SMB and I were returning from Boston on Spirit airline. We didn’t know the intricacies of traveling in a budget airline. Not at the time of booking. As soon as I started booking our seats, I realized there’s a charge for selecting seats. Being frugal I decided not to book out seats and waited for the airline employee at the check-in. To our surprise we were allocated seats at two extremes of the aircraft. There was a charge for the preferred seat allocation!
Read through this customer grievance forum for Spirit airlines and be amazed to learn their dirty tricks. Needless to say, we will never again travel with Spirit.
One Spirit traveler writes “This was my first and last trip on Spirit Airlines. It advertises low fees but is not economical as you have to pay for any seats other than the last 6 seats in aircraft, carry-on bag and any food or beverages including a glass of water. The baggage situation is horrendous. If you follow the information online you think you can bring on a carry-on bag for free. However, that is not the case, and by the time you find out which is usually when you are entering the aircraft they charge over triple the online price to carry the bag onto the aircraft“.
(Related – 8 tips to get cheap flight tickets)
Recently CNN carried a story about hidden airline charges, It mentions a report that claims Baggage fees were worth more than $3.3 billion to the U.S. aviation industry alone, last year. Not only Spirit, even Delta, American Airlines, US Airways, etc also charges seat selection fees.
UK based news paper, Daily mails says, Budget airlines are pocketing a staggering £265,000 a day in illegal debit/credit card charges. This problem is every where. Low-cost for the seat is a trap. If you do not read the fine prints, you have to eventually shell out huge money for all the comfort you’d other wise enjoy in a regular airliner.
We can’t set aside the mere fact that the cheapest fare has the less special treatments. Sometimes, they are ripped off. How can you know that your Budget Ticket Airlines are Rip offs? Below items might answer your concerns.
Reasons why budget and low-cost airlines are costlier than you think
1. Hidden charges. After being contented in your cheap ticket fare, you will never love the idea that these airlines are just trying to rip you off with their different cheeky charges. Of course these are hidden, you’ll never know until you’re ready to pay –you have nothing to do to avoid it.
2. Go-large baggage and get extra payments. Most of cheap tickets are fixed prices. Thus, there are certain weights allowed for your paid cheap airline ticket. But how it will be happened that you’re going somewhere bringing a just and controlled amount of baggage –of course you’ll going to bring indefinite baggage weight. So, expect to pay for more.
3. Check-in Baggage. Indeed, you gotta bring indefinite amount of baggage knowing you have to pay extra for this, and you can’t hand carry them all –so you have to check in. And after your long travel, and about to get your checked-in baggage, you’ll see that your baggage will be carry out carelessly. For sure, this will bring you another cause of disappointment.
4. Super sweaty travel experience. Expect your expectations. Since you chose a cheap travel, then expect a very sweaty and smelly travel experience. Expect that the airline will get thrifty. Aboard using less aircon, more passengers, noisy environment equals hassle feeling. Expect that everybody are packed like pickles in a small container.
5. Uncomfortable feeling and position strategies. Plan your sitting position. Since you chose cheap, expect to have a small room for your legs. Also, please be aware that you can receive free insect bites from your uncomfy chairs. These are freebies, you have to enjoy these things, keep yourself relax.
6. Freebies for sale. One of the best thing to do while traveling on board is eating. However, it can bring another problem if you expect to have free food while wandering. Junk foods, pack of peanuts, biscuits, soft drinks, juices and the like. These foods really bring delights on your travel and it can ease boredom while traveling, but it’s a big Oh, if you found out that they are not free –also expect that you gonna pay foods aboard which are double to triple more expensive than its original price. So instead of buying these, prepare a packed lunch before leaving your house.
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7. Old interiors and false facilities. Music Players, TV Monitors and the like are some of the things you might see in the aircraft. But since you chose to have this cheap travel, most likely, you’ll experience broken music players and blocked out monitors. You may have to pay for the head phones. Expect to experience stinky and dirty rest rooms that can really bring no comfort at all. You can also see messy floors.
Customers complain about seeing stuff on the seats from the previous passenger, made me think they cut cost even on the cleaners. Or, the cleaners must be under paid.
8. Deaf (and sometimes rude) Flight Attendants. Encountering all bad experiences while traveling to your most wished place really sucks! Of course you will tend to blame the flight attendants about all these things. Nevertheless, they will say how good their airlines are, and/or how they are trying to bring out the best travel experience ever. But the truth is, you chose your place. There’s no one to blame aside from yourself.
9. Later than never. Flight delays is the most hated part of most of the travelers If you afford to buy cheap tickets, you gotta accept the fact that your flight has the greatest possibility to be delayed. You are not the priority here, then expect to meet the clouds in the sky later than never.
