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Hot Take: I Love Spirit Airlines And I'm Not Ashamed To Admit It

Who needs a stale bag of pretzels when you can book a flight for $25, honestly?

I've flown all of the major airlines. This includes low-cost carriers like EasyJet, IndiGo, and Scoot, to the more luxurious (in my opinion) airlines like KLM and Lufthansa — but Spirit Airlines will forever be one of my favorites.

Conan / TBS / Via TBS

First of all, cheaper flights = more inclusive travel.

Spirit Airlines flight over Chicago
Rebecca Khera

I'm a major supporter of making travel as inclusive and accessible as possible, especially when it comes to price. It's now 2022 and I can regularly fly home to see family for less than it would cost me to get an Uber to the airport (RIP Uber pool).

I mean, I once booked a flight to Orlando for $25!

Spirit flight deals to Miami for $45 and New York for $53
Google Flights / Via

Yes, you read that right, $25!!!! And that wasn't some random one time flight deal.  I can easily fly from Nashville (which isn't a major hub) to many US destinations for less than $100. 

See: Miami for $45, New York for $53. And yes, that is roundtrip.

Let's debunk some common complaints when the topic of Spirit Airlines is brought up, shall we?

"It's cheap for a reason...💀"

Mix of dark and light clouds
Rebecca Khera

I hear this a lot. People claiming that they're terrified to fly Spirit because it's so dangerous.

If, like me, you're on travel Tiktok, you'll know what I'm talking about. People taking videos of bad turbulence, editing it to sounds of people screaming, then claiming it was "their last" Spirit Airlines flight. I've seen what seems like a dozen of these videos, and none of them were an actual Spirit flight.

The ongoing rhetoric of Spirit being a "dangerous" airline is simply untrue and high-key classist. Just because it's affordable for a wide range of people, doesn't mean it's cutting corners when it comes to safety. 

Spirit Airlines is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration — just like the more expensive airlines. So, it's obvious they've passed all the necessary safety standards.

"But the fare doesn't include bags!"

Rebecca Khera

I know you're all thinking it... luggage fees cost $30+ EACH WAY????

Yep! How else is a low-cost airline supposed to stay in business? They have to make money somehow. It's like dollar movie theaters — the movie ticket itself may be cheap, but their popcorn sure as hell ain't. 

And if you grew up pinching pennies, you'll know the best way to get around that is by bringing your own popcorn from home, or in this case, fly personal item only.

"The teeny tiny personal item, that's all that's included?"

Spirit Airlines' "Book it" fare
Spirit Airlines / Via

When you book a flight with Spirit you get two things:

1. A random seat (picking your seat is extra $$$)

2. A personal item, like a backpack or purse (a carry-on is $$ and a checked bag is $$$)

But the trick to traveling as affordably as possible is packing light. I have my personal item down to a science and am able to maximize the generous 18"x14"x8" of under-the-seat space.

An aside: My one rule when flying Spirit is to never pay for luggage.

Rebecca Khera

Spirit will always make their money off of people bringing multiple bags. But the good news is: You don't have to be one of them!

Since I'd much rather spend $50 doing something fun in my destination city than bringing a carry-on, I've learned to pack light. The first step to packing light is having the right personal item — this means knowing the measurements of the bag, and ensuring it fits the Spirit personal item size requirements (18"x14"x8").

My go-to bags are the Bento Bag from Nomad Lane or a hand-me-down Briggs and Riley backpack. Both fit under the seat, but still manage to hold plenty of stuff!

"Well, I didn't know bags weren't included!"

Prices for adding bags
Spirit Airlines / Via

Tbh I'm tired of people complaining about paying for bags. This is becoming common practice across most airlines, especially when booking the lowest fare.

If you really need an extra bag when flying Spirit, it's cheapest to buy it when you purchase your ticket. Buying it later is more expensive, and buying it at the airport is even more expensive. 

"No one told me bags were extra!" 🙄🙄🙄🙄

Spirit airlines "continue without bags" notification
Spirit Airlines / Via

People tend to feel blindsided by this, but I'm not sure how? Spirit Airlines is INCREDIBLY transparent about their pricing and additional fees. And they ask you at least three times during the booking process if you'd like to add bags. In order to get through the booking process, you literally need to press a button that says "continue without bags" and then get a pop-up where you need to click, "I DON'T NEED BAGS" to proceed.

