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Say what?! $16 for a one-way flight?!
It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not. Spirit Airlines offers some of the cheapest airfare tickets out there, but pay attention — they also charge a lot of fees on top of the base fare.
If you’re willing to fly without any frills or freebies and don’t mind traveling really light, booking a Spirit flight can save you mega moolah. Here’s how to save the most:
1. Pay the extra fee to choose your own seat.
The seats on Sprit planes are the most basic out there. Like, they don’t even recline, and people complain about the lack of legroom all the time. If you’re flying with friends and family, you may not get seated with them since Spirit randomly assigns seats when you check in. So save your sanity by splurging a little on a better seat that you can choose yourself. After all, you just saved a ton on airfare.
Seat upgrades start at just $5 and can get you up to 32% more legroom if you choose one of the Big Front Seats.
Traveling with kids? You’ll be assigned seats with them even if you don’t pay extra for seat assignments ahead of time!
2. Squeeze your clothes into a zip bag that will fit in your purse or backpack to avoid baggage fees.
That cheap flight you just booked on Spirit could end up costing you way more (we’re talkin’ $100!) if you don’t plan ahead and pack light. Each passenger is only allowed one personal item that’s no bigger than 16″x14″x12″ in size. And trust me, they are strict in enforcing this rule.
Avoid having to pay an extra fee by choosing your outfits wisely. Wear your bulkiest clothes on the plane and tightly roll all other apparel that can be squeezed into a gallon-size zip bag, which can then fit in your purse or backpack.
3. If you must check a bag, make sure you pre-pay online.
If you can’t pack light, or you’re worried your “one personal item” is going to be over the limit, save yourself a lot of money by pre-paying online when you book your ticket. If you wait until you’re at the airport, the cost of taking luggage with you increases tremendously.
Checked luggage fees start at around $35 when you pay at booking, then increase to around $45 when you check into your flight. If you wait to pay the fee at the gate, you could end up paying a whopping $100!
4. Save $17 by purchasing your tickets at the airport.
Spirit charges a “Passenger Usage Fee” that’ll cost you between $9 and $17 each way for tickets purchased online or over the phone. However, if you purchase your tickets at the airport, that fee is waived.
5. Pack your own snacks and drinks.
Spirit charges for every food and drink product on flight — even water ($3)! So be sure to pack some snacks, and bring an empty water bottle through security that you can fill up before boarding.
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6. Download entertainment before the flight.
There’s no Wi-Fi, no movies, no music, no in-flight magazine…there are no entertainment options on any Spirit flights. Download movies on your device beforehand, and maybe even consider a portable battery charger since there are also no outlets on flights.
7. Join the $9 Fare Club especially if buying tickets for the whole family.
Although enrollment is $59.95 per year, customers save an average of $75 per flight by being a $9 Fare Club member. Plus, those exclusive discounted fares can be applied to every ticket on your itinerary, up to eight passengers. Your membership also includes a discounted bag pass.
Just remember to cancel your subscription if you don’t think you’ll use it for another year. Otherwise, Spirit will automatically renew it.
8. Save $10 by checking in and printing your boarding pass online or at kiosk.
Don’t go to a ticket agent to print your boarding pass! You’ll be charged $10.
Online check-in is free, and you can do this as early as 24 hours before your trip. Remember to do this on the way home, too. Most hotels will allow you to print boarding passes for free.
9. Use coupon codes to save even more.
Make sure to click “Deals” at the top of Spirit’s homepage to frequently find coupon codes that can save you even more on that already-cheap flight. You’ll also see them by signing up to receive their email newsletter.
10. Catch a connecting flight in Fort Lauderdale.
Since Spirit doesn’t fly out of every airport in the country, you can sometimes save by booking a a flight with a more expensive airline to Fort Lauderdale, Spirit’s home airport. From there, take a cheaper Sprit flight — especially if flying to a destination in Central or South America.