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Friends Don’t Let Friends Fly Spirit Airlines

I have not flown Spirit Airlines. I want to – just once – to say I did. Until I do, I’ve asked my friend, Erin Riley, to report back on her recent experience with this airline.

Spirit Airlines Logo

Erin is an experienced traveler. She travels extensively for pleasure and for work including remote places in Indonesia, China, and Thailand. As a result, I trust Erin’s opinions when it comes to traveling. Based on her recent experience with this $h!t-show of an airline, Erin wants to warn you: Regardless how good the price may look, DO NOT fly this airline.

According to Erin, it all started going downhill when she gloated to her colleague, “I’m going to Vegas, baby!” Her colleague asked, “Are you driving or flying?” Erin responded, “Flying, we got a good deal on Spirit Airlines.” Her colleague paused and then let out an “Oh.”

Erin booked her tickets on orbitz.com and nowhere during the process was she warned that you have to pay for a carryon bag. I mean, what airline charges to carryon your own bag, right? Indeed, once Erin logged into spirit.com to manage her booking (which, by the way, you have to register to do), you will find an entire page dedicated to their fees, which they call their “optional fees”:

seat fees example

This is just ONE example of fees. The “Optional Fee” page is ENORMOUS.

When Erin arrived at the airport to checkin, she learned that she could pay $5 to have a person print out her boarding pass and check her bags or she could do it at a kiosk to for free.

At the kiosk, Erin learned that to check her bag it will cost her $45, but if she had done this online from home, it would have only cost her $30. Wha what??

Once Erin and her husband had shelled out enough money, they headed to the gate. Only there they learn that their 9:30 a.m. flight was delayed until 1:00 p.m. There were no explanations. No, “we’re sorry for the delay.” Nothing. Perhaps they should have driven (they live in southern California).

Once aboard, the entire plane was rumbling with expletives from angry passengers. Tempted to have a drink (they were headed to Vegas after all), Erin joked to her husband, “I bet they charge you for the liquor AND the mixer.” BINGO, Erin!


snack and drink fees example

Look how descriptive their “optional fees” are for snacks and drinks!

After a delightful start to her Vegas getaway, Erin had learned her lesson. She visited spirit.com to check her bag in advance for the return trip. After multiple attempts to do so, the website got “stuck” at the “submit” button. Great!

There was no “contact us” button on the website, so Erin had to call the Spirit Airlines Vacations number to get the phone number for customer service. Seriously.

When she finally got someone on the line, Erin told them her confirmation code and that she wants to check a bag. The agent states that her flight is delayed: “The December 14 flight has been delayed until 1:00 p.m.” Erin interrupted the agent, “Ma’am, today is the 16th; We already took the flight on the 14th.” Again, seriously.

At least the agent was able to process the bag check for Erin–all while letting Erin know that she would like to talk to Erin about a “special offer.” Erin had no interest as she just wanted to check her bag and go back to gambling. The agent argued with Erin and that she would really be interested in the offer. Erin broke down and hung up (she isn’t one of those people that explodes on customer service agents).

According to Erin, the only good part of the return trip was that the flight was on-time.

To sum it up, Erin says you get what you pay for: a whole lot of hidden fees, long delays, and poor customer service.

Doesn't this add really make you want to fly Spirit?

Doesn’t this add really make you want to fly Spirit?

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3 comments so far.
  • lol! Thanks for the heads up. And you’re right… naked, rotund, hairy man doesn’t exactly make me want to fly Spirit. Their marketing guy should be fired, but then again, it was probably an optional fee to have the man in the add clothed.

  • Spirit is at it again! Their new fare sale is called “‘No Hoax Here!’ Airfare Sale” making obvious reference in a new airfare sale to the confusing girlfriend hoax plaguing Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100391004

  • Pingback: Trip Report: AirTran Airways from Austin to Cancún | Justin Does...()

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