Flight Hacks

10 Spirit Airlines Hacks That Will Save You Money

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
  • undergarments
  • 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.


Use Skyscanner

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.


  • Monidipa
    July 30, 2018 at 11:55 AM

    I keep travelling/flying a lot. So I follow all these. I hardly pack many things. Tickets are always last minutes for me. And I have Anorexia so eating food that too on the flight is a strict no for me… This post will surely help many people..

  • Eboni Dixon
    July 30, 2018 at 3:10 PM

    These are some really great hacks! I’m all about saving money where possible so this was perfect!

  • Puneet Kaur
    July 31, 2018 at 1:36 AM

    Well, I don’t travel much in the airlines as do not find them to be comfortable. It was really nice going through the hacks though!

  • Nidhi Fouzdar
    July 31, 2018 at 3:15 AM

    These are great hacks to save some money. I am frequent flyer i need to ensure to keep in mind this points on my next trip

  • Saurav Purkayastha
    July 31, 2018 at 4:52 AM

    Wow, you have compiled a great list, these hacks are super useful to me as I fly a lot. Thanks for sharing these with us.

  • sabrina barbante
    July 31, 2018 at 10:55 AM

    They are exactly the same tips I can apply the I travel with ryanair and easy jet that are the most famous and used low cost airlines in Europe. Is there a day of the week when flights cost less, also for Spirit?

    • anshula.varma
      August 3, 2018 at 1:45 PM

      Supposedly Tuesdays but I’ll be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference. xx – Anshula

  • Fashion and Style Police
    July 31, 2018 at 3:01 PM

    Love the tips here. Their food is always so expensive. I hate buying them but I do have to sometimes.

    • anshula.varma
      August 3, 2018 at 1:46 PM

      I can so relate. I never want to buy it. But if I’m in the middle seat and the people next to me purchase a snack, I sometimes can’t resist…. xx – Anshula

  • Lauren
    July 31, 2018 at 6:28 PM

    I love to travel and have been on Spirit before. I wish I would have known these hacks for those trips!

    • anshula.varma
      August 3, 2018 at 1:46 PM

      Hope these help with your next trip, Lauren! xx – Anshula

  • Allie ~ Let's Do Lattes
    July 31, 2018 at 8:01 PM

    These are great tips. I did not know some of these fees existed! I do have a question about getting free parking! How does that work? Thanks for the tips!

    • anshula.varma
      August 3, 2018 at 1:47 PM

      Oh, if you purchase tickets from the airport, the airport (sometimes – depending on availability) will give complimentary free airport parking for that day! It’s really nice. xx – Anshula

  • Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place
    July 31, 2018 at 10:24 PM

    Never ben on a budget or Spirit airline before. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  • Sreekar
    August 1, 2018 at 12:48 AM

    Haha. Nice tips. These are the ones that I and my wife usually argue about. Especially hate the airline food. Can’t get any stale than those packed food. we usually carry some of our own!

  • Jade Braham
    August 1, 2018 at 2:38 AM

    I’m about to embark on a solo travel around Europe and these are great tips that I’m going to take with me! I had never heard of Spirit but I’m going to have to look into them before I leave! Thanks for sharing:)

    • anshula.varma
      August 3, 2018 at 1:50 PM

      Hey Jade, they don’t normally fly in Europe (I think the only place they fly to in Europe is Iceland). Hope that helps!

  • Khushboo
    August 1, 2018 at 7:39 AM

    These are some great tips I will surely try it out. Thanks for sharing I had no idea about this.

  • Mary
    August 1, 2018 at 8:53 AM

    I have never flown spirit. I don’t think we have one near me. But thank you for the hacks in case I do!

  • Kate
    August 1, 2018 at 12:22 PM

    I’ve never heard about Spirit Airlines, it’s probably American but we every area in the world has their own cheap airline and you always need to be a bit tricky with managing the flight!

  • Becca Talbot
    August 1, 2018 at 3:26 PM

    I’ve never flown with Spirit Airlines before – I don’t think they operate in the UK. But these hacks are good to know if I ever do make a trip with them (and it could happen, as I am a travel blogger too!) x

  • David Elliott
    August 2, 2018 at 12:52 AM

    i didn’t realize they sold food while on the airlines. Maybe I haven’t been on them recently enough to see it. I knew things were changing but that’s kind of crazy. I definitely wouldn’t be spending the 3 dollars for a cup of noodles.

  • Carrie K
    January 10, 2019 at 10:12 AM

    My family LOVES Spirit and fly it so much we just know the pitfalls. We have only had one near-disaster, but as $9 club members, we have been lucky enough to score serious deals. 23 buck tix to New Orleans and regular trips to Florida for around the $100 mark. It’s incredible and for us has been worth the risks. TIP: We are a family of 3 and have found that they automatically seat us together, so we never buy seats when we are on the same itinerary.


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