J wanted to go back to Vegas, so I started looking for a package deal several months ahead.
I found a great deal on Bookit.com but was not keen on flying with Spirit Airlines as we had heard about the issues of nickeling and diming.
After discussing it with J, we decided since it was a direct flight (yeah) and much cheaper than the others, we would try it, after all how bad could it be with a direct flight.
After booking our trip, we knew we had to pay for luggage and decided to check one bag. I went ahead and prepaid the checked bag $70 roundtrip. We were allowed one carryon each. He would take a backpack and I would carry a large purse.
We knew Spirit charged for water/soda/coffee, etc, so we packed two empty water bottles to fill up after we got through security. (We usually do this anyway.) We packed snacks for the plane. We were set and I did not think any more about it.
I went to check in 24 hours before our flight and started seeing the nickel and diming begin. “Do you want to pick your seats that will be $10-25? Do you want group 1 boarding? Do you want to help save the environment?” I passed on all the offers and let Spirit assign our seats. We were assigned seats 18A and 18B. I would see about changing my seats at the airport, unless they charge a fee.
As for our packing, we were traveling for 6 full days during the winter months. Packing the bag was challenging but I finally got it down to 45 pounds. Whenever I check a bag I always try to keep it around 45 pounds as the scales at the airport seem to come in 2 pounds heavier. Usually, I also have one carryon to help spread the weight around.
When we arrived at the airport I noticed the sign for Spirit luggage requirements. I did not realize that I had paid for a 40 pound max checked bag, usually the limit is 50 pounds, and anything between 40-50 pounds was an additional $25. Since it had been a couple of months since I paid for the luggage, I probably forgot about it. The lady gave us the opportunity to try to remove five pounds, but there was nowhere to put anything, as his backpack was stuffed and my LARGE PURSE was over flowing. We paid the fee. I asked if she had any aisle seats available but I did not want to pay for seats. She was very nice and changed our seats but we would not be across from each other more behind, which was fine.
Off we went with tickets in hand to TSA Pre-Check, only to find out that Spirit does not participate. What the????? The lines for security were really long and I was glad we always allow extra time as we needed it to get through security.
Once we got through security and found our gates, we sat and waited for our flight. The flight before ours had not departed yet but were lining up to board. As we waited we witnessed some passages that did not allow enough time to get through security and miss their boarding.
Spirit policy is to close the gate 10 minutes before departure and that was it. We watched Spirit turn away at least six passages. I don’t know how much they charged for rebooking, but the people were not happy.
While waiting for our flight, Spirit was constantly making the announcement of only one carryon allowed (purse or backpack), unless your ticket showed you paid for your bag. You could check your luggage at the gate now for $50 price but if you tried to get on the plane they would charge you $100 for the luggage, no questions asked.
We are used to hearing this announcement from other airlines, but never saw it enforced liked this. This was not the case with Spirit, they enforced it and charged people who tried to get on board with items that did not meet the requirements. There were many unhappy people.
Our flight was late, but I had read about the horrible on time departures from Spirit, so I was not surprised. When we finally boarded, we were in seats 4C and 5D. These seats had plenty of legroom, but did not recline. None of the chairs reclined. This flight turned into 6 hours of sitting in very uncomfortable seats with no back support. I was really happy when we finally landed in Vegas.
Off we went to get our checked bag off the carousel. We waited awhile before the bags finally starting coming out. Our luggage did not come off. They made an announcement of bags for our flight would also be at another carousel. We quickly walked over as they were removing the remaining luggage. They had put our bag on another flight that had arrived earlier. We retrieved our bag and made our way to the car rental bus. As we were walking out, J noticed that the wheel was broken. Something happened from the time we dropped the luggage off and picked it up at the carousel. It was now ruined.
I wish I could tell you our return flight was better, but it was not, it was worse. I checked in 24 hours in advance and we got the second to the last row seats, but at least J had an aisle seat, I got the middle. When we got to the airport I paid the $25 fee again as the luggage was still 45 pounds. I asked to change our seats, but there were no seats available as it was a full flight. We were on the red eye that was supposed to leave at 11:55 p.m. but did not board until 12:30 a.m. The man who ended up sitting next to me was a big guy. Between my knees hitting the seat in front of me and our legs touching during the flight as there was no room, it was a miserable flight back to BWI but at least it was only a 4 hour and 20 minute.
By the time we paid for one checked bag both ways, additional fee for bags over 40 pounds (our bag was 45 pounds), flight delays, uncomfortable seats and ruined luggage, our savings went out the door.
I can see why Spirit Airlines ranked dead last in 2015. When we finally got off the plane we both said never again would we fly with Spirit Airlines. Have you flown on Spirit Airlines, and would you fly with them again?