This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
This week I flew Spirit Airlines from Houston to Las Vegas for a quick work trip. United wanted $371 for the one-way journey and Spirit wanted $46 for the same one-way nonstop journey leaving just 30 minutes earlier. For that price differential, Spirit was a no-brainer. At that low of a price, I had no guilt about springing for the Spirit Big Front Seat that added $35 on top of the $46 fare. All in, I spent a grand total of $81 to fly in the Big Front Seat from Houston to Vegas. I paid extra $0 in additional extra fees or incidentals beyond the BIg Front Seat since I packed in a small personal item, brought my own water from the terminal, and printed my boarding pass at home.
I‘ve flown Spirit Airlines before, but until this week I had never personally flown in the Spirit Big Front Seat, so I was curious as to whether or not it is worth the extra money. I mean, even though $35 isn’t a ton of money, you are presumably flying Spirit to pay as little as possible to get from Point A to Point B, so being very judicious on when to voluntarily increase your final bill is probably a smart approach.
According to their website, the normal Spirit Airlines seat is as small as 15 ½ inches wide with 28 inches of pitch, while the Spirit Big Front Seats are 22 inches wide with 36 inches of pitch. On my last Spirit flight, I was pretty uncomfortable and I’m not a huge person. I can only imagine what it would be like for those who are larger than me. There was no real way to open up a laptop and actually type given the limited amount of space between me and the seat in front of me, though at least the seats on Spirit don’t recline.
For $35 additional dollars I went from that lack of both leg and laptop room to more than enough leg and laptop room in the Big Front Seat.
Not only was the Big Front Seat much larger and more comfortable, but the flight was entirely uneventful and uninteresting upfront. The people watching in the back of a Spirit Airlines flight, especially one heading to Vegas, can really be epic. On my flight in the sold-out Big Front Seats, I might as well have been sitting in first class on a United flight as everyone kept to themselves, appeared to be traveling for work, and kept busy on their laptops (sans WiFi) or slept with noise canceling headphones.
Based on my own experiences, as well as a discussion with another very frequent traveler who occasionally turns to Spirit, there does seem to be a real difference in the in-flight experience on a Spirit flight upfront vs. in the back where everyone is put about as close as you can reasonably be to another stranger for hours.
My Spirit flight in the big front seat was comfortable and totally uneventful and unremarkable. We were on-time, I saved hundreds of dollars by choosing them over United, and nobody around me was even drinking the $8 ready-to-drink BuzzBallz cocktails.
Such an uneventful flight makes for boring blog content, but a really great trip. Having flown the three hour Houston – Las Vegas route in both a regular Spirit seat and the Big Front Seat, there is no question to me that the Big Front Seat is worth it if you are worried about your Spirit Airlines experience. Unless you are smaller than average, on a really tight budget, or simply don’t mind being squished for a few hours, I would at least check the upgrade price and give it consideration. I know the upgrade price to the Big Front Seat can vary, so I presume there is a point at which it would be harder to justify (maybe over $50?), but for a several hour flight, the $35 I paid was absolutely worth it. The savings over other carriers was still tremendous, and the flight was honestly enjoyable. As long as Spirit keeps their on-time percentage on par with others, I’d do it again without hesitation.
Do you think the Spirit Big Front Seat is worth it?
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Earn unlimited 10x miles on hotel stays booked and paid through hotels.com/venture. Pair that with the Hotels.com Rewards program and you'll essentially be getting 20% off of hotel bookings! With the 50,000 mile sign-up bonus you can get up to $700 in value based on TPG's most recent valuations and you'll have the flexibility to transfer those miles to participating airline partners or redeem those miles on any purchase for airfare, hotel stays, car rentals and more.
- Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
- Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
- Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
- Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
- Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
- Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
- No foreign transaction fees
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that