Spirit Airlines Breakdown: Are they worth the cost? Airlines run a competitive market with very meager profit margins. Despite incredible growth in the airline industry and the amount of flyers world wide, the airline profit margin hovers around 1%, which explains the constant restructuring, bankruptcies and mergers we see going on with various carriers today. in 2012, airlines made an average of $4 profit per passenger carried.
With the average traveler getting more internet savvy and eager to price shop, we see the increase of interest in budget airlines. However, is the cost really worth the “bare bones” state of flying.
Let’s have a closer look at Spirit Airlines.
Hidden Fees: With Spirit, you will need to pay for items that are normally included in standard larger airlines. For example: pre-selected seats, carry-on bags, boarding passes. This is why they call their ticket prices the “Bare-Fare”.
Let’s break this down:
Example Itinerary: Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale mid August
Cost: Average flights are approximately $230 roundtrip (which is fabulous!)
Here are the additional add-ons:
- Carry On Bag: $35 per carry on each way (if booked online at the time of booking) Otherwise, it is $45 per carry on each way (if booked before check in) *Carry-ons are not personal items. Basically anything that slides under you seat is considered a personal item an that is included. This refers to the items that must be stored in the overhead bins.
- 1st Checked Bag: $32 per bag each way (if booked online at the time of booking) Otherwise, it is $42 per bag each way (if booked before check in) *Yes… you read right… the checked bag is LESS than your carry on bag.
- 2nd Checked Bag: $42 per bag each way (if booked online at the time of booking) Otherwise, it is $52 per bag each way (if booked before check in)
- Assigned Seat Request: $17 – $20 per seat each way (average) *You can allow Spirit to assign you seat 24 hours prior to check in… However, if you prefer not to sit in the middle, you may want to pre-select you seat.
- Boarding Pass: $2 if printed at airport kiosk or $10 if printed by the airport agent
- Drinks: Spirit will charge $1-$5 for drinks purchased onboard
Total additional costs for a round-trip flight: $168 – $228 per person
For the super savvy traveler who knows exactly what they are going to pack the moment they book their ticket… the add on price will be an average of $168. This estimation is based on the average traveler who packs 1 carry on, 1 checked bag and does not like being squished in an aisle seat.
For someone who needs a bit more time to decide on how much luggage to bring and checks in at the counter… you may be looking at an add-on fee of something closer to $228 tacked on to your “Bare Fare”. The costs can easily really rack up to over $1,000 in additionals for a family of 4.
IMPORTANT: keep in mind… even for your checked bag… Spirit checked bags have a different tiered cap for weight limitations. Your general checked bag allowance is for 40 lbs, whereas other airlines are 50 lbs.
So, let’s compare apples to apples. In comparison with other larger name brand airlines (which also charge for checked bags)…
Airline Scheduling and Flight Changes (IMPORTANT!)
With Spirit tickets, due to their set schedule, they have less flights operating per day, so if there are any delays or missed connections. You may be stuck until the next departure the following day. Whereas, larger airlines have a full flight itinerary which allows you to catch one of the various following flights (even allowing you to use their partner airlines).
So, all in all… it’s up to your preference when deciding on an airline. Some may enjoy not paying for items that they don’t use. As an avid traveler, I like having certain comforts like flexibility in schedule, knowing I have a back-up flight to catch my cruise and of course…
I can’t say enough about those Delta ginger cookies and a refreshing soft drink while flying.
Hope this helped! Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear them! Let me know what airline you like most or are interested for us to write about!