Spirit Big Front Seat

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Old Apr 21, 19, 8:59 pm
  #1  
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Spirit Big Front Seat

Just thought I would solicit some community opinion before I do something I thought I would never do - fly Spirit

I'm looking side-by-side with DL F, and while obviously the product is not going to measure up, even after paying for a carry-on and BFS and self-catering something from the airport, it's still coming out to half the cost of an F ticket on DL. That, combined with the fact that the NK flight is slightly better timed, has me strongly considering it.

I think I've done my homework in what flying Spirit entails, but well... has anyone got any last words for me? Would you save $250 per ticket (one-way) for it?
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Old Apr 21, 19, 10:39 pm
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In general, not if I really needed to be some place — would not want to deal with Spirit limited schedule with IRROPS.

What is the route?

Last edited by arttravel; Apr 21, 19 at 10:45 pm
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Old Apr 22, 19, 2:43 pm
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LAX-MSP, coming home from a Sunday event in LA. NK flight leaves an hour later, giving more time in LAX... I figure unless we get the 1.6% of flights that cancel it will probably be fine. But I have had a blanket "don't fly Spirit" rule so I am never sure (would be my first time). Obviously not my first choice, but I am capable of dealing with the IRROPS one way or another, assuming they're not that likely (looks like ontime numbers are better in recent months).

Times like this I really, really miss SY F as a competing option.
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Old Apr 25, 19, 1:33 pm
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I'm certainly no fan of Spirit and have only flown them for one round trip (BWI-MYR-BWI) but the flights were on time and there were no issues or hassles. Actually, Spirit has been on fire this year regarding on-time performance:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/grantma.../#423bfa1c14a1
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Old Apr 28, 19, 5:11 am
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Been flying them more and more recently with their expansion into CMH. Big front seat is the best deal out there. Saving hundreds per itinerary so long as flight times work.

Service from crews and airport staff that have been helpful and friendly. Give it a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Just be aware if you change your mind and check luggage, it takes 20-40 min in my experience. Worth saving $ hundreds though...
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Old Apr 28, 19, 10:22 am
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Thanks for the feedback all. Went ahead and booked it - got an extra hour at the event in LA and saved $280 a/i per pax versus DL F (minus cost of dinner and drinks I suppose), so it should hopefully prove to be a good choice.
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Old Apr 29, 19, 4:23 am
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by findark View Post
...saved $280 a/i per pax...
Sounds like a great deal. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Apr 29, 19, 12:41 pm
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Glad you posted this question, as I'd never considered Spirit. Please post what the experience was, if you have a chance.
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Old May 6, 19, 10:10 am
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i was researching spirit and found this thread. i only started flying last year and only PHL to DFW. I choose spirit because of the big front seat. i dont know how the rest of you 'muscular big boned' people do it in regular coach. i did one time fly american and buy an aisle seat but i was still miserable. but the flight time was better for me that trip. the only difference i saw on american was you get free soda and snacks and a common tv. hardly worth the increase in price even with the 3 dollar water bottle on spirit.

last weekend on my return flight i was forced to do an emergency row aisle on spirit because i only booked 4 days out. but on the initial trip to DFW. i did get the big comfy seat. i think 139 plus 50 for the 'first class' seat was a steal just TWO days before the flight. every other airline was over 400 just for the cramped seat. but returning on the emergency row seat got my extra legroom but the width really killed me. i was so sore when i stood up. hate other people arms jamming into my stomach and leg to leg for 3 hours. again. unsure how you big people do it on a regular basis. i also wanted to note that the big comfy seat on the a319, which is the summer plane, is not as comfy as the A320. there's something weird in that my lower back feels more sunk in. you definitely can lean your head back far if you want to though.

im a huge fan of that big comfy seat and if you are tiny like my gf, you can easily deal with the standard seats they have. she's always comfy.

i'm also fortunate to 90% only need a free personal item . ive learned to pack up to 5 nights in there! ive never checked bags. also they are always so darn early! my gf is still at work and i land 45 min early most of the time.

the only downfall i see about spirit is if your flight is delayed/canceled you are screwed. that happened to her once going from PHL to dfw she had to wait until the next day and 12+ hour flight. not fun. but thats very rare.

i realize the big seat is about 1 inch more narrow than american (only line i researched 1st class) but for 50 bucks ill take it compared to the 700 normal 1st class flight on american. also tues/wed flights are frequently 60 to 80 bucks on my route and saturdays arent really too much more most of the time.

oh one other gotcha but not a biggie for me. you only earn half your miles until

Earn 12,000 FREE SPIRIT miles over preceding 6 months

-or-

Spend at least $1,200 on base fares (not including taxes, fees or optional services) over preceding 6 months

so i guess i spent 1200 because im now elite and earning 100% miles. i'm glad to be upgraded from a somebody lol.

if you tried spirit and hate it, i get it. but if you didnt try it, dont knock it. unless you have the money to blow, but i dont.
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Old May 7, 19, 6:27 am
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Hi luckydriver:

Spirit is great in these certain circumstances, I'm glad you've found an airline that works for you.

