You don’t see me talk often about Spirit Airlines on the blog but I did get a chance to fly them for the first time recently (more on that in a future post). I didn’t die, and have a better situational awareness of where Spirit can fit into a budget for individuals or families who love to travel. They fired their CEO recently, I’m guessing mostly because their stock price hasn’t done so well. I’m hoping that doesn’t change the funny ads or aggressive pricing.
They announced a 96% off sale today that’s not exactly 96% off (still have to pay those government fees) but offers some pretty great discounts if you’re able to travel midweek. For example, I found these regular priced fares on the Denver-Las Vegas route:
And, these prices when entering in the “96PCT” coupon code. Not huge savings on the nonstop flights but a decent one on that morning 1-stop flight.
Other cities seemed to already be at the deepest discounted prices, which are astonishingly low.
I love the line “You effective government ta rate for this selection is 157%”. At any rate, $34.10 one-way to Fort Lauderdale is pretty awesome with 30 inches of snow on the ground. And, $35 one-way to Las Vegas is pretty darn solid, too.
Spirit makes a lot of money on extra fees for many different things to be aware of. They’ll charge you to check-in at the airport if you don’t print your boarding pass at home. They’ll charge you to put a bag in the overhead bin. And, of course for a checked bag. There are some ways to avoid these fees which I’ll discuss in a future post. But, you should consider all the fees in your total price before you think that trip is super cheap.
You may also want to look at competing airlines to see if they’re matching prices on these midweek flights. American Airlines has said they’re aggressively competing on non-stop route pricing with Spirit.
Probably the most important detail to consider is their schedule. In cases of irregular operations, Spirit won’t put you on another carrier. And, they frequently run behind. So, I wouldn’t book a cheap flight on Spirit if I had to be somewhere at a very specific time unless I had a backup plan.
A good backup plan for Spirit can be frequent flier miles. It sounds silly, but look at the dirt-cheap prices as a way to take a gamble while your miles act as an insurance policy. If Spirit screws you, book a standard award last-minute (maybe you get lucky and find saver inventory) as your backup plan.