Tips for Spirit Airlines customers on getting the lowest fare and avoiding fees

February 24, 2012
Get in the spirit

With some simple strategies, you can easily nab a low-flying fare on Spirit Airlines. A few tips:

●For online reservations, check the fares on third-party sites such as Kayak and Expedia to be sure that Spirit really has the lowest price. If it does, purchase the flight on the carrier’s Web site (www.spiritairlines.com) and you’ll probably save at least $5 each way. To avoid paying the passenger usage and the “unintended consequences” fees, buy your ticket at the airport.

●If you’re a frequent traveler, consider joining the $9 Fare Club. The charge of $19.95 for a 60-day trial or $59.95 a year grants members access to exclusive deals and discounts on checked and carry-on bags. At the very least, sign up for e-mail promotions for no extra charge. Also, check the Web site frequently for coupons and sales.

●If you plan to check or carry on bags, pay in advance online, a cheaper alternative to paying at the airport counter or at the gate. Also be aware of your bags’ weight and size: The airline charges an additional $25 for bags that weigh 41 to 50 pounds and $100 for those measuring more than 62 inches. And it just gets worse from there.

●If you can pack light, try to cram all your belongings into a personal item that fits under the seat. There’s no charge for this category of carry-on, and once you’re settled in your seat, you can toss your bag into the overhead bin for free.

●Unless you’re picky or traveling as a family, don’t preselect a seat; let the airline choose for you. At the last minute, however, I was able to switch my airline-assigned seat at the airport kiosk for no charge.

Bring all your own food and drinks onboard. Cold beverages, including soda and bottled water, purchased at the airport often cost less than the selection sold in-flight.

Andrea Sachs (not the one who wears Prada) has been writing for Travel since 2000. She travels near (Ellicott City, Jersey Shore) and far (Burma, Namibia, Russia), and finds adventure no matter the mileage. She is all packed for the Moon or North Korea, whichever opens first.
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