One interesting thing to note is that the measured seat width for first class seats is very misleading. It's only the space the cushion occupies, and it doesn't account for all of the extra arm space you get (from the oversized arm rests). So the Spirit cushion might be an inch thinner, but the arm rests probably make up for the rest.

I'm also much more concerned with my shoulder space than leg space. I'm 180cm / 71" and would much rather a wide seat than an exit row, even if it means less pitch. Though extra pitch is nice.

I really wish they had more flights, but I realize that they must be selective with capacity in order to fill their planes and allow for such cheap fares.
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Old May 7, 19, 6:48 am
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amen to shoulder room! i can tuck legs under me 3 hours no problem but i cannot tuck my shoulders!

is spirit pricing normal for other airlines. for PHL to DFW this is the common setup

the one nonstop flight can be anywhere from 55 off peak (tuesday) to maybe 125 to 150 in june peak days.then they will list a crazy 2 stop flight for 300 bucks. i do understand if you are bumped etc you may wind up on that one but dang. who outright is gonna chose a 12 hour flight at 300 vs direct at around 100? ive recently seen an instance where a more expensive flight was sold out before the non stop. very weird. it also does stink that on this route spirit doesnt have more than 1 non stop but i'm grateful for it.

regarding the armrest, the big seat center one is pretty nice. i wouldnt know what other lines look like. but i can put my arm there and the 350 lb guy next to me did and we never touched. to me thats all i require in a flight. no touching! i do hate when someone uses it to hold their drinks though.

they also had a pretty sweet deal last flight and i wish i took the app. 35K (after just one purchase) plus 1K miles if you fill it in on the plane and 1st year free for the credit card. where they really really mislead you is they said 2500 needed for some flights. technically true but only if you fly less than 1250 miles OFF peak. my standard price for region 2 is 12,500 miles. so still would be 3 trips. but i didnt understand something. even during a week of standard pricing for miles, the miles needed varied between 5000 and 12500 but the PDF said it was all standard pricing. i assume standard means would be the same but obviously i'm wrong. they still charge more for non tues/wed flights in mileage. rather confusing.

anyways i got my gold star. finally elite on spirit, which means nothing. but it's still a pretty title
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Old May 8, 19, 2:30 pm
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Very useful for Lima and expensive Caribbean flights.
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Old May 16, 19, 1:12 pm
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Spirit Big Seat LAS-MSP thoughts?

I'm also considering flying Spirit, something I've vowed I would never do... (I did once when I was like a child like 20-30 years ago don't remember much)

Looking at flying LAS-MSP.

Big question is, is it worth it to bite the bullet and do Spirit for a good full night's rest in a hotel in MSP or air on the side of caution and do one of the other options?

I have a convention that ends around 5PM and the only option out is 7:22 with NK. getting just after Midnight. The price is pretty solid $169 for a ticket, big seat and carry on bag. Granted I 95% of the time just use MR points for First Class. I know it won't be first class, I just want the big seat to do a little work on my laptop, I know the costs involved if I want a beer or a water. But what about safety? How do they compare to the big 3 or say JetBlue? That's my only real concern. Cancellation looks like once in the last 45 days, and I'll pay with a travel delay/cancellation credit card so if something happens I'll go right over to Delta and take the 12:55am flight.


Other options below but would only get 4 hours of shuteye due to having to be somewhere the next morning..

If I wasn't to do the direct with NK
I could fly
1. LAS-LAX-MSP (via AA and DL)
2. LAS-SFO-MSP (via UA)
both would get me in at 5AM

3. Delta Non-Stop (LAS-MSP) 12:55am getting in at 6AM but that limits me to like 3 hours of sleep.

Cost is more because First Class ($330-430) but using MR points with rebate so it'll be in the $200-300 range out of pocket so it's all relative I suppose to NK's $162..

I don't sleep on non lie-flat planes so sleeping on the plane just doesn't happen...

Last edited by theboss7593; May 16, 19 at 1:19 pm
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Old May 20, 19, 11:28 am
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I just got back from my trip, so I thought I would make a mini-TR out of it. The relevant features of Spirit are well-documented elsewhere so I didn't take any pictures, but figured I would offer my take. All in all it was... okay. Not great, not awful, and absolutely worth it given the circumstances.


