I didn’t think Spirit Airlines hacks existed.
Yes, I know the airlines is cheap. After all, “bare fares” are their claim to fame. But can the prices actually get cheaper?
At first, I didn’t think so either. In fact, I’ve definitely overpaid one too many times before shaping and changing my game (cue Anshula in extreme budget traveler mode).
While the airline company’s prices may seem gallant, Spirit is absolutely a for-profit business, which means that with cheap flights comes a catch. No free food. You have to pay for carry-on (unless it’s a personal item but more on that later). You have to pay for reserved seating.
While that may seem like a lot of negatives, I still love flying Spirit because you can actually save a lot of money if you fly an oddly specific way. In that case, you get much, much more than what you pay for!
So, without further ado, here are the top ten Spirit Airlines hacks that you need to know.
Only Bring A Personal Item
Spirit allows you to have a free personal item. A personal item is essentially a small-scale carry-on. Picture laptop bags and purses.
In other words, you can bring one FREE laptop bag or purse!
Unfortunately, an actual carry-on costs extra – a $100. But don’t panic, the dimensions for a personal item are “18 by 14 by 8” (current as of January 2020 but check their website for updates), which, when you think about it, is a Goliath-sized purse or laptop bag.
Right before boarding, I typically put my purse into my laptop bag so that it counts as “one item”.
That’s not cheating? Right?
So what can you fit? Let’s say, I have a medium-sized purse. In this purse, I can fit the following (assuming I roll my clothes):
- three tank tops
- two pairs of shorts
- three dresses (one formal, two casual)
- a t-shirt
- passports, cards, money, toiletries, etc.
This much clothing lasts about a week, which is perfect for vacations or shorter business trips. All my electronics (phone, laptop, charger, laptop case, etc) then go into my laptop bag.
“But Anshula, this is ideal if you are jet-setting off to a warm-weather place,” you say.
I understand. If you are traveling to a place with colder weather, jeans and sweaters take up a lot of room. In that situation, I use my “carry-on not carry-on”!
If you are planning on flying Spirit often, I highly recommend purchasing a “carry-on” that is as close to the max dimensions of a personal item as possible (so you can pack the most for the least).
Don’t Reserve Seats Until The Last Minute
Spirit Airlines rewards procrastinators.
Seriously, it’s okay to procrastinate (in this case). If you reserve your seats far, far, in advance then you have to pay a penalty (starting at $5.00). If you don’t, Spirit randomly picks seats for you. Most of the time, you can change your seating 24 hours (best window) to thirty minutes before your flight for FREE.
You aren’t guaranteed to be sitting next to your spouse (although we’ve always been seated next to each other), but the extra money can go towards your actual vacation.
This is one of my ultimate Spirit Airlines hacks. In fact, it’s how I’ve almost always managed to snag the window or aisle seat!
If You Aren’t Hungry, Don’t Buy Their Food
It sounds tempting, I know. Airlines are tiring and sometimes, I just want a cold, refreshing beverage and food. But am I willing to pay $3 for a Cup of Noodles? $3 for Water? Seriously?
Yeah, no thank you.
Try to eat a large, healthy meal before you leave. Airplane food tastes horrible anyway so you probably won’t be missing out on much.
I usually bring an empty bottle of water through airport security and fill it up before boarding my flight!
Grab Your Boarding Pass From The Kiosk
When I first flew Spirit Airlines, the lady at the check-in counter was nice enough to tell me to use the kiosk. Getting my boarding pass from her would have cost more money than my wallet could afford.
Using the kiosk for self-check-in is FREE.
Use The Spirit App
Nowadays, I use the FREE Spirit app. I always have a printed copy of my boarding pass as well, but the app allows me to check-in online ahead of time.
Sign Up For Their Newsletter
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Spirit Airlines newsletter. The company is always running some promotion or the other. Take advantage of it!
Signing up for the Spirit email newsletter and sifting through the promos is how I snagged:
- Lifetime guarantee of no online service fee charges
- $10-$20 off flights
- Deals for every random holiday ever (I mean, they’re having a 30% off flight deal for National Trivia Day at the time of me writing this post)
Take A Red-Eye Flight
I always take a red-eye flight with Spirit (when leaving and returning). The fares are low. Much lower than at reasonable hours of the day. I’m usually groggy, tired, and resemble Medusa whilst boarding.
But to me, the difference in fares is worth it!
Leave On A Friday
The cheapest day to depart for Spirit is usually a Friday. That’s why, when you sign up for their email newsletter, you’ll notice that practically every promotion says not valid for Friday departure.
Unfortunately, they know it too.
Y’all know how much I love Skyscanner! It’s one of my favorite flight search tools.
I use Skyscanner to find my flight dates (and sort by Spirit on the left). Frontier, Spirit, Southwest, and United usually have the cheapest flights if you’re traveling domestically in the United States (so those are all good bets to keep checked).
I have a full tutorial of my exact flight search method on Skyscanner here!
Don’t Forget To Enjoy The Flight
As a petite person, Spirit Airlines has always been roomy for me.
But for most people (sorry dad), I can say this: your legs will be cramped. The seats aren’t the most comfortable in the world (ah, the struggle is real). You will try to get some work in on your laptop, only to realize that there really isn’t enough room to properly type. Your flight WILL most likely be delayed. I’m pretty sure Spirit has a 99.99% not-on-time rate (every flight I’ve taken with them over the past five years has been delayed at least 30 minutes. Is that even statistically possible?).
But I have to say, when an airline ticket costs less than accommodations, that is something worth talking (or rather, typing) about. So would I choose Spirit as my next flight all the time (if I could)? For their prices…absolutely!
Did you enjoy these Spirit Airlines hacks? Would you fly Spirit Airlines? Did any of these hacks help? Do you have more to suggest? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just really love flying Spirit and want to share the love and some hacks. Ever flown Spirit or any other budget airlines? Share your tips and tricks and experiences below.