The Guide to Flying Spirit Airlines


Searching for a flight somewhere and the cheapest flight is on Spirit Airlines? Spirit Airlines, known for being a no-frills budget airline, generally has some of the cheapest fares around. However, you should expect to pay a fee for things you typically would not on other airlines.

Let’s get started on some of the fees and how to avoid them.

$10 to print your boarding pass at the check-in counter.

If you check-in with an agent at the airport, it’s an additional fee to have them print your boarding pass. To avoid this fee, print your own boarding pass at home. There is sometimes a $2 charge to print at the airport kiosk, and you might get stuck paying the kiosk fee on the return trip if you don’t have access to a printer. However, in my experience checking in online and printing your boarding pass at the airport results in no additional fee.

$35-$100 for carry-on luggage.

Spirit will charge you for a carry-on luggage, whereas most airlines will not. If you intend to bring a carry-on with you, it is cheapest to pay at the time of booking. If you wait until arriving at the gate, it will be the most expensive.

Spirit Gate
Getting hit with this fee would've cost more than most Spirit fares.

You cannot get around the carry-on luggage fee, but Spirit does allow for a free “personal item” to be carried on board with you. The personal item can be no bigger than 16 x 14 x 12 inches, so grab that ruler and start measuring if you want to avoid this fee.

Measuring for Spirit Airlines person item
Finding a suitable bag.

Tip: A small purse and a backpack would count as two personal items, and therefore, one of those items will be a charged as a carry-on.

$30-$100 for checked baggage.

Slightly cheaper than paying for a carry-on, but make sure you pay during the time of booking if you want lowest price.

$1-$50 to pick your own seat.

On my last flight from New York to Chicago, it was a minimum of $8 to pick your own seat. However, if there is availability, Spirit will typically seat anyone on the same itinerary together. For people traveling on different itineraries, if you check in at the same time online, there is a good chance you will get seats next to, or at the very least, near one another.

$12-$100 for the “big front seat”.

There are bigger seats located in the front of the plane, and they could be worth it if you desire more comfort. There are no other amenities that come with being up front, so do not expect free snacks or beverages.

Snacks and drinks are not complimentary.

The prices charged aren’t excessive, but you can expect to pay for a few dollars for everything (including water).

Other things to know.

There are no amenities on this airline. There’s no Wi-Fi, no power outlets, reclining seats, or in-flight entertainment. It is like riding public transportation; it is bare bones and designed for people who only care about getting from point A to point B for the lowest cost. I generally do not mind the flight if it’s short in duration.

One thing to keep in mind is that if there are delays or flight cancellations, Spirit will not book you on another airline and their flights are generally limited. You may be stuck overnight in a particular location if there are issues with your flight. Keep this in mind if you are traveling for something important, like a wedding or job interview.

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