Is the Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat Worth It?
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
What if you could fly in what is basically a domestic first class seat for 75% off? There must be a catch, right?
Well, sort of. Spirit Airlines Big Front Seats are located in the first couple of rows of its aircraft, and they are honestly… better than you’d think. Or rather, they are essentially the same as other domestic first class seats on most US airlines, but are available for a much cheaper price.
Spirit Airlines Big Front Seats are made of leather, have 36 inches of pitch and are 20 inches wide (according to SeatGuru). This means you have an additional six inches of legroom beyond Spirit’s standard seats. They are “pre-reclined”, meaning that you can’t recline them further.
To put this another way, on Spirit, you can have this:
Or, you can have this:
I’ve done both — multiple times. The easy advice to give is that yes, Spirit’s Big Front Seats are absolutely worth it. But, since that’s just too easy, I’ll be slightly more nuanced.
When Are Spirit Airlines Big Front Seats Worth It?
If the flight is short (two to three hours or less), you are on the smaller side and every dollar counts, maybe skip Spirit’s Big Front Seats if you just can’t justify the cost. For a family of four, a $45 Big Front Seat upgrade would result in $360 in additional charges, based on round-trip travel. Factor in that Spirit’s Big Front Seats still don’t get you any included bags, snacks, etc. and keeping that cash safely tucked in your wallet can sometimes make sense. After all, you are probably flying Spirit because it’s cheap, not because it’s comfortable.
On the other hand, it’s not just the seat that’s different up front with Spirit. Flying Spirit Airlines can make for very entertaining people-watching, but being in (extremely) close quarters with large numbers of people isn’t always the most relaxing vacation experience for every personality type.
I’ve found that when you fly in the Big Front Seats, you are often with small business owners and relatively frequent flyers who largely just put on their headphones and sleep or work (since the trays are actually large enough up there for a laptop). In other words, you skip the sociologically interesting element of Spirit, which may or may not matter to you.
How Much Does the Big Front Seat Cost
The price of a Big Front Seat upgrade varies. While you can see the number of available Big Front Seats when pricing out Spirit flights, you don’t see the actual upgrade price until much further in the booking process. In test searches, I’ve seen these upgrades start at around $20 per person on shorter flights and go as high as around $70 per person on longer flights.
Here’s a real life example.
A month from now, to fly from Houston to Las Vegas on a Friday night, Spirit Airlines wants $69 to fly in a small seat without a specific advance seat assignment (so you could land in a middle seat at check-in). Going for an assigned Big Front Seat would add $54, for a total of $124 for a pretty comfy ride to Vegas. (Be sure and use the best credit card for airfare when making your purchase.)
United wants $211 for the same route at about the same time on a Basic Economy fare that also wouldn’t come with an advance seat assignment. A regular economy ticket with a seat assignment on United costs $246 (twice the cost of a Spirit Big Front seat ticket). United’s domestic first class seat, which are basically the same as Spirit’s Big Front Seat, ring in on that flight at $435 — 3.5 times the cost of Spirit’s similar seat.
What does all of that tell me? It tells me that you can save real money over traditional air carriers’ cheapest economy tickets while still sitting in a much larger Spirit Big Front Seat. Of course, there are other trade-offs to factor into the equation when deciding to fly Spirit. (Though for what it is worth, Spirit’s current operational reliability is much better than it used to be.)
You may not always need a larger seat to get where you’re going since sometimes the cheapest available ticket is the best one. However, if your budget can accommodate the added cost of a Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat, your back — and perhaps your mood — will thank you for the extra investment in the journey.
How do you decide when Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat is worth it?
- Review of Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat: Newark to Las Vegas
- Tips When Flying Spirit Airlines With a Family
- Review of Spirit Airlines Flying Cross-Country
- Spirit is Getting a New Loyalty Program
Featured image by Javier Rodriguez / The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees