I survived my first flight on Spirit Airlines and surprising to some, had a positive experience. I came to book Spirit when I was looking at options for a Sunday return from my extended weekend in Vegas. Spirit offered by far the best price/schedule option with a 9AM non-stop from LAS-CLE. I booked it for 9,079 Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points back it when Spirit was available on the Chase Travel Portal. Unfortunately with the switch to Expedia powering the back end, Low Cost Carriers such as Spirit are no longer available to book directly with UR points. If I paid cash the ticket would have cost $136. To me a small expenditure of UR points was a fair trade off for some extra cash to spend in Sin City.
I also booked the Spirit “Big Front Seat” (BFS) which is the first two rows of the A-320. Best I can describe it as a poor man’s first class. They look like a typical domestic first class seat but have a fixed headrest and do not have the ability to recline. Overall it was bearable for a ~3 hour flight. More than that or if it was overnight I would have at least wanted a neck pillow to help support my head.
Offsetting The Additional Fees
To help offset some of the fees I designated Spirit as the designated airline on my Amex Gold card. The Gold card reimburses $100 per year of airline fees so the $79 BFS and most of the $45 carry on bag fee was covered. Yes, I was even more of a penny pincher than your typical Spirit passenger. I just splurged on the lemonade Buzzball and cheese tray at 9AM, because Vegas.
- Convenient and cheap non-stop from LAS-CLE when the other guys have terrible options for both price and schedule.
- The Big Front Seat was pretty spacious and leg room was great.
- Flight attendants were very nice and quite humorous. We were greeted by “Welcome aboard to everyone and especially those who swore they would never fly Spirit again.”
- The flight arrived 30 minutes EARLY thanks to an OTD and a generous tailwind.
- The BFS not reclining made the 3+ hour journey a bit uncomfortable. It was straight up and even an inch or two of recline would have helped. The headrest was also fixed so it was not at all comfortable. Still it beat the 3-3 seating further back.
- The Spirit mobile app was abominable. My flight times were all jacked up and the mobile boarding pass refused to load. It’s not even worth messing with.
- Spirit gates are about as far away from the LAS Centurion Lounge as you can get. #firstworldproblems
- I would definitely fly Spirit again if price and schedule were advantageous.
If traveling alone again I would also opt for the BFS without a doubt. With my wife and two children, one who currently qualifies as a lap infant I think we could squeeze into a set of 3 seats adequately.
- Don’t trust the mobileapp. Print your boarding pass beforehand and use FlightAware, AwardWallet or other 3rd party app to keep updated with any changes.
The regular TSA lines at LAS were insane but thank the lord for precheck which got me through in 7 minutes. Even though it was heavily promoted, Clear was not necessary.