Author Topic: Frontier and Spirit Airlines - Amazing or Terrible budget airlines?  (Read 3800 times)

MillenialMustache

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I have read some online reviews about these budget airlines and they seem mixed. I wanted to get the opinion of the MMM community.

Example:

I just paid $504 per ticket nonstop on Southwest (my preferred airline) to go from Orlando to Las Vegas. This was cheapest of all lines except Spirit and Frontier for the times we wanted (could have maybe saved $25-$50 for a different time).

Frontier was listed at $258 and Spirit at $383. I understand there is a baggage charge on both - my DH and I could use a large bag and I think it would be $25 extra or so per line. We don't need drinks (I think you can bring sealed ones on the plane, which we can handle), I would like to pick our seats but not required, any other extra fees? Any safety concerns or other concerns I am not thinking of? Are they terribly uncomfortable - DH is 6'3'' and can barely stand a seat on Southwest?

Should I consider one of these lines next time and flex my frugality muscle, or are they just a bad idea? Looks like I could have saved around $200 per ticket by going Frontier.

(PS - I know about travel hacking - flying to Alaska for free in a few days. This was a work conference that came up unexpectedly so my flight was free and we paid for DH. We are saving our miles to fly to London for free next summer. Wanting advice outside of doing travel hacking).
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 12:39:06 PM by MillenialMustache »

ketchup

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I've only dealt with Spirit.  You get what you pay for.  Spirit has no legroom, no complementary anything, they try to sell you their credit card the whole flight, and flights tend to be a few hours behind schedule. 

But prices can be literally a third of what you'd pay elsewhere.  Spirit is worth it if a lot cheaper, maybe not if only a little cheaper. 

Also, they charge for both checked bags AND carry-on bags (you're allowed one "personal item" that fits under the seat in front of you).

bdoubleu

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We've used Frontier twice, due to the large price difference.  Granted, it was a short (~1.5 hour) flight, so the comfort of the flight didn't really even cross our minds.  We've used Allegiant in the past, too, but never Spirit.  Haven't used Southwest (they don't service our area). Cheap tickets in exchange for charging for every bag, picking seats, etc.  Hubs and I usually share the largest bag we can bring to cut down on the bag fee which hasn't been a problem, and we each bring a carry on (ie "personal item" which is free).  But still cheaper than using the standard airlines in our experience.  Fees were pretty clear when booking through the website (we usually "book" all the way to the point where you enter payment information, just to see everything added up).

Haven't had any problems with delayed flights or any other safety concerns.  We would definitely use Frontier again, as they provide direct flights from "home" to a few of our choice destinations.

act01

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Frontier used to be great. Reasonably priced, good service, nice planes, good rewards. I just recently tried to buy a ticket and found they add a charge when you choose a SEAT - so the base fare they advertise is total crap!

It's really too bad because I was really happy with them before. I'm still a fan of Southwest (for flights under a couple hours).

zolotiyeruki

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I've flown Frontier a couple times in the last 6 months.  It's definitely an a la carte airline.  The ticket price you pay is just to have a seat on the airplane.  If you want to choose which seat, it's another $6.  One free "personal item" (fit under the seat).  Carry-ons are more expensive than checked bags, but I've never seen any evidence of people actually paying for carryons.  Drinks or snacks cost extra.  Seats with more leg room cost more.

I've had no issues the few times I flew on Frontier.  I was traveling light--just a backpack.  I wouldn't classify Frontier as either "Amazing" or "Terrible", as long as you recognize the reason for the low ticket cost.

ketchup

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Oh, another fun quirk of Spirit: they charge $3 for a cup of water.  Just to understand the truly bare-bones nature of a flight from them.

MillenialMustache

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Thanks all for the thoughts and I would love to hear more. As of now, it looks like we will flex our frugality muscle and pick one of these airlines for our next domestic flight that is not work related.

Thanks!

TheAnonOne

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I have done Spirit a few times, if you can pack a backpack or perhaps share a checked bag (40 lbs max with them) it is basically free to fly.

For instance.... Delta is usually 300-330 from MSP to LAS (we go pretty often)

If you look for the cheapest dates and times, Spirit can literally be under 100 dollars.

Total costs....
Delta- 300X2 600 + Checked bag costs (free if you have their cc)
Spirt- 100X2 200 + $60 for one round trip baggage cost.

200 vs 600? I can usually put up with a small seat and no free water (I almost always buy my own anyway) for 3-4 hours to save 400

socalwkr

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We flew Spirit last month and if you are smart it is dirt cheap.  2 hour 15 minutes flight for four people was $488 TOTAL.  We signed up for their $9 club which gets your further discounted flights and reduced check bag fees.  We checked two bags, printed passes at home, didnt reserve seats (costs extra) and still were all seated together.  If you are flying with multiple people just check in quick when it gets 24 hours out and you should be fine.

We did forget to refill our water bottle, and the quality of wine etc offered is pretty bad but it was worth the $800 extra dollars!

If you are not savvy they will nickel and dime you so just adhere to their rules. 

minority_finance_mo

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I've flown Frontier and generally had an okay time. The price of the flight (last minute from NY to Austin) was under half the next cheapest for the dates I needed. I don't particularly care for the "luxuries" offered on planes; I bring my own snacks in a little baggy, and I'll fill up my water bottle once I get past security. May I never feel the urge to pay hundreds of dollars extra to move my seat back an extra 6 inches.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 03:21:16 PM by moe_rants »