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A Quick Note about Spirit Airlines and Carry-On Bags

I just returned from a quick trip to Michigan on Spirit Airlines, and longtime readers of OTR know that I’m perhaps the only person willing to stick up for the much maligned carrier.  I’ll stick up for them again:

– My ticket was $88.  Round trip.

– They’ve received all manner of flack for charging for carryons.  And I’ll admit that it’s annoying.  But really what they’re doing is trying to encourage people to check their bags, as that reduces the boarding time.  And I saw that first-hand:  boarding went quickly despite it being a full flight.  And more incredibly, there was overhead bin space even after the full flight was boarded.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen that.

– Regardless of what Seatguru says, the seat pitch in rows behind the exit row are far less than the 31″ they say.  Rows in front of exit rows are about 31″, but rows behind that and continuing to the rear of the aircraft are likely 29″ (if not less – I didn’t have a ruler).  They are tight.  Very, very, very tight.  It nearly goes from being wildly uncomfortable to funny.  Except that it wasn’t funny.  That all said, I sprung the $25 for an exit row on my return flight and that was a $25 well spent.

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  1. Yeah, I’m probably the only OTHER frequent flyer to defend Spirit.

    Of course, I only defend them based on “value” if you can snag one of their crazy fares. Anyone who has somebody else to pay for their tickets is crazy to fly Spirit (unless of course it’s the only nonstop option between your city pairs).

    The bag fee complaints are silly (given the fares). Bags aren’t that expensive to check on Spirit and you can get a very large sized backpack (holding about 5 days worth of clothes) on board for free — just read the sizing guidelines.

    The seat pitch thing IS the one thing I hate about Spirit. I haven’t noticed more room in the front of the plane, but that’s because I let them “randomly” assign me a seat (the free option) and I tend to wind up in the back. The seat pitch there IS crazy bad. At 6 feet, it becomes a problem; if you’re over, say, 6’1″ you’re going to be very uncomfortable. I’m usually travelling with my kids on Spirit (it’s when you’re booking multiple tickets that it becomes a real cost savings), and I usually “steal” some of their legroom. It’s hard to fit your legs directly in front of you.

  2. Bridgette Johnson

    I went to Las Vegas on 11/13/2011 and returned on 11/16/2011. When I got ready to leave for my trip the lady working at the ticket counter was not familiar with her job. She had to get the man next to her to help her out with my booking and my aunts. I paid for my baggage with my debit card. I had one bag. My aunt had one bag that she paid cash for. While in Vegas I called to check my debit card and noticed that I had been charged double for my bags. I called Spirit when I returned to let them know that they had double charged me and that I had my receipt showing one bag. The first male I spoke with on the phone said he did see it but told me I had to write the complaint department for my money back. I told him they took my money out of my account without my permission and I wanted it credited back. He let me speak with his supervisor. That supervisor told me that the $76 covered me round trip. I told him no because I had to use a different card on my return because the took too much out when I was leaving DFW. I told him I had my second receipt to show I used a different card and had to pay another $38 for my bags on the return. He got upset and told me I had to write the complaint department and that they didnt have anyone I could talk too over the phone. You call this customer service. I will never travel on this airlines again. I still do not have my $38 as of today. I paid a total of $114 for one bag on my trip. NO one from Spirit has contacted my about my money. I would suggest that you pay for everything with this airlines in cash because they will take your money and will not let you talk to a live person to get the issue resolved. My flight going was terrible. We went thru some turbalance for about 30 mins and was told that we would just ride it out because it would save on fuel instead of going above it. There was 5 of us that went and by the time we got to Vegas we were so sick from the ride. Our ride home was much better.

  3. I had to make last minute reservations and Spirit was the least expensive until you add carry on fees, water fees, seat fees and any other fee that you can think of.

    My mother passed away and they said the best thing to do with the return flight was pay $125 for EACH for my wife and I and they would issue a $104 credit for BOTH. it was cheaper to just book one way tickets back home.

    Then they wouldn’t reimburse me for my carry on bag fees which I purchased online and i never made the return flight on the original ticket..

    Don’t bother purchasing online carry on fees. They never check at the gate. I was trying to be honest and they could care less. I said other passengers weren’t paying and they wanted passenger names and confirmation numbers.

    Their customer service is a joke. Hopefully nobody has a family emergency since they’ll go by the rules and don’t care anything about you

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