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The 3 biggest things I’ll miss most when Spirit is acquired

July 29, 2022
5 min read
Spirit Airlines Plane
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Spirit Airlines as we know it could be set to disappear.

JetBlue Airways announced on Thursday that it came to an agreement with Spirit’s board to acquire the Florida-based carrier. The blockbuster takeover has been in the news since April, when JetBlue first announced its intention to woo Spirit away from a proposed merger with fellow ultra-low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines.

If approved, it could take several years to complete, but JetBlue’s plan for Spirit is quite clear: the airline wants to retrofit the entire Spirit fleet and convert the planes into JetBlue tails. It’ll also absorb Spirit employees and flight crew into a larger JetBlue workforce.

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All this to say, Spirit’s days are numbered (assuming that the deal clears regulatory hurdles).

While plenty of travelers love to hate on Spirit and its budget passenger experience, there are still some things that I’ll miss about flying around in a yellow Airbus.

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Big Front Seat

Spirit is unique among the ultra-low-cost carriers for offering an oversized first-class-like recliner.

Known as the Big Front Seat, this Spirit product is actually quite similar to a domestic first-class recliner — without any of the additional bells and whistles you’d receive if you were flying on a traditional network airline.

Seats are arranged in a 2-2 configuration, meaning that there’s no middle seat in these rows. The recliners are wider than Spirit’s regular seats, and they offer additional under-seat storage, too.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The armrest between seats is more spacious, and the seats are prereclined at a more generous angle than in coach.

There’s no additional service or any other benefits for upgrading to a Big Front Seat. But that’s okay because the price point is often significantly cheaper than flying in first class on a competitor.

On a recent trip between New York and Fort Lauderdale, Spirit was charging “just” $42 for the Big Front Seat, in addition to the $63 fare. Meanwhile, Delta wanted $799 for a first-class seat on the same date.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Though JetBlue offers a lie-flat Mint business-class product on a subset of its jets, the airline doesn’t have a traditional first-class recliner on any aircraft. Instead, the “best” coach experience you’ll find with JetBlue is extra-legroom Even More Space.

While it’s possible that JetBlue keep Spirit’s Big Front Seats, I’ll definitely miss this offering if JetBlue removes it.

Price point

Spirit Airlines is known for its rock-bottom fares. While baggage and seat assignments (and nearly every other optional service) comes at an additional charge, I often find that Spirit is a great option for short flights when I'm traveling light.

For JetBlue, a big selling point of the acquisition is that it can become a formidable competitor to the "Big "4 U.S. airlines. It argues that the “JetBlue effect” on pricing will lead to the bigger competitors lowering their prices to match fares of a bigger JetBlue.

JetBlue believes that the Big 4 airlines don’t feel the need to match Spirit’s prices, whereas they would if JetBlue were in the market.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While that may theoretically be possible, the fact is that JetBlue is effectively eliminating a competitor in the marketplace by acquiring Spirit.

Spirit often undercut the competition in many of the markets it entered. JetBlue says that this practice will continue and grow to more airports after the acquisition, but only time will tell whether that happens.

Buzzballz cocktails

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy a Spirit Airlines flight is with one of the carrier’s signature Buzzballz cocktails.

These canned alcoholic drinks come in two flavors, and despite reminding me of a college party, I actually quite enjoy them. They’re available for purchase for $10 during most Spirit flights.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Interestingly, JetBlue doesn’t offer any cocktails on its buy-on-board menu, and I’ll definitely miss these signature Spirit drinks should the acquisition go through.

Bottom line

If the JetBlue merger clears all of its hurdles, Spirit Airlines’ days will be numbered.

When JetBlue acquires the budget carrier, it’ll retire the Spirit brand and convert the planes to JetBlue standards.

That’ll likely spell the end of the Big Front Seat, Spirit’s pricing model and onboard Buzzballs cocktails — three of the things I’ll miss most about Spirit.

Perhaps JetBlue will surprise us by introducing its own version of domestic first class or adding cocktails to its onboard menu. Until then, enjoy these Spirit offerings while they last.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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