, Spirit randomly assigns you a seat at check-in. It 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 $1 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 inches of extra legroom (see seat specs below). Since these seats are limited (usually 4 to 10 per plane), you can expect the cost to fall between $12 to $150 in advance or $25 to $175 as an onboard upgrade. This price is based on availability and flight length.

Boarding Pass: Let’s be clear here: when flying Spirit, check-in online and print your boarding pass at home or select an email boarding passIf 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 its check-in counters. Spirit argues that it utilizes more of its time and resources to print a pass at the airport, so that’s why it charges for it.

Refreshments Onboard: 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 $8 to $11 for alcoholic beverages and snacks vary from $3 to $8.

Modification Fees: These are fees applied to change or cancel your reservation. If you purchase Flex Flight for $35 to $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.

Update: Due to COVID-19, Spirit is waiving all change and cancellation fees for travel booked by March 31, 2021. Refunds will be processed as a full purchase price reservation credit.

Priority Boarding: Customers who wish to acquire Zone 2 priority boarding (Shortcut 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 Capital One cards allow you to redeem Capital One miles for 1 cent each as a statement credit for certain added fees (baggage, inflight purchases, etc.) purchased within 90 days.

TOP PICK
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros
  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • $395 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great welcome offer, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Frequent travelers with excellent credit may benefit from this credit card that offers a lot of bells and whistles. And it offers easy-to-understand rewards earning and redemption.

Pros
  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
Cons
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees
U.P. Rating 
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)
The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
20,000 miles
$360
$0
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Interested in a travel rewards credit card without one of those pesky annual fees? Then say hello to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card.

In addition to no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card offers no foreign transaction fees.

But is this card worth its salt, or is it merely a shell of the more popular Capital One Venture card?

Pros
Cons
  • Weak earn rate at 1.25x miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • No luxury travel or elite benefits
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; balance transfer fee applies
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Spirit Inflight Amenities and Seat Specs

What will my flight on Spirit look like?

Spirit cabin interior
Spirit cabin interior. Image Credit: Spirit

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

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-inch pitch, 18.5-inch width
  • Standard economy seats — 28-inch pitch, 17.75-inch width
SCROLL FOR MORE
 StyleTotal Number
of Seats
Big Front SeatsEconomy Seats
Airbus A319-10014510135
Airbus A320-200 (Layout 1)1828174
Airbus A320-200 (Layout 2)1740174
Airbus A320neo1828174
Airbus A321-2002288220

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, it is working hard to change the narrative.

Spirit Airlines Flight Attendants
Image Credit: Spirit

Spirit’s new tactic involves talking up its standard 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 its 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 its 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 its “no refunds” policy, Spirit claims it’s “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 and Transparency: One thing you can’t fault Spirit on is its honesty. It is very clear on its website that it is attempting to offer the best possible price by cutting unnecessary expenditures. It even states it’s 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 December 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report filed by the DOT ranks Spirit Airlines as having the fourth-highest number of consumer complaints across 13 reporting U.S. carriers (for October 2020).

For October 2020, there were 109 complaints out of 1,519,759 system-wide enplanements, or 7.17 complaints per 100,000 passengers. By comparison, Southwest had just 1.34 complaints per 100,000 passengers.

  • Flight Problems (cancellation, delay, or misconnection): 5 / 4.6%
  • Oversales: 1 / 0.9%
  • Reservation, Ticketing, Boarding: 8 / 7.3%
  • Fares: 6 / 5.5%
  • Refunds: 67 / 61.5%
  • Customer Service: 8 / 7.3%
  • Baggage: 6 / 5.5%
  • Disability: 6 / 5.5%
  • Other: 2 / 1.8%

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: 3 Star Airline (out of 5)

SkyTrax Customer Rating: 3/10 (average from 3,402 reviews)

ACSI Rating (American Customer Satisfaction Index): 65 (lowest of 12 largest U.S. carriers in 2020)

AQR (Airline Quality Rating): 8th of 10 Overall

TripAdvisor Airline Review Rating: 3/5 (average from 21,702 reviews)

Performance

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

  • Percent Flights Canceled: 2.31% (2020)
  • Average Departure Delay, All Flights: 3.8 minutes (2020)
  • Average Departure Delay, Late Flights: 59.63 minutes (2020)

Final Thoughts

Spirit Airlines Plane
Image Credit: Spirit

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.

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?

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.

SCROLL FOR MORE
During BookingBefore/During
Online Check-In
Airport
Reservation Desk
At the Gate
Carry-On$26 / $35$36 / $45$55 / $55$65 / $65
First Checked Bag$21 / $30$31 / $40$50 / $50$65 / $65
Second Checked Bag$31 / $40$41 / $50$60 / $60N/A
Spirit Saver$ Club / Standard Fare

Where does Spirit Airlines fly?

Spirit flies to over 65 destinations across the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean.

How bad is Spirit Airlines?

The December 2020 Air Travel Consumer Report filed by the DOT ranks Spirit Airlines as having the fourth-highest number of consumer complaints across 13 reporting U.S. carriers (for October 2020), with refunds being the top complaint.

How often is Spirit Airlines delayed?

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics:

  • Percent Flights Canceled: 2.31% (2020)
  • Average Departure Delay, All Flights: 3.8 minutes (2020)
  • Average Departure Delay, Late Flights: 59.63 minutes (2020)

Why is Spirit Airlines so cheap?

Spirit attempts to offer the best possible price by cutting unnecessary expenditures — seat specs are tight and inflight amenities are certainly lacking.

What is Spirit Airlines' frequent flyer program?

Spirit debuted a new and improved Free Spirit loyalty program in 2021, adding new perks like accelerated points earning, seat and baggage benefits, the ability to pool points with family and friends, and a longer expiration date for points.

Free Spirit is free to join and you can earn points by flying on Spirit, spending on its Bank of America co-branded credit cards, or participating with its partner programs.

You can redeem Free Spirit points on award flights or with select partner products and services.

Erin Miller's image

About Erin Miller

An experienced points hacker, Erin is Alex’s partner-in-crime and contributes to Upgraded Points with in-depth guides and relationship management. Erin’s work has been cited in multiple major publications.

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