Brace yourselves as what I’m about to suggest to you may come as a shock. However, I found out this hack of a frugal traveler tip via word-of-mouth, then put it to the test a few times, and now I can no longer hold it in. It can be budget-friendly. It sort of comes with a trade-off. …But it’s awesome, and it’s a really good secret. Best of all, it is ninja trip friendly. Consider this a confession of a jetsetter.
At the moment, this tip is only applicable to ONE airline, and that’s Spirit Airlines. If you’re familiar with Spirit, you must be distastefully nodding your head. (This was the trade-off I was talking about.) Yes, Spirit has a notorious rep for getting what you pay for, and absolutely nothing more. But there’s a way to lower the price you pay.
You can do so by purchasing your ticket at the airport. Most airlines have their best deals online, but Spirit works the opposite. By buying your ticket with a Spirit sales rep at their check-in desk, you can get a flight as low as a penny! A PENNY! That is the price before taxes, so your total will most likely cost you under $10! Steal of a deal, right!? Of course, there’s a catch.
FEES. Spirit Airlines is special because it does the main job and truly gets you from point A to point B. It’s called the “Bare Fare”. Though much like European budget airlines, Ryan Air, you get charged for everything! There are no complimentary drinks or snacks, and a carry-on bag actually costs more than a piece of check-in luggage. Have no fear; I have just the tips for you to make this work.
Follow these, and you’ll be golden:
- PURCHASE YOUR TICKET AT THE AIRPORT
- You know where you usually check-in your baggage at the airline desk? Head to Spirit Airlines and march right up to that desk! Be ready with your travel dates, start and destination points, as well as your form of payment and ID.
- These prices are guaranteed to be cheaper than the Spirit online price. Generally, the more in advance you book, the lower the price, but Sunday prices are usually more. You can book as late as the day of your departure. In the past, two days in advance has served me well.
- INVEST IN THE RIGHT BAG
- You get ONE personal item. That is NOT the same thing as a carry-on bag. Your personal item must fit underneath the seat. A backpack or a small duffle should suffice. If your bag looks large enough to have to go in the overhead bin, you will end up paying for it. Pack light!
- CHECK-IN BEFORE YOU ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT
- Print your boarding pass at home if you can. Boarding passes on a cell phone will NOT be accepted for Spirit travelers.
- If you don’t have access to a printer, that’s okay! Just make sure you still check-in online. You can print a boarding pass at the kiosks at the airport.
- Avoid the desk. If you check-in at the airport, you will have to do it at the airline desk, and you guessed it – there will be a fee!
- PAY FOR ANY UPGRADES* ONLINE
- Purchasing your ticket is the only thing you shouldn’t do online. If you must bring a larger bag, pay for it online.
- When I say upgrades, I mean all usual flight expectations you will now consider luxuries.
- Seats – you will have the option to pay anywhere from $2-12 for seat selection on the plane. You can avoid the extra bucks by allowing Spirit to select your seat. Most times, I choose a $4 option to secure an aisle or window seat closer to the front so I can be among the first to leave. Btw, these seats do not recline.
- Snacks & Drinks – you can’t pay in advance for these online, so bring your own.
You’re all set!
Granted, this is not ideal for everyone nor every travel situation. The following are just a few of the reasons why this deal may NOT be best for you:
One more note…
- $9 Fare Club
- Spirit Airlines offers a membership for exclusive deals starting at $59.95 a year.
- To be honest, I’m not loyal enough to Spirit to be a part of the fare club. I still like flying the wanna-get-away deal with Southwest every now and then, as if I’m spoiling myself. If you follow my tips, you’ll be getting a pretty great deal already.
Have you flown with a budget airline before? How was your experience? Or do you have any airport hacks? I’d love to hear in the comments below! Also, give this post a share as I think everyone can use a getaway every now and then.
From one jetsetter to you; happy travels!