Some people value comfort while traveling. My motto tends to be “shove me in the overhead compartment if it will save me $20.” If you are more concerned with cleanliness and leg room than savings, well, I don’t have much to say to you. If you are willing to be a contortionist to save a buck, then welcome, dear friend. Let me share the wonder of Spirit Airlines with you.
I had heard of Spirit Airlines as some kind of monstrosity. You cannot fit in the seats! You’ll have to pay crazy amounts of money for carry-on luggage!! They will kill your soul!!! Not true. I have flown with Spirit Airlines twice, and no catastrophe has occurred. That’s not to say there aren’t tricks to having a good Spirit Airlines experience.
- Pack Lightly. There is nothing worse than saving a buttload of money on a plane ticket, only to spend it all back on luggage. Instead of giving up on an airline that charges even for carry-ons, I suggest learning to pack more efficiently. Grab a good backpack and practice rolling sweaters and jeans into the tiniest possible cylinders. Even better, wear all your bulky clothing on the flight so that you only need to fit some underwear and t-shirts in the bag. I guarantee you don’t need all that junk you want to fit in a suitcase, and if you do? Probably you can buy a bottle of shampoo at your destination. Or else prepare whoever you’re visiting for the inevitable “Hey, can I borrow x, y, and z?”
- Prepare for Cramped Quarters. I mean, I guess it’s true that the seats in Spirit are small. But let’s be honest, what airplane seat is comfortable (except for Emergency Exit rows or the above-my-pay-grade First Class wonder seats)? From the way people talked about Spirit, I assumed I’d be sitting with my knees pushed under my chin. Not even slightly true. I am 5’8″, and my knees were fine. It’s not the most comfortable situation in the world, but you can deal. Bring an engrossing book or play Candy Crush–you’ll be so distracted that the landing will come before you even realize you’re uncomfortable.
- Be Flexible. This is my one concern with Spirit. When I visited my friend in Baltimore, I had planned to fly back home Monday at 8:00 a.m. That would have given my friend plenty of time to drop me off at the airport and get to work on time. Perfect. A month before the trip, I received an email that my flight had changed to noon on Monday. That ruined everything. We decided that I would fly out Sunday at noon, which cut my trip short by half a day. It sucked, but we crammed as much fun as possible into the shortened weekend, and in the end, it was okay. Plus, Spirit didn’t charge me for changing dates, so. They earn a couple points for that.
I’ve found that Spirit Airlines is ideal for weekend trips. I flew to Baltimore for $177 round trip, and I flew to New Orleans (one way) for only $44. I’m willing to put up with a lot for those kinds of prices, and by “a lot” I mean “minor inconveniences, really.”