Tips for Avoiding Spirit Airlines Fees

Nov 26, 2013

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As you may already know, I flew the infamous Spirit Airlines for the first time earlier this month, and wrote a post about the interesting experience here.  To avoid some of the fees that can make a cheap Spirit Airlines trip much more expensive (including a $100 last minute carry-on fee), I brought my own food and drink, let Spirit assign my seat, printed my own boarding pass, and packed in a big purse instead of my normal roller bag.  The experience wasn’t my favorite flight ever, but it wasn’t that terrible.

Somehow my Spirit experience caught the eye of a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and we chatted some last week about Spirit and how smart travelers are avoiding many of the fees that Spirit can nail you with.  While I was talking with the reporter, I mentioned that my parents had flown Spirit many times while avoiding the ancillary fees and maximizing the 2,500 point flights you have access to if you have the co-branded Spirit Airlines credit card.  This naturally led to him talking with them on the phone, and ultimately using their experiences in his story that launched last night.  That’s right, Grandma and Grandpa Points are Spirit Airlines pros who are now quoted in the Wall Street Journal!  If you aren’t able to read the full article from that link, just Google “thriftiest travelers avoid fees spirit” and the article should come up with a free link.

Grandma and Grandpa packed to avoid Spirit fees!
Grandma and Grandpa packed to avoid Spirit fees!

I think it is great in a online miles and points world of first class reviews, and suite upgrades, that some are still using points in as economical a way as possible to get to where they want to be.  Of course, with Spirit Airlines you really do need to be proactive to avoid extra fees that can turn your cheap trip into a more expensive one.

The tips in the article to avoiding Spirit Airlines fees, that I also agree with, include:

  • Book on Spirit.com or at the airport
  • Leave the roll-aboard bags at home
  • Bring one bag “aka personal item”
  • Bring your own water and snacks
  • Print your boarding pass at home or at an airport kiosk
  • Let Spirit choose your seats

The reporter and I have noticed that Spirit really doesn’t seem to be too particular about the size of your personal item, and if you have packed in a soft duffel bag or backpack, then you can pretty easily stuff the bag into the sizer if requested.  I like my dad’s suggestion in the article of wearing some of his ski gear on the plane in order to keep the bag size smaller on an upcoming ski trip.  Hey, whatever it takes!

Spirit Airlines

Good luck avoiding fees on Spirit or your airline of choice this holiday season!

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