There are stories of promising partial refund for the delay and later denying by putting the blame on air traffic controller or airport officials, etc.
10. New destination equals new costs. After dreaming so many times, finally you’re going to fly now! But oops, you have to face this unnecessary weather condition who join with your excitement. With this being said, expect to have an emergency landing on the nearest airport within your vicinity. And it will start another nightmare. You have to pay for another ticket just to travel on your original destination. Come on, enjoy the catastrophe, you paid for that.
Thereafter experiencing all these, surely, you gotta change your mind of using this old school cheap ticket fares on your next trip. Because if you are really a practical one, you know how to differentiate the best out of the rest, considering the comfort and safeness you’ll feel in your travel. The best travel experience is actually the one that can bring you in the horizon in search of your destiny.
(Related – 10 tips to reduce international travel expense)
One disclaimer at the end, travelling in a low-cost airline can still be a better option for individuals who do not believe in luggage as a necessity and don’t carry even a carry on pouch, the ones who can curl up like earth worms and the ones who can easily fall a sleep even when public address system constantly buzzing with call for credit cards and other items from the airline’s shop. Also, these people shouldn’t even think about drinking water inside the aircraft.
I would say you need to be a combination of earth worm, python and a camel to really travel for less. Else, I’d prefer main stream airlines with peace of mind. Sometimes I get my night’s sleep only inside an aircraft before reporting for duty the next day.
Readers, while travelling in a budget airlines, how was your experience? Did you feel cheated in some way?
Jenny @ Frugal Guru Guide says
I think this is one of those situations where you have to be very sure of what you’re getting into and what you want to pay. I really doubt that budget airlines are more likely to be delayed, though–their profit margins depend on full, regular flights.
Tushar @ Everything Finance says
I’ve never traveled on a budget airline, but I’m really not a fan of travelling on planes to begin with, so this sounds like a nightmare to me. I hate the uncomfortable seats and chance of delay (or cancellation) on a normal airline; I don’t think I’d be able to do budget. How much cheaper are the tickets usually?
[email protected] says
My wife handles most of our travel plans and is very good at finding cheap flights. Out of all of our flights together we have only had one issue and it was that the bags we checked were damaged. It did not appear to be mishandling but appeared they got stuck in the conveyer belt. The airline replaced one bag an fixed the other with no questions. I will have to say the hidden fees do add some issues but we just do not purchase those tickets.
Money Beagle says
We haven’t flown in four years and things have gotten so outrageous with the extra charges and penny pinching, that I’m guessing what the traditional carriers offer today is probably worse than what the discount/budget carriers offered four years ago, so I can’t even imagine how bad it is on those carriers today. It’s probably safe that we just avoid flying altogether, a strategy that has so far worked out just fine 🙂
KK @ Student Debt Survivor says
Haven’t traveled a discount airline, but have had some horrible experiences on the “regular” airlines. Including the very last seat in the back of the plane (yup the one right by the restroom) with the seat that doesn’t recline (from NYC to Seattle-ugg).
[email protected] Guy,Skinny Wallet says
Such great info, thanks for sharing! Very good to know!
David MoneyPenny Meyer says
There are a few inaccuracies here.
First of all, the writer leads you to believe you have to pay extra once you get to the seating selection.
You do not.
You have to pay for the extra legroom seats (like every other airline) and if you click next, the seats will be chosen for you for free. I’ve flown a few times and have ended up in an extra legroom seat at no extra cost this way.
Second, the broken monitors and etc are common in european budget travel, mostly because the flight is usually only an hour or so anyway, but Spirit is NOTHING like that.
I only use Spirit when I see a great deal like $30 one way/$60 round trip to Vegas..etc.
For the extra $25 for one bag, i’m still paying half of what I would pay on a standard airline.
Plus a small carry-on is absolutely free, Just stuff everything else you need in a suitcase and check that.
If you seriously aren’t smart enough in this day and age to bring your own headphones/earbuds, you deserve to pay whatever fee they charge to use theirs.
This was also very very commonplace up until recently. Ever more so, United and others created proprietary technology where you were forced to use their headphones to fit into the jack.
Spirit does not do this.
This is a poorly written article backed with very few facts and heavy on generalizations.
I suggest you actually fly Spirit to see or at least spend five minutes on their website.
It’s a shame…..
David MoneyPenny Meyer says
Also, you’re paying dirt cheap prices, you get what you pay for.
You didn’t get to sit next to your friend/spouse for 3 hours?
I’m so sorry. I know I need someone to hold my hand and be with me at all times too.