Inside the Mind of Your Favorite Bartender

The Spirit Airlines experience

Last week was my first time flying Spirit Airlines. For those that have never flown Spirit, it is an economy, no frills airline designed to fly full routes by providing the cheapest airfare possible. Now, if you are a light traveler, like myself, then the low airfare that Spirit charges is like a God send. I stopped traveling with anything more than a midsize carry-on years ago. Number one, I hate waiting for bags in baggage claim, and two, I see traveling as an opportunity to acquire new things while leaving old things behind.

For example, on my recent trip to Las Vegas, I had the urge to purchase some new sneakers. The only issue was, in order to keep my Spirit Airlines fees low, I had to leave a pair of sneakers behind in good old Sin City. No problem, an easy decision to make. As soon as I hopped into my rental car and headed to the Nike Store, I knew the fly pair of trainers I had on my feet would have to be sacrificed for whatever new Nike’s I was to purchase a few minutes later.

The way Spirit Airlines works is this, you buy a standard fair at a ridiculously low rate. Even better, if you sign up for their $9 Flight Club for $59.99/year, the ridiculously low rate is cut by up to $75. Holy shit, not bad if you plan on pledging your loyalty to Spirit Airlines over the course of a year. At the time of my Vegas booking, I wasn’t ready to pledge allegiance; therefore, I booked my round-trip flight from Atlanta to Vegas only nine days out for $216.

I already had it made up in my mind that I was traveling minimally. Meaning, the one free personal item the size of a small backpack you get as part of your ticket price. Shit, I’ve practiced military style packing, so I know how to fit the maximum amount of items into the least amount of space. So, Spirit wasn’t about to fuck me with their fee based system because that’s where they get you, in the fees. Its all in the fees ladies and gentlemen.

You want to check a bag, there’s a fee for that. You want a carry on bag, there’s a fee for that. You want to check-in and print your boarding pass at the airport, there’s a fee for that. You want a reclining seat, there’s a fee for that. There’s a fucking fee for everything, the real reason the airfare is so low in the first place. And this is how they really get you, the fees.

I’m not going to cover all the fees they charge and how much they charge for each ‘perk’. Visit their website and you can see that for yourself. However, I did expose at least one hack in both Atlanta and Vegas. The gate agents aren’t checking the size of your bag at the gate, especially if you board at the last minute. In both airports, I wasn’t required to prove the size of my free personal item before they decided to charge me $100 at the gate. Therefore, I could’ve boarded the plane with a larger bag and nobody would’ve ever knew or cared for that matter. They key is print your boarding pass before arriving at the airport and when checking in, click the no bags checked option. Proceed straight to the gate and people watch before boarding the plane. When the time is ripe, approximately five minutes or less before the closing of the gate, board the plane.

When on the plane, know that seats do not recline unless you pay a fee for a larger seat up front with that capability. If you have a smaller body frame, like mine, you really understand that in order to save money, a reclining seat is really overrated. You have to find creative ways to get comfortable. A drink at the local airport bar before takeoff doesn’t hurt. Got me nice and relaxed before takeoff and I slept like a baby for three-fourths of the nearly four hour flight. Even better, in Atlanta, I got a few shots of Jack Daniels through security and took them like a champ on the airplane push-back. Knocked the fuck out until the final descent into the Las Vegas area.

All in all, my Spirit Airlines experience was good. I knew what I was getting into before I did it by researching their business model. Therefore, no surprises. Only surprise was the one hack I exposed, getting a larger back on board without paying the extra $100. They were really lacking on that front. I have to fly Spirit a few more times to expose more hacks, but until then, if you are looking to save some serious coin, Spirit is worth a try!

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