Floron F. writes: I traveled Spirit roundtrip twice this year with my two teenage kids. I guess we were lucky because we had no problems. No delays. No lost luggage. Actually, the experience was a positive. The Spirit people were very pleasant, and we saved a lot of money. Again, we must have been lucky.
I knew Spirit was a budget airline so that raised a red flag, and thus I made sure to research them thoroughly including carefully reading their website and also reading the many negative reviews online, as well as articles such as "how to beat Spirit at their own game." I did not join their $9 club. I also ignored all of their annoying marketing.
One thing I noticed on the Spirit website is the big bold letters staring you in the face stating that a carry-on costs and that it costs more if you wait to pay for it. Also, the blatant notice making readily apparent they charge $10 to print your boarding pass (free at the kiosk). I just printed mine at work (wow, complicated).
Anyway, when I went through their on-line reservation process online, it was so clear and easy. They hold your hand. They take you through the screens asking about paying luggage and paying for reserving a seat.
At the airport, I noticed at the check-in and gate, the Spirit workers bending over backwards to work with the travelers who were clueless about paying for a carry-on. I guess the travelers did no research or couldn't read, and had just accepted the incredibly low fare..
On both roundtrip flights, we reserved a seat ($10/each), carried a personal bag ($0) (no carry-on), shared a checked suitcase ($30 which works out to $10/each), and on the plane paid $5/each for coke/snack. To splurge, on one leg of each trip, paid +$50/each to get the wide leather seats up front with more leg room.
The regular seats were small and could not recline, but I found them acceptable even for a big and tall guy like me for flights less than 3 hours, especially because I could sit in a 3-seat section with my two kids. However, in the future, I will likely always pay for the wider $60 seats ($10 reserve + $50) up front if I fly Spirit, especially if I can't share a section with known people..
The total air cost with Spirit was a quite a savings compared to cost of the full-service airline (I had initially planned to take the full-service airline and will do so in the future if the full-service cost is competitive or if I start to have negative experiences with Spirit).
For our two roundtrips, the Spirit cost per person worked out as: --the base fare (incredibly cheap) --$20 (checked suitcase shared between 3 people both ways) --$20 (reserved seat both ways) --$50 (wider seat up from with more leg room on half the trip) --$10 (coke/snack both ways).
Thus, the extra cost per person over the base fare for each roundtrip was $100.
Saved a lot of money flying Spirit. Saved about $700 total for the 3 of use per roundtrip. Made it more feasible for me and my kids to take the trip.