Booking

Booking was a little bit stressful since I didn't want to mess anything up and I know Spirit is big on "gotcha" tricks to squeeze additional fees from pax. The website was fairly straightforward, although strongly structured to sell you things you don't really need (combo packages and whatnot), and would continually suggest I do things like sign up for the $9 Fare Club or purchase "Flight Flex" (seemed to be a limited change fee waiver). My biggest issue ended up being accidentally opting in to Groupon marketing, which generated about 10 emails a day for the three days it took me to figure out how to unsubscribe. None of that was easy to do, which is completely by design, but I guess it's partly on me for not figuring it out.

It's always worth remembering that the advertised fare on Spirit is usually not what you're flying... for my stage length (LAX-MSP) I usually purchase F or secure an upgrade, so I wanted to replicate that flight experience as much as possible. Our per-pax cost was:

Flight: $136.29
Bag: $38 for a carry-on
Seat: $47 for the Big Front Seat
Catering: ~$24 for a hot sandwich from Farmers Market in LAX T5, plus I had one of the BuzzBallz cocktails that seems to be a mandatory part of the Spirit experience

Total: $245.29 -- a solid $250+ less than what Delta was asking for their 5:30pm nonstop.


Airport

With just a carry-on and a BP which I had printed at the hotel (I did not want to mess with the Spirit app, and I figured paper was safer in any event), the airport experience was uneventful. Perhaps the worst part was answering "United" out of habit to the Hertz shuttle driver and then needing to embarrassingly correct myself. T5 Pre was deserted and the terminal itself decent.

Boarding was a pretty chaotic process, and never having flown NK, I had no idea what to expect. Pax with paid carry-ons board together in Zone 1, which meant I still had no idea how hard it would be to get one up. There were no lines; instead, a disorganized flood crowded the gate when boarding was announced, much in the fashion of LH flights in Europe.


Seat

I was mildly disappointed with the hard product. As advertised, it is a 36" pitch domestic F seat which is mostly standard. However, there is no reclining mechanism or moving headrest, and no cocktail tray in the center console. What disappointed me was the state of the seat though. The padding was rather poor and had a heavily-used feel to it, despite the aircraft (N685NK) being barely a year old. I could feel it in my back every time 2D bumped my seat, which was surprising. Overall, the seat was reasonable but not extremely comfortable, as it remained sufficiently upright as to make sleeping more difficult. One of the more impressive things was how densely the seats were packed into the aircraft; the bulkhead was less than 1" thick and encroached on doors 1 L/R enough that I'm sure they had an inspector on board the a/c sighting the distance down to the millimeter.

The Row 1 legroom tradeoff was standard for domestic F at 36" pitch, and so I think I may have preferred Row 2 for the greater legroom under the following seat. Both sides of Row 1 suffered from reduced privacy, as I could see the FAs in their jumpseats from 1D (there is no closet), and the partition in front of 1AC has a window at head level. Another downside compared to normal F is that there is more frequently a queue for the forward lav that tends to congregate in the aisle right next to Row 1.


Service

The service felt pretty normal for an Economy cabin. The most unique thing about it was that the food/drink run was lightning fast, since the FAs assume that with nothing free most pax would not order anything. I actually was skipped because I didn't react fast enough and had to flag down an FA later to order a drink, but this was not a problem.

I self-catered a sandwich from LAX and a liter of water, which I ate at a normal in-flight mealtime and supplemented with the Mile High Lemonade cocktail from the onboard menu. The drink was pretty tasty actually (200mL at 15% abv), and overall I thought it amounted to decent catering. From the official onboard menu, Spirit only offers cold snacks to complement their drink selection.

About 25 minutes before final, we were interrupted for a Spirit tradition - the announcement of the lucky "middle seat lottery" winner. (They give 5,000 NK miles on each flight to a "lucky" pax in a middle seat.) This was followed by several rounds of trivia-style giveaways of 5k miles each where pax had to ring their call buttons, and then the usual arrival announcements. Since the main cabin lights came on for this, it was pretty disruptive to me and what I assume were most of the other 227 pax who were trying to sleep at 11pm. However, the mood seemed pretty upbeat, so it was mostly just a strong reminder that this was not DL F.


Overall

I'm definitely glad I spent ($520) for two of us to take an hour later flight. The experience was roughly inline with my expectations, and I would describe it as like domestic F if every cut you could imagine your least favorite airline executive getting away with actually happened. Seat pitch is slightly below standard at 36", the lack of recline makes the seats slightly less comfortable than normal, and the service has been severely curtailed. Still, the seats are a reasonably pitched 2-2 layout, and Spirit charges a quite reasonable fee for their selection. It sure beats the misery of 28" Y!


Responding to theboss7593, I would absolutely take it again if it meant avoiding a redeye or an inconvenient connection.
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Old May 21, 19, 6:49 am
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Love the trip report, findark. Sounds like you had a reasonably comfortable flight for some very reasonable ticket prices & that your schedule worked out perfect. Always enjoy a good trip report!
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