Spirit Airlines is one of the most well-known ultra low-cost carriers in the United States. The budget airline is able to offer some of the cheapest base fares by cutting back on amenities and charging fees for extras like seat assignments, carry-on bags, and in-flight snacks and drinks.
With rock-bottom fares comes a reputation for poor customer service and flying experiences. But is Spirit really as bad as some people make it seem? Here’s what Reddit users have to say about flying with the notorious budget carrier.
Overall Impressions from Redditors Who Have Flown Spirit
The general consensus on Reddit is that Spirit offers no frills, cramped flights with poor customer service, but it gets you from point A to point B cheaply if you read the fine print and come prepared. As one Redditor put it, “It’s like a flying Greyhound bus.”
Many Redditors who have actually flown Spirit say it’s really not a big deal:
- “Keep in mind it’s just transport from A to B and you’ll be fine.”
- “If it’s your first time flying it’ll probably be fine. If you’re used to other airlines then yes, Spirit sucks.”
- “You get what you pay for. If you keep that in mind, it’s really not a bad deal.”
However, travelers caution that things can go downhill fast if there are delays, cancellations, or other hiccups. Spirit’s lack of amenities, routing options, and concern for customers becomes much more noticeable:
- “The thing with Spirit is, you’ll be fine – until you won’t be.”
- “I don’t see myself using Spirit Airlines EVER again.”
- “Stay away!!!”
What to Expect When Flying Spirit
Here are some of the most common pieces of advice for travelers considering Spirit from top posts on Spirit subreddit:
- Read the fine print. Spirit charges for extras not included in the base fare, like seat assignments, large carry-ons, checked bags, and in-flight food and drinks. Know the rules to avoid surprises.
- Come prepared. Bring your own snacks, water, and entertainment. Some planes don’t have chargers or WiFi. Seats are cramped with limited recline.
- Pack light. Checked bags start at $35 each way while large carry-ons are $45-$65 per bag. Get by with just a personal item to avoid fees.
- Be ready for delays. Spirit has a high rate of delays and cancellations. They don’t offer amenities or rebook you when problems arise.
- Book direct flights when possible. Spirit has limited aircraft, routes, and flights each day. Connections or cancellations can leave you stranded.
- Fly Spirit for shorter trips. Most Redditors tolerate Spirit for flights under 3 hours. Longer flights or trips with many segments can mean multiplying frustrations.
- Don’t expect refunds. Spirit offers travel vouchers over refunds in many cases. Getting compensation for major delays or cancellations is an uphill battle.
Why Redditors Avoid Spirit
Here are some of the biggest complaints about Spirit shared by Reddit users:
- Unexpected fees at check-in and the gate for bags just slightly over the size limits
- Long lines and slow service when fees must be paid at the airport
- Extremely cramped seats with limited to no recline
- Rude staff and flight attendants
- Frequent delays and cancellations with no support or compensation
- Difficulty obtaining refunds rather than vouchers
- Stranded for days with no backup flight options
- Hidden fees for everything leading to higher costs than expected
- Policies that seem to scam rather than serve customers
- Damaged luggage with little recourse
- Stuck paying change fees after Spirit changes schedules
While some Redditors have had smooth flights on Spirit, the majority opinion is that it works only when everything goes perfectly. Even minor hiccups can lead to major frustration and disruption. Most advise paying a bit more for comfort, legroom, and customer service from another airline.
Tips for Using Spirit Without Too Many Headaches
For travelers willing to roll the dice on Spirit, Redditors offer tips to maximize the odds of a smooth trip:
- Book early when base fares are cheapest
- Print boarding passes early to avoid lines
- Measure and weigh bags to avoid surprises
- Arrive very early in case fees must be paid
- Have backup payment ready if Spirit credit fails
- Pack snacks, water, entertainment
- Download shows and playlists in advance
- Bring neck pillow, earplugs for discomfort
- Keep coordinating connections minimal
- Avoid checking bags if possible
- Book trips with flexibility
- Purchase travel insurance
- Fly direct when you can
- Consider upgrades if available
- Be polite but firm with staff
- Know compensation policies in advance
- Document everything just in case
While most Redditors advise avoiding Spirit if possible, some do successfully use the airline with proper preparation. For short, direct domestic flights, Spirit can offer the cheapest way from points A to B if you’re ready for an uncomfortable ride with poor service in exchange for base fare savings. Yet many warn the frustration is simply not worth the discount compared to other budget or major airlines.