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As I wrote about here, Spirit Airlines is one of the airlines that I wanted to try this year (even though I’ve seen the many reels and tweets with Spirit passengers brawling). We flew from Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) to Tampa International Airport (TPA).
Anthony’s Take: I had heard horror stories about Spirit Airlines and seen plenty of videos of people fighting in airports and on planes. I booked the best possible experience by purchasing a Big Front Seat (Spirit’s equivalent of a domestic First Class seat). We were on a brand new Airbus A320, but it still lacked a power outlet, Wi-Fi, and the ability to recline. I’d fly Spirit again if I had to based on schedule or cost (I’m actually going to be since I need to be in Atlantic City for work and they offer a direct flight from Tampa). Service was good in terms of friendliness and the flight arrived 45 minutes early. There was no need for me to get my phone out as the flight was also incident free.
I booked the flights directly with Spirit Airlines. The Big Front Seats cost an additional $222 per person. This coupled with the extras of bringing a carryon bag and priority boarding, brought the total one-way ticket cost to $933 for the two of us. This was significantly cheaper than Delta and United who each wanted well over $1,500 for two one-way tickets in first class.
Boarding was calm and quiet. Spirit has two lanes (one marked Group 1 and the other for Groups 2-4). Preboarding was offered to passengers needing extra time, active duty military, and families with children under the age of three. We were in the front of Group 1 and boarded quickly.
Our seats were located in row one (1C and 1A). There was decent legroom (similar to the bulkhead on United or Delta), but the seats have no power outlets and cannot recline. Wi-Fi was also not an option on this brand new plane (it was delivered without it installed per the flight attendant).
The pouch on the wall in front held the safety card as well as a menu (it advertised Wi-Fi on the back, which rubbed salt in the wound of it not being onboard).
I did a status match before this flight (unfortunately, after booking to take advantage of the other benefits) and currently have Gold status. This grants me a free snack and soft drink on board. My boarding pass did not display my status (you need to log into the app for that), but the flight attendant took my word and gave me the Cheez-It Snack Mix and a ginger ale.
I prepaid for Wi-Fi ($24 for the two of us). Wi-Fi was not installed on this new plane, which meant that there was no internet access (Spirit does not offer in-flight entertainment). I’m requesting a refund for the inability to use it.
Everyone we encountered was friendly, but unpolished and more interested in being on their phones or chatting. The flight attendant working up front made announcements every 30 minutes to update passengers of the arrival time (this was really unnecessary on a red-eye flight). We arrived 45 minutes early and were at the gate within minutes.
Overall Impression: Spirit Airlines is not as scary as I was expecting. I was particularly curious as to what we would encounter leaving Las Vegas and heading to Florida. The flight was uneventful and dull. No Wi-Fi, outlets, or the ability to recline are misses (especially when paying extra for the premium seats in front on a red-eye flight). We arrived safely and on time. I’ll fly Spirit again based on schedule and now know exactly what to expect.
Anthony’s Credit Card Pick: The Platinum Card® from American Express is my go-to for booking airfare from the airlines to earn 5x points (up to $500,000 per calendar year). The card has an annual fee of $695, but it provides many travel benefits and will always be my go-to for lounge access (both Delta Sky Clubs® and Centurion Lounges) and taking advantage of all that the Fine Hotels & Resorts program offers. Learn more. Rates & Fees. Terms apply.
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