Why Is Spirit Airlines So Cheap? (11 Reasons Why)

Photo of author
Morgan Stephens

Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

Spirit Airlines is perhaps one of the most economical flight companies out there. If you’re looking for affordability, this is where many people turn and they have tons of options.

But what is it that allows this company to offer so much cheaper flights than anyone else out there? Are they really cheaper when all the fees are said and done? Here’s what I found!

Why Is Spirit Airlines So Cheap?

1. Bare Bones

When you’re looking at ticket prices, Spirit will appeal for obvious reasons. There’s a good chance it will be significantly lower than the competition.

Just know that the price you see truly covers only the promise of a seat on the aircraft. There are several things with Spirit that cost extra but other airlines include them in a regular ticket.

The advertised prices that you see are only accounting for the seat. If that is fine with you, then saving the money is likely well worth it.

But if you want to have a printed boarding pass, choose your seat, or even bring a carry-on, there are fees for that.

2. Not A Luxury Flight

For prices this low, you need to expect what you pay for. While many flights aren’t cozy in general, Spirit is a cheap flight even in basic creature comforts.

Their planes certainly pass inspections but you won’t have much space. You will likely be crammed in with all of the other budget fliers.

Where most flights provide complimentary snacks and drinks in flight, that is not the case here. Remember nothing is free once you purchase your ticket.

3. Fees For Everything

The immediate purchase of a ticket from Spirit Airlines likely seems like a great deal. But it’s important to pay attention to the finer details like fees.

This airline charges a fee for every little thing. If your bag happens to be too large, it’s a huge fee. Checked luggage is a major fee.

Even something as simple as a printed board pass is a significant fee. When you look at the structure, the added fees are where Spirit makes its money.

Read More:  Why Is North Korea Dark At Night? (5 Reasons Why)

According to sources, Spirit makes close to 60% of its revenue from fees alone.

So, your flight looks cheap at the ticket price but it might not be cheaper by the time you pay those fees that are tacked on for everything.

4. No Refunds Available

You get what you book and you don’t throw a fit. Before you book your ticket, make certain that you will be using it. Or that you’re ok with forfeiting your costs if you don’t.

We get it. Unexpected things happen all the time. But Spirit isn’t quite as forgiving when it comes to the unexpected.

You can choose to either take the loss for the money or pay a significant sum to change your ticket. Rumor has it that you will likely pay more to change than you did for the said ticket.

To give the company some credit, they did put a hold on the change fees in the throes of COVID-19. Otherwise, you’re looking at $100 or so to cancel or make a change on a flight.

5. Kid Flights

It’s not uncommon for a child to need to fly back and forth. In shared custody situations, this happens quite often.

In some cases, the kid will be accompanied but there are many times they fly alone. Spirit has been known to take advantage of this for yet another fee.

Your child can fly alone only if they are over the age of 4. But there’s a catch. Of course, the catch is that you are going to pay a fee.

They are not even guaranteeing a flight companion but since your kid is flying alone, they’re going to charge you $100 for that.

6. Not So Cheap?

Not So Cheap?

The listing prices always seem great but perhaps Spirit isn’t as cheap as they seem. By the time you either add bundles to choose your seat or check a bag, expenses add up.

Read More:  Why Are Flights To Cabo So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

It is cheaper to pay for some of these things when you initially purchase the ticket. However, you will find that even with that, you are likely not saving all that much money.

Just be aware that while your flight looks cheap from the beginning, it might not be so cheap when it’s all said and done. This is where they get you.

7. Not A Great Reputation

If you do any kind of research on Spirit Airlines, you’re going to see a lot of negative feedback. They’ve been labeled as the worst airline in history more than once.

The truth is that many people are caught off guard by each of those little fees that get tacked on. The fees are “unexpected” and often the source of frustration for passengers.

The fees are disclosed in some areas but we’re unaccustomed to paying a fee for things like a printed boarding pass. It certainly can be an inconvenience when you don’t realize it.

If you look at their reputation, you could be scared away. Or, you could understand the source of frustration, which is a fee for everything.

8. No Frills

Where many companies go out of their way to bring you the frills and the things that make you comfortable, Spirit prefers to just keep it simple.

Simplicity is how they can keep their rates as low as possible. Of course, that’s not considering the additional fees.

However, even if you don’t pay for anything extra, you will find that the flights are built with no frills. You have all the safety you could need but just nothing extra.

9. Not So Valued Customer Service

We’re not sure if they just don’t pay customer service reps enough or if they just get tired of saying “that fee is disclosed at booking”.

Whatever the reason may be, Spirit Airlines is not known for customer service. They have a reputation for terrible service across the board.

Read More:  Why Are Flights To New Zealand So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

Of course, we’re unsure if this relates to the fees themselves or if there are underlying approaches to customer service that are at play here.

People may look down on their customer service because those fees aren’t refunded when they complain. But these are details that it’s impossible to know.

10. Low Costs Across The Board

We experience low costs when booking fares. Although we have ascertained that perhaps the costs aren’t as low as they initially seem.

Spirit has a reputation for not only having low costs but also not paying employees high salaries either. The charges you pay represent the budget across the board.

They can charge low rates initially because they maintain low costs.

11. Availability

Finally, the other reason that Spirit can perhaps charge low rates is their availability. The airports they fly into are slim pickings.

During peak seasons, they stay fairly busy but only in select areas. They limit their travel to specific areas and airports, reducing their internal costs as well.

In this case, they cut corners in certain areas to be able to cut corners for your costs.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Southwest is so expensive, why Frontier is so cheap, and why Alaska Airlines is so cheap.


Spirit Airlines is notorious for low rates. They are also notorious for extra fees and no added frills.

If you’re looking for a cheap flight, just know what you might be getting into and you can potentially save yourself some money.


  • Morgan Stephens

    Morgan Stephens has been to 43 countries and counting, and he's never content to stay in one place for too long. Right now, he's living in South Korea, but he's always on the lookout for his next adventure.

Leave a Comment