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Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

posts: 4
reviews: 98
Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

I recently booked a round trip flight between Los Angeles and Las Vegas for $93.00. I used either Expedia or Travelocity; I don’t remember which. What I didn’t know until after I printed out my boarding pass at the airport was that I had to pay $45.00 each way to check my small suitcase. Every other airline I’ve ever flown considered it a carry-on. On Spirit, it’s only a carry-on if it fits under the seat. It could have been worse. If I had to check the bag while boarding the plane, they would have charged $100.00 each way.

I asked the ticket agent how I was supposed to know that. He said their terms were posted on their website. I hadn’t used their website. I suppose I just should have realized there would be a catch. Maybe I’m overly sensitive to being cheated, but I don’t think it’s fair to hide the true cost of travel so far down in the small print.

Just so you know, the only thing free on Spirit Airlines is the lavatory. A bottle of water is $3.00. A small bag of M&Ms is $2.50. If you want a pillow, there’s a charge. If you want a blanket, there’s a charge. If you want to pick your seat before boarding, there’s a $10.00 charge. That’s not an upgrade; that’s just what you pay for not having the seat assigned randomly. If you’re not traveling alone, that might be important to you.

On the return flight to L.A. there were a couple of inconveniences that reinforced my decision never to fly Spirit again. They issued a boarding pass for my seat to another person, so I had to wait until everyone else had boarded before they found me a seat. After we landed, we had to wait on the tarmac until another plane left the assigned gate. That’s not too terrible, but the wait was far longer than the ten minutes they told us it would be.

28 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 46,282
reviews: 14
1. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

'Maybe I'm overly sensitive to being cheated, but I don’t think it’s fair to hide the true cost of travel so far down in the small print.' http://www.spirit.com/OptionalServices It's not mice type. A search for 'Spirit airlines fees' brings up this page, where the optional fees are laid out for all to see.

'After we landed, we had to wait on the tarmac until another plane left the assigned gate. That's not too terrible, but the wait was far longer than the ten minutes they told us it would be.' This is one bugbear that cannot be ascribed to Spirit. Ground movements are strictly controlled by ATC. Until a plane is cleared for pushback (or has an available tug to move it) it cannot leave the gate, so others (like yours) may have to hold on the apron and wait for an available gate.

This is frustrating, as it's a 'so near yet so far' situation, but it's not something that airlines do specifically to annoy customers.

That your seat was double booked is also an irritating matter but it's something that can happen with any airline; ideally a good crew (with the help of ground staff if need be) can sort things out quickly and to the satisfaction of all.

Spirit are an ultra low cost airline; their low fares reflect unbundling of services that other airlines offer within what is usuallly a higher fare. Some pax like the ultra low cost model, others do not.

Coffs Harbour...
posts: 1,227
reviews: 139
2. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

For $93 return, not a bad deal even with all the 'extras' you received.

If these issues truly are this traumatic for you, i suggest you drive next time. It would cost more in fuel and still take longer, but at least you can put your bag in the trunk for free.

Considering you cannot even remember who you booked with, it is little wonder you were unaware of the baggage rules/costs. Yet, somehow, you have been a tripadvisor member for some time, yet took little to no interest in researching your trip, only complaining after the fact.

Hardly deceptive (well, at least, no on Spirits part).

London, United...
posts: 15,548
reviews: 23
3. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

It's not deceptive, you just did not take the time to research and simply booked the cheapest ticket you could find and hoped you could get everything thrown in for that price.

The terms and conditions are available on line, there is no such this as small print any more, and you were not cheated, simply you were neglectful and unrealistic.

Watford, United...
posts: 3,927
reviews: 12
4. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

No they are not deceptive. The charges are clearly laid out on their website. Clearly the fact that you failed to look does not make this deceptive.

As has been mentioned you got a great all in fare. Would you have got such a good fare on a full service airline?

Travelling The World
posts: 11,443
reviews: 17
5. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

Blame yourself. Travelocity or Expedia both tell you and you missed it. I did a search on both sites and in both under details it said in normal size print.

"One way price for 1 traveler, including taxes and fees: $35.90 Carry-on baggage fees apply."

Then when you choose your flight, before you pay there is a box with a big headline in orange so it's very hard to miss:

"Important Flight Information

We want you to know the airline you're traveling with has the following restrictions regarding your flight.

Tickets are nonrefundable and nontransferable. A fee of $125.00 per ticket is charged for itinerary changes. Name changes are not allowed.

The airline may charge additional fees for checked baggage or other optional services."

So I'm afraid that which ever third party you booked with the information was all there, and it is certainly there on the Spirit website as others have said.

So to answer your question, no, Spirit is not deceptive. Neither are Expedia or Travelocity,

Edited: 4:47 am, December 22, 2013
Lake Crystal...
posts: 255
reviews: 13
6. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

OP: "Maybe I’m overly sensitive to being cheated, but I don’t think it’s fair to hide the true cost of travel so far down in the small print."

You cannot remember whether you booked through Expedia or Travelocity. It does not appear that the print needs to very fine, or very far down, for you to miss it!

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 5,660
reviews: 75
7. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

"After we landed, we had to wait on the tarmac until another plane left the assigned gate. That’s not too terrible, but the wait was far longer than the ten minutes they told us it would be."

That happens on at least 50% of the flights I'm on no matter what the airline. If a 10-20 minute delay causes you enough stress that you need to go online and post about it, probably you should not be flying.

Spirit's been charging for overhead space for years. Their business model is a la carte pricing. They keep the base fare low and then charge for every little thing, the idea being people can buy what they want and don't have to pay for what they don't want.

"A small bag of M&Ms is $2.50. "

Don't think there's an airline in the USA that gives you free snacks anymore.

Llanelli, United...
posts: 4,079
reviews: 200
8. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

Hi Joe, I'm assuming that you don't fly very often as the notion of a la carte pricing is not new. As with any purchase, when buying flight tickets it's very important to understand what it is that you are buying, what you are going to get for your money, and the restrictions that come attached to the ticket.

It appears that, on this occasion, you did not do very much research, didn't ryead ort understand the conditions of the airline you were going to fly with, and have only discovered this during the actual travelling. Unsurprisingly, this has come as a bit of a shock, but it wouldn't have if you had read the warnings (not even the small print) on whichever site you booked with.

And I'm afraid that being unable to remember which site you used does say a lot about your approach to buying this ticket!

tucson, az
posts: 1,766
reviews: 6
9. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

>>Don't think there's an airline in the USA that gives you free snacks anymore.<<

Southwest does. I cannot tell you how much less tedious the trip from Orlando to Phoenix got when we were offered our choice of snacks and I chose a 4-pack of Oreo cookies. Oreos make flights happier.

Travelling The World
posts: 11,443
reviews: 17
10. Re: Is Spirit Airlines deceptive?

So does Jetblue - cookies, chips, soft drinks and hot drinks are included in the fare.

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