"Surely Spirit Airlines has the smallest bag allowances there are?"

Spirit Airlines / Via, United Airlines / Via

NOPE! The personal item sizes for United and JetBlue are actually smaller than Spirit! And if you're flying their cheapest fares, Basic Economy or Blue Basic, you won't get a free carry-on either. But I don't see anyone making jokes about driving the plane yourself when flying JetBlue?

"Okay, but I hate waiting in those lines to drop my bags."

Passengers using Spirit self-bag check
Sopa Images / SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Maybe you don't have to! Did you know that a lot of Spirit's airports have self-check in and self-bag drop stations?

Spirit even won the 2022 APEX AWARD for Best Airport Innovation: First self-bag drop ‎off

Spirit offers passengers the ease of self-tagging their luggage to expedite the bag drop process. They have nearly 50 cities that offer self-tagging at the airport so you can save time and get to your gate quicker. No more waiting in that long line!

"Yeah, but they nickel and dime for you everything!" / Via

I prefer the term ✨à la carte✨

You only pay for what you want. No more paying for stale pretzels you won't eat and flat soda you'll only take three sips of. If you don't care where you sit (you're all going to the same place) and don't need to bring your entire closet, then you'll be the one saving the most money.

On the other hand, if you prefer three outfit changes a day and priority boarding, you can easily add on those options.

Before you book the ticket, calculate all your add-ons and see if it's still the best price. Sometimes flying Southwest or Alaskan ends up being the lowest cost option, and that's okay. But don't blame Spirit for allowing you to pay for what you want, no more and no less.

"Yeah, but Spirit airlines makes you pay for seats!"

Spirit seat map with prices for each seat
Spirit Airlines / Via

Yes and no. If you want to have a specific seat, you can choose that seat for an additional price. However, as a frequent Spirit flyer, if you check in early you will almost always get a window or aisle seat next to whoever you booked the flight with.

I've never once paid for my seat and when I fly with my partner, we have always been seated next to each other — or across the aisle from each other.

Also, after more than 30 flights, I've only been stuck in the middle seat once! And it was my fault for forgetting to check-in until just a few hours before.

And let's remember, Southwest doesn't even assign you a seat at all, but my Twitter feed is silent on Southwest.

"Well you do have to pay to check in at the airport! That's unheard of!"

Spirit check in page
Spirit Airlines / Via

This is likely their way of cutting down the number of people waiting in line at the check-in counter. So, honestly I'm grateful for it!

It's free to check-in online and via their mobile app. And you can always print your tickets at the digital kiosks in the airport.

I literally can't imagine choosing to have to talk to a human being IN PERSON. Just check in online, that way you can also get the good seats. 

"But they're constantly cancelling flights!"

Rebecca Khera

Who says? Twitter?

My biggest travel pet peeve is when people blame the airline for delays and cancellations. Oftentimes, delays and cancellations happen for reasons beyond the control of the airline. If a flight is delayed 10 hours due to weather, that should be a reason to thank the airline for choosing not to put you in danger, not a reason to hate the airline.

But there's also a whole host of reasons a flight could be cancelled. Whether there's a mechanical issue that needs to be fixed or your flight from Miami to Atlanta has been cancelled because the plane was grounded in Seattle due to a snow storm, it's not always the fault of the airline. Very rarely does an airline wake up and choose violence. Sometimes it's not a personal vendetta against Karen, but one of those things that's beyond anyone's control. 

"Yeah, but I bet Spirit is delayed more than other airlines."

Rebecca Khera

Nope. Spirit is actually ranked fourth in punctuality among North American airlines, beating out Southwest, United, American, JetBlue, Westjet, and Allegiant.

Looks like they're doing well with their on-time departure ratings.

"But the planes are old and rickety..."

Spirit plane flying
Rebecca Khera

Actually, Spirit Airlines is known for having one of the newest fleets there is. Every single Spirit plane is an Airbus. And Airbuses are known for being the best for safety

Let us also remember Spirit Airlines has never had a plane crash

I know it's fun to hate on stuff, but let's please shift from hating on Spirit Airlines to hating on literally anything else!

Spirit not even a bad airline. Twitter told yall it was and now it’s a personality trait.

@TrapxGOLD / Twitter / Via Twitter: @TrapxGOLD

I volunteer as tribute, hate me before you go in on Spirit, I beg of you!