It's been a while since I saw a Spirit review, so I figured I would share my experience flying with them for the first time. Two years back, Spirit added Louisville to its route map, which included the country's only nonstop from Los Angeles to Kentucky. I had heard good things about Louisville and this was a great opportunity to cross another state off my list.
The fare cost about $144 roundtrip, which was a bargain compared to what other carriers were asking for, with 1 or even 2 stop routings. Spirit operates mostly out of Terminal 5 at LAX, which needs a facelift especially when compared to Delta's sparkling new Terminal 3. Spirit shares T5 with American, JetBlue, and others. We were parked next to an AA jet heading over to Maui.
I had heard complaints about comfort on Spirit, but at 5'9" in the window seat, I found it to be perfectly okay. I did find the two pieces of string holding the Safety Information card to be comical, but they did the job. Not surprising also to see the tray table being miniscule compared to other carriers. The seat padding is adequate, and they chose leather over cloth interestingly.
You can see how small the tray table is here. This makes it tough to place a to-go plate of food or work out of your laptop. The one good thing about the tray table is it has a little nook that fits a small smartphone. Note that it's very scuffed after years of use.
As far as service, as most of you know Spirit is an absolute bare-bones carrier where you have to pay for literally everything. Anticipating this, and knowing I was only in Kentucky for a weekend, I stuffed my backpack to the brim so I wouldn't get grief at the airport (it counted as a personal item). What I did find interesting, is that the Big Front Seats were retailing for $300 online the night before and upgrades were offered at $63 at the gate. Exit Row seat upgrades were $41 at the gate.
At the gate, several passengers were visibly upset when asked to consolidate their items or when they had to pay for bags. Fortunately, we had an on-time departure out of LAX and got treated to beautiful views of Venice and Santa Monica on our right.
Before we turned east, we got a nice aerial of the Channel Islands.
Thanks to the jet stream, we landed in Louisville ahead of schedule. Knowing that Spirit charges for everything, I had loaded up with snacks and a bottled water. But I will share their pricing below. I feel like the pricing for the snack boxes is similar to other airlines.
The pricing for alcohol seemed high…for comparison a Corona at a bar in Jeffersonville, IN cost me $4.75. They do have interesting incentives if you buy more (might make sense if you're sharing with friends under one card).
Also, $4.50 for Dasani seems like a ripoff, especially knowing the quality of it.
We landed in Louisville ahead of schedule with no incidents on the flight, and after deplaning I headed out to catch a Lyft to the Courtyard Marriott. It was a beautiful day in Kentucky as well!
If you prepare ahead of time knowing that Spirit charges for almost everything, you should have a decent experience flying with them if you pack snacks and water and use a backpack as your personal item. I would fly with them again if it was for a short weekend trip like this one.