In the Spirit of Travel — How to Travel Spirit Airlines

On April 22, 2015 by JBS

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Travel can be amazing and agonizing all at the same time.  Amazingly filled with excitement and anticipation.  Seeing new places, faces, things, or even familiar ones.  Whatever the reason for where you go, there’s one feeling no one wants to know on the journey.  The antagonizing antecedent to an awful experience.  Usually attributed to aches in the act and expenditures of travel.  Alright, enough high school vocabulary now…

We’ve all been there.  The unexpected expense.  Ah heck, you may totally be expecting it, like in the midst of your strictly-budgeted much-needed vacation.  Parking costs, taxi fares, baggage fees, meal prices, can all give you sticker shock, but what are you supposed to do?  Fly across the country with just the clothes on your back?  Not likely.

Vacations are almost always on a budget.  If yours isn’t, then lucky you, but in the real world we are all searching for a deal in the spirit of travel.  Spirit Airlines knows that and has adapted this to their entire business philosophy.  I just happen to be lucky enough to have the insider’s scoop on flying this budget-friendly bare-fare airline and it really is as good as it sounds.

 Step One: Buy your tickets at the counter.

This is crucial.  Do not skip this step!  If you’ve searched flights on any travel site, or even Spirit’s own site, you’ve noticed their fares are almost always the lowest.  But wait!  There’s a way to get them even cheaper.  No I’m not talking about getting their credit card or paying for the $9 fare club.  You can still get those rates if you do as I do.  Buy your tickets straight from the source.  Go to your local Spirit Airlines counter and buy right from an agent.  Yes, you’ll probably have to park short term at the airport and pay a small fee, but $2 parking is worth the vast savings.  Spend some to save a ton?  Done!  As they gladly advertise, you just pay for your a** and gas.

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See the total?!  That’s round trip across a few states for myself and my lap infant.

***See update below…

Step Two: Plan your packing carefully.

Spirit Airlines is famous for their bare fares.  Where they get their biggest criticism is charging for absolutely everything else.   Not kidding.  I think the only thing free might be a napkin.  If you really look like you need it and the flight attendants take pity on you that is.  Not a problem though if you plan ahead.  Spirit lets you take 1 ‘personal item’ per person.  This is not like other airlines that allow 1 ‘carry on’ and 1 ‘personal item’.  Don’t get confused.  You may only carry 1 thing/bag onto the plane.  So ladies, your purse is it, unless you can stuff it into another bag.  The specifics of the bag are 16” x 14” x 12”.  In conversational terms though, any normal sized bag, backpack, duffel bag, etc as long as it does not have wheels and will go under the seat in front of you, will be allowed for free.

If you can’t fit all you’ll need into that personal item, then pay for your bag when you check in online!  This is the best way to pay for your bag to fly, if you skip this step (like I sadly did once) you’ll be sorry.  It could cost you $100+!  And be sure to keep any bag under 25 pounds.  You’ve been warned.

Step Three: Print Boarding Pass at Home

If you have the means to check in and print for yourself, do it.  If not, it is $10 using the kiosk or an agent at the airport.

Step Four: Pack a Snack

Is $7 for a can of soda and a bag of M&M’s reasonable?  No way!  That’s extortion at 32,000 feet and the airlines know it.  Stash a few easy snacks in your bag and buy a bottle of water once you get through TSA.  Even better, bring an empty water bottle (like this one I use) and fill up once you’re through security at a watering fountain.  They are not germy like we all have come to think, trust me or google it yourself.

 That’s it.  Try it and you’ll be glad.  You will rave about Spirit instead of being one of the uninformed whiners that ranked them lowest for customer satisfaction.  The company spokesperson, Paul Berry, even explains their pricing structure is unique and can strike some as shocking and unsatisfying if you don’t expect it.  I’m glad to be hip to their game and able to use their services to see my friends and family.  Never again will travel be too expensive to enjoy some down time and see people I love.

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Do you have any Spirit or other tips for travel?  Where do you like to go?

Read more on Spirit’s website and safe travels to you!

Coming soon, my Not What You’ve Heard Before Tips for Air Travel With a Baby!

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***Here’s another receipt for different travel months and months later…further proof that this works!  If you do this send me your receipt, it would make my day!***

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