Spirit Airlines – Is it that BAD?

We recently needed to book tickets to Las Vegas, and looking around, the ticket prices weren’t all that great.  It seems certain markets cost more than others when booking with Alaska Airlines, our carrier of choice here, and Las Vegas is truly one of those highly priced markets.  I was lucky to be able to book the outbound using British Airways Avios, at just a mere 22,500 points for 3 tickets, but trying to get a return, especially on a weekend using Avios was very tough.  Availability at the saver level on Alaska on a weekend, is almost non-existent from Portland (PDX).  Well, I went to plan B ; a paid ticket on Spirit Airlines. 

Now before you go on, and cuss me out for even thinking of booking a flight on Spirit, read the rest of this post, and you’ll learn a thing or two, and how to make it work for you to make it a pleasant experience.  Here are some tips for booking Spirit Airlines.

  1. Book Early to Save – Like any airline fare, the earlier you book, the more likely you will save money at the end. Spirit is no exceptions. Being a low cost carrier, and depending on the route you are flying, most flights will be full because, the its cheap. If you have to book last minute, don’t count it the savings.  Although, it might be cheaper than the major carriers, or even Alaska Airlines.  The earlier you book, the cheaper it will be, as I have seen in my experience.
  2. Book the BIG FRONT SEAT and BUNDLE  – Depending on the route, the ‘upgraded’ seat is worth it. For us, it was a mere $40 extra, but worth it, as its basically a domestic first class seat, without the cloth napkins, and service. I’d gladly take the additional room any day for that price, and I’ll get to maintain my mental health. Add the bundle at booking, and get all the perks you’re used to with the other airlines, if not more.  For us, it was way cheaper than Alaska Airlines even with the bundles. So Bundle and Save!
  3. Print Boarding Passes at Home or use Mobile – These guys are all about the extra ways they can charge you, and printing your tickets is no exception, so check in online or on your phone, and save some $$$ here too. No biggie, everyone today is on their phones anyway, so after you post a pic of that delicious muffin you just had, check in for your flight. You can use the savings if you want to buy yourself a snack on the plane.
  4. Use Spirit for Short Haul Trips – Would I recommend you to fly from the West Coast to the East Coast on Spirit? No way! A 2 hour flight is probably palatable, in terms of comfort, but being on this airline for hours may realistically suck…..at least for me, and with 2 small kids, even worse. I wouldn’t do it. Unless you can stand that sort of flying (dis)comfort, use Spirit to book small hauls, and avoid the long hauls.
  5. Budget for In-flight Food/Drinks – If you’re like me, you like the experience of warm nuts and a drink before flight. Well, dream on, because that’s a fantasy on Spirit. You can buy on board, and the prices are bit steep, so budget for it, or do what my wife did — buy snacks/drinks at the airport and bring on board. This way, you can choose what you want anyways. We have two small kids, so buying on board could could’ve reduced their college savings a bit.

Big Front Seat is just like First Class

Still cheaper than Alaska, with ALL the perks. $280.58 for 3 travelers!!

Okay, I think this is a good primer for you to use for booking Spirit Airlines, if you really have to.  Quite honestly, my wife said the service was good. The flight attendants were friendly, professional, and the plane was clean. We got to choose a departure time, we wanted, and that was helpful also.  What she really liked about it was that upgrade to the BIG FRONT SEAT.  My twins were comfortable, and they fell asleep quickly, which made Mom really happy. Will I be using them again? Perhaps, or perhaps not, but this experience definition made me take a second look at them, and consider them next time.  Have you flown Spirit Airlines? What was your thoughts and experiences? I’d love to hear ’em.

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HURRY! Cheap Alaska Airlines Fares!

Currently, there are some cheap Alaska Airlines round-trip fares from Los Angeles to San Francisco, or vice versa for only $76. This includes the taxes! This is a great way to achieve MVP Gold status, if you are with Alaska Airlines.  This fare is in coach, and upgrades may not be possible.  Play round with the dates to see if you can get this fare. However at this price, who can complain!

Travel Availability:
Departs SFO: June 5-7, 10-14, 16, 18-21, 23, 25-28; July 3-12, 14-15, 17-19, 24-26, 31; Aug 1, 5-8, 12, 14-23, 25-30; Sept 1-15, 17-22

Departs LAX: June 5-6, 9-14, 16, 18-21, 23, 25-30; July 2-5, 10-12, 14, 17-19, 22, 24-26, 29-31; Aug 1-2, 7-8, 12-15, 19-23, 25-30; Sept 1-15, 17-22

Perfect fare for a mini-vacation and bundle it with a hotel for greater savings.  This price is available from Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, and even Alaska Airlines website. If you have the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa card, you get 3 miles per dollar, and your 1st bag is checked free.

Happy Travels!

 

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SriLankan Airlines Has a Nice Trick

One of the best values for traveling around Asia is SriLankan Airlines.  Their normal fares to cities across Asia through their gateway of Colombo is sometimes a bargain.  With its membership in One World, you can redeem for flights on SriLankan, or accrue miles in your own program by flying SriLankan.  However, there is a little feature that sits on their website that I almost overlooked. The ability to bid for an upgrade on your seat to business class.  The way it works is pretty simple; book any fare for a flight on SriLankan, and you can bid for the upgrade.  No matter where you got ticketed, any fare qualifies. I booked my tickets from US Banks Flexperks.  Depending on where you are going, your chances of approval for an upgrade depends on many factors.  We were going from Kuala Lumpur to Male, which is not that big of a market, so my chances were good.  However, I only bid for the first segment, as it was the longest, at a little bit over 3 hours travel time. The last segment was only an hour from Colombo to Male, which was tolerable, but 3 hours with two 4 year olds, could get turbulent, so an upgrade made sense to me.  I did some research on FlyerTalk on a thread about upgrading on SriLankan to see what others bid before I decided on how much to bid, before deciding at $150USD. They website indicates they will notify you 36-24 hours before your scheduled flight if your bid was successful, or not.  I found they notified me exactly 24 hours before scheduled departure, with a positive email about being approved for the upgrade!

The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo was on an A330 and had kind of an outdated business class cabin, but it was still far more comfortable than coach.  Service was stellar, and flight attendants very professional and friendly.  The meal consisted of a starter, a main course, and a dessert, followed by a tea and coffee service.  The tea was excellent by the way.

Kid tested – Father approved.

Curried prawns and vegetables- spicy and flavorful.

Overall, I enjoyed business class on SriLankan, and hope to fly them again someday.  Transiting through Colombo was kind of hectic, as they changed gates on us, and of course its up to you to figure that out. We almost missed our connecting flight to Male, but at the end, it all came together.  Our departure from Colombo to Male was in the evening, and we arrived in Male at 8PM, which was perfect, because the kids were tired and ready to turn in.  Have you flown SriLankan Airlines? What was your experience like?

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