Let’s Try this Again
MIAMI — Given my previous Spirit experience (and how well it didn’t go), I figured that I should give them another try hoping for an anomaly. Consequently I booked a round-trip ticket from Houston to Orlando.
Since I was already familiar with the booking process, I was able to quickly book my flights. Unlike the first trip I decided to save a few dollars and let Spirit choose where I sat.
- Base fare: $76.03 (Houston to Orlando) + $102.03 (Orlando to Houston)
- Luggage fee: $30.00 X 2 (checked luggage fee)
- Seat fee: $0 (I let Spirit pick where I sat when I checked-in)
- Grand total: $238.06
I checked-in online for my flight right as the check-in window opened 24 hours prior to departure. I was given the option to assign my seat for a fee again, but I opted not to. My seats were randomly selected, and I was assigned 27D for both of my flights. I was very happy to be assigned an aisle seat and not a middle seat.
This time, I checked a bag, paying when I bought the ticket (and saving $10). Unfortunately, my bag was a bit over their 40 pound limit. Surprisingly, they waived the overweight fee, but were clear that they would not waive it for my return flight. Yet on my return flight they again waived the fee, saying it need to be ten pounds over the limit before they’d bother applying the charge.
Boarding for both flights was a bit chaotic thanks to small boarding areas. Yet, the process was still relatively smooth and quick, particular since most passengers did not have to search for overhead space.
This time I was on-board one of their Airbus A320s. My flight to Orlando was operated by one of their newest A320 aircraft. Yet for a new airplane the inside did not look new: The carpets were stained, and the seats were very dirty. The aircraft on my return leg was a bit cleaner, thank goodness.
Overall, both flights were easy, and the crews were friendly. Like my first flight, flight attendants passed out menus for those wishing to have a drink or snack. At the end of the day there is not much to the Spirit on board experience: we got on the airplane, flew for a few hours behind a chair, and landed. That was about it.
It is amazing the difference in experience when things go smoothly. No doubt the flights were infinitely better than my first go with Spirit. Now with a normal experience under my belt, how did the carrier fare?
Overall, not bad. Was it the best travel experience? No. Was it the worst? No. Would I fly them again? I can honestly say that I would. It’s hard to have the perfect travel experience because there are so many variables. However, I found my Spirit experiences to be better than many of the reviews I read prior to my first flight.
The flight crews were friendly, and I got exactly what I paid for: safe transportation, one checked bag, a bottled water, and a seat. I found the lavatories to be clean (no, there is no fee to use them while in-flight).
That does not mean there weren’t a few criticisms, however: If you are not one of their $9 Fare Club members, be prepared to be asked to join several times during the booking. $9 Fare Club Members receive special air fare and vacation package deals, and discounted baggage fees. The cost to join is $59.95 per year, and Spirit claims that members save over $75 per booking.
More importantly, I wish the aircraft interiors were cleaner. The seat pitch is very small, and the seats are not extremely comfortable: My knees touched the seat in front of me (I am 5’11) the entire flight. Finally, I wish there was better communication about my delayed flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Houston, though I am glad that the flight was not cancelled.
Overall, I am pleased with my Spirit experiences, and I would have no problem flying them again despite the issues I experienced.