Fast Facts About Spirit Airlines Fees
- Spirit Airlines fares are low, but don’t represent the total amount you’re going to have to pay.
- First among Spirit Airlines fees is baggage—how much do you plan to take with you?
- You can also expect to pay Spirit Airlines fees for inflight food and drink.
- Want to choose your seat? Spirit Airlines charges a fee for seat assignment, and a higher one for so-called “Big Front” seats.
- Print your boarding pass at home to avoid paying a $10 fee at check-in
- Members of Spirit’s “$9 Fare Club” can save on Spirit Airlines fees of all sorts.
- Spirit Airlines fees are high, but not entirely dissimilar from the ones full-service carriers have introduced for their “Basic Economy” fares.
Spirit Airlines Baggage Fees
Baggage fees are the quickest way to add to your Spirit Airlines fare, but if you’re strategic they’re among the best means of keeping it low. The Spirit Airlines “Bare Fare” includes on free “personal item” with maximum dimensions of 18″ x 14″ x 8″ as of July 2018, while prices for checked bags range from $30-50, depending whether you pay for your bag online in advance or at the airport during check-in.
Spirit Airlines fees for bags double at the gate (to $100), so if you suspect your bag is too big to carry on, don’t make the mistake of walking through security with it. Click here to read Skyscanner’s article on baggage fees, which breaks down baggage fees across many US airlines and provides best practices for lowering baggage costs, no matter which one you fly.
Inflight Food and Drink Prices on Spirit Airlines
Spirit offers a variety of refreshments onboard its planes, but you will need to pay Spirit Airlines fees for anything you consume in the air. Soft drinks range in price from $2-3, while beer, wine and spirits cost between $7-8 and snacks can run you anywhere from $3 for a can of Pringles to $7 for a cheese tray. Spirit offers “Perfect Pairings” of food and drinks that price out at anywhere from $12-18 each.
Somewhat inconveniently, you aren’t currently able to pre-book food and drink on Spirit Airlines, though if other ultra-low cost carriers are anything to go by, this feature should become available in the future. Regardless of what you choose to buy on board your Spirit Airlines flight, remember that only credit and debit card payments are accepted.
Fee for Choosing a Spirit Airlines Seat
Spirit is an all-economy airline, but not all seats on the plane are created equally. Spirit Airlines offers “Big Front” seats that, as their name suggests, are larger than ordinary seats and are located near the front of the plane. It would be a stretch to call these seats business class or even Premium Economy, though they will certainly be worth the fee to sit in them (anywhere from $20-50, depending on the flight) to certain customers.
Spirit Airlines fees to select an ordinary seat in advance start at $5, while emergency exit seats can be had for as little as $10 extra. As is the case with baggage, it’s more expensive to select your seat at the airport, so choosing yours in advance can save you money on your Spirit Airlines ticket.
Spirit Airlines Boarding Pass Fee
Not surprisingly, one of the least popular Spirit Airlines fees among travelers is the boarding pass fee, which sees passengers who need to check in at the airport charged a whopping $1 for the printing of their boarding pass. Even if you have to visit a print shop like FedEx if you don’t have a printer at home, this is likely still a better deal than getting hosed at the airport, especially considering that you have a full 24 hours before your Spirit flight to take care of online check-in.
Save on Spirit Airlines Fees by Joining the “$9 Fare Club”
The bad news? Spirit Airlines’ $9 Fare Club doesn’t guarantee you $9 airfares or even offer you to them that often. The good news? Membership in the club, which starts at $59.95 annually, can make a serious dent in the Spirit Airlines fees you pay, particularly if you fly the airline frequently and check a lot of bags.
Specifically, $9 Fare Club members (and everyone traveling on itineraries booked in their name) can save up to 50% on baggage as compared to prices at the airport. Additionally, $9 Fare Club members receive exclusive access to low promotional fares, even if they aren’t actually $9 in the vast majority of cases.
Comparing Spirit Airlines Fees to Other Airlines
In the past, you could very easily argue that some Spirit Airlines fees were a rip off, since when you’d add baggage and seat fees to them they’d compare to legacy airline prices. For example, a $39 IAH-LAX flight on Spirit with $50 worth of baggage, a $10 seat fee and $18 worth of food and beverage actually costs you $117, which is similar to American’s or United’s promotional fares from Houston.
However, as full-service airlines adopt what might be called the “Spirit Model,” and charge for extras that were formerly free (some have even introduced a new bare-bones “Basic Economy” fare class), the difference between flying Spirit and, say, Delta comes down to a more versatile frequent flyer program and less garish planes. Search the latest Spirit Airlines prices on Skyscanner.
The Bottom Line
If you don’t carefully calculate Spirit Airlines fees before you book, you might end up paying too much for your flight. However, if you take steps to save on fees for baggage, seat selection, refreshments and even printing your boarding pass, you can enjoy the savings Spirit Airlines promises. Indeed, thanks to the introducing of “Basic Economy” fares by Spirit’s legacy competitors, the ultra-low cost carrier with bold yellow planes seems like a more attractive option than ever.