I know, I know.  Spirit airlines has THE worst reputation of any airline I can think of.  There are plenty of HILARIOUS reviews online, like this one and this one.  But when I found myself needing to fly down to Dallas for a weekend wedding, I could not bring myself to pass up the $116 round trip fare on Spirit, when the other more reputable airlines were charging $250+.   Here’s what I’m doing to try to navigate all the foolishness that comes with booking a flight on Spirit Airlines.

Check In Early!

Spirit charges for everything.  EVERYTHING.  Remember that throughout the whole process.  They even charge you to check in at the airport ($10).  They do, however, allow you to check in online up to 24 hours before departure.  Check in online and print your own boarding pass for free.  This is also a good time to buy a seat assignment or pay your baggage fees if you have any — otherwise it will be even more expensive at the airport.

Baggage

Spirit does all it possibly can to get you to pay outrageous baggage fees.  Check out this baggage fee chart!  You have 5 opportunities before your flight leaves to pay your baggage fees, and they get more expensive at each one; it’s cheapest to pay for your luggage at the time you purchase your ticket.  And note that it costs $100 to check your bag at the gate!  So don’t you dare underestimate the size and weight of your bag.  Smh.

spirit airlines baggage fee chart

To avoid paying baggage fees altogether, I’m packing SUPER light, and putting all my stuff into a “personal item”, which is included in the Bare Fare (think a purse, backpack, man bag, etc).  Personal item measurements are currently 16″ x 14″ x 12″, but make sure to check their website because the rules change frequently.

Here’s how I will fit my weekend into a purse:

  • Picked one pair of sandals that will go with everything I wear that weekend, and wear them on the flight
  • I’m also wearing my jewelry for the weekend on the flight
  • Packing a bar of African Black Soap; its good to use on your face and body, so it eliminates the need to pack liquids like body wash or facial cleanser
  • I use my own whipped shea butter to moisturize my face and body; Shea butter is a solid at room temperature, so you can bring as much as you want without breaking TSA’s liquid rules. Try this recipe to make your own!
  • I Keep travel sized plastic bottles to carry hair products, such as shampoo, conditioner and hair oils.  You can get some from Target or any dollar store.

Check out this video for tips on how to fit all your clothes into a tiny bag.

Food/Drink

Remember when I said Spirit charges for everything?  Yea, that includes water, juice, soda, pretzels, EVERYTHING.  Try packing an empty water bottle in your bag, and filling it up once you get past security.  Lots of airports have filling stations, and if not, you can always just fill up with water at one of the soda machines in the food court.  If you’re short on space in your bag and don’t have the space for a bulky plastic bottle, try one of these collapsable water bottles.  They can be rolled or flattened when empty, and stand when they’re full.

Obviously anything could work for a snack, but I like to keep granola bars or mixed nuts in my bag.  They’re filling and convenient to carry.

 

Comfort

Spirit’s planes are mostly old and uncomfortable.  There’s not much you can do about that.  However, a travel pillow can work wonders!  Whether you use it as a cushion to sit on, a pillow, or a neck brace, it can increase your comfort level at least a little bit while on the flight.

Also, get up and move around!  Do some stretches!  You may look weird, and your row mates may get annoyed with you getting up all the time, but at least you won’t land feeling stiff and tired.

Final Thoughts

Spirit Airlines will never be a luxury experience.  Their prices are dirt cheap for a reason, and I’d never use them for a flight longer than a few hours (can you imagine being on a long haul flight with an airline like Spirit?!  I think I’d die).  They’re going to do what they can to nickel and dime you throughout the entire experience, but if you go in prepared for their shenanigans, it doesn’t have to be terrible.