It can be easy to assume that if an item is cheaper, it’s not as good. In the case of Spirit Airlines, you’re wrong.
I had a chance to fly Spirit recently, at a price that seemed totally absurd: $79 roundtrip from Denver’s DIA to O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Husband had a lot of fun with this. “D’ya think you have to pay extra for a seat?” he teased. “Sure,” I said, “unless you get to stand along the walls, strapped up like an amusement park ride.”
I figured he was wrong. (After all, how many people can you fit on a Round-up ride?) But after comfortable seats, polite staff and a ride to Chicago that was just fine, I wondered: why are the other airlines charging so much, if Spirit has the same service for such a low price?
Spirit Airlines Add-ons
There are some caveats – starting with luggage. It not only costs $30 or more to check a suitcase (figures, right?) – but a carry-on also merits a fee. And forget deciding to check a suitcase at the last minute – it’s a hefty $100. You can bring on a tote bag, laptop case or backpack for no extra charge, plus personal items like your lunch or a newspaper. Certainly Spirit makes up some of the lost money this way.
The other issue is timing. At least in Denver, Spirit only makes one flight a day to/from Chicago. If your schedule doesn’t accommodate that flight, too bad. I shudder to think, as well, what the Spirit people will do during bad weather, when there are no other flights to ship people out on.
My Overall Experience With Spirit Airlines
That being said, my experience with Spirit Airlines was positive all the way. I was careful to bring a smaller tote bag (I only needed a laptop and a few changes of clothes), but saw plenty of people hauling on larger backpacks that could have easily fit a week’s worth of stuff. The plane was a direct flight, left on time and arrived early. I soon found myself walking the hallways at O’Hare, knowing that the others trudging alongside had probably paid double or triple fares, compared to mine. Whoopee!!
P.S. If you’re a frequent traveler, Spirit also has a $9 Fare Club plan that lets you fly for even less. It costs $59.95 a year, but you’ll soon make it up in savings on flights and checked luggage. (Yes, there’s a discount for that, too.) No pay or incentives for writing this review – Spirit Airlines is just a great new frugal way to make your travel dollars go further. Go take a look at Spirit Airlines’ website for more.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com