So easy on Spirit. You know where you are sitting. If you don’t pay for a seat they will assign you one when you check in online. No standing in line. They kept our family together and the email says if you are traveling with kids 14 and under they will try and seat you together.
We can sit together on SW but often times we would need to buy early bird since they allow family boarding before the B group.
Seats: the width of the regular seat was just fine. It didn’t feel like there was as much floor space on Spirit but that’s probably because if you carry on a personal item it has to be under the seat in front of you which leaves less room. But the pay for exit row leg room on Spirit looks amazing. Southwest exit row leg room is so small in comparison. But Southwest has larger trays and better seat pockets.
Bags: Southwest allows a personal item, carry on and 2 checked bags.
Spirit allows a personal item for free. You pay for checked bags and carryon. I will say the personal item bag can be fairly large and worked well for us, but if you have a lot of luggage it would be costly.
We payed $38 roundtrip per person. Next week I’m flying for $57 RT. Even if I paid for a checked bag I would still come out way ahead with Spirit.
Southwest is terrible about communicating delays/cancellations. I always have to constantly check FlightAware when I’m using Southwest. Spirit has contacted us twice today about our flight.
In flight service:
Southwest offers free sodas and pretzels. There is in flight service on Spirit but you have to pay $3 for a Coke and pay for snacks. To some that would mean Southwest would win, but given that I save so much $ on plane ticket, I’ll buy a $3 drink if I’m that thirsty. Plus their selection of snacks is much better and half the time SW doesn’t serve anyways if it’s a bumpy flight.
Winner: probably a tie, depending on how you want to look at the situation.
On time departure/ lost luggage:
All I can go off is the Forbes rating for airlines for 2023. Spirit came in number two, so I’ll give the nod to Spirit for the rating. I feel fairly confident about this as we’ve had multiple flight delays and cancellations by Southwest this year. And when they canceled our flight in March it took 3 ridiculous hours to get our luggage back.
On the return flight from MCO in about 3 weeks, I splurged for the 2 big seats at the from of the Spirit plane for DH and I! I paid extra for the Frontier exit row seats but the ones a bit further back to save $$. Added flight flexibility to both. I think Spirit will win for the bigger seats but I’m also wanting to copare the “budget” airlines.
We usually fly SW but Frontier and Spirit both have direct flights to MCO. And the flight is about an hour. I can handle even a terrible flight for an hour, hopefully🤞
Total flights round trip will be under $330 rt for 2 people. I didn’t add a bag because it’s a weekend trip and I like the challenge to get everything into a personal bag
My one experience with them sounds very similar to @Enchantedbythemouse with Spirit. The flight crew were great. The on flight service was generous. I think the only challenge was that they only fly 4 days a week to Cincinnati (where I was going) so if something happened to the flight, rescheduling would have been terrible.
With regards to seats…I would actually give this to Spirit for the Extra Legroom and the first couple of rows that are wider and on my flights were only like $60 extra (each way). I have some serious panic attacks that it literally takes all my strength not to scream on airlines touching strangers. So $60 for a 1 and a half times width and if I’m travelling in even numbers can sit next to only a family/friend is extremely worth it. On Southwest for example, I still pay the extra to get the earlier boarding so I can get the exit row and DH and I sat next to each other in the two that are just the two on SWA. However, these are the normal width and legroom. SWA really screwed people in exit rows out of extra legroom except that one seat that doesn’t have a seat in front of it…but it also doesn’t have a seat in front of it so you can store your purse/backpack. So, for me who always pays more to avoid panic, Spirit wins when it comes to seats too. I don’t care about all the first-class extras you’d get on AA for example for that same size seat I can get for pretty darn cheap on Spirit.
Also, spirit has way more snacks/drinks than SWA though they cost, I’m okay with paying for something more than crappy pretzels/crackers/chex mix.
My main issues with Spirit:
That line at Orlando for bag check once took 45 minutes and we barely made it to our gate on time (they were already lined up waiting to board when we got there
A couple of times I’ve changed flights (to cheaper flights) and Spirit was supposed to give me a credit and instead charged me. I had to call to handle cuz the people in the chat window were extremely rude (asking me why I changed the flight, which according to their documentation does not matter and insisting I upgraded to a more expensive flight though I proved to them I didn’t multiple times). The woman on the phone was extremely helpful and resolved the issue but that online chat got me and I almost said I’d never fly Spirit again.
They have less direct flights a day than SWA. With SWA as long as I don’t pick that last flight of the day, I know there’s a chance I can get on a later direct flight but with Spirit if something happens with that flight, that’d be it. I wouldn’t get where I wanted to at that time without paying to fly some other airline (since they are both discount airlines and you can’t switch over to any other airline).
I will also say one time I had a flight from John Wanye to Austin via Dallas Love and it got cancelled because Love Field had bad weather and Austin didn’t. SWA paid and put me in a taxi to LAX for a direct flight to Austin for free so they do have my heart a little for doing that for me. (It was New Year’s Eve and I was trying to get back to my boyfriend before midnight!)
When the kids were younger, we would drive and make a road trip out of it. We drive to on of the FL state parks that would get us at least halfway there (usually a bit more), spend a few days, go to Disney for 5 or 6 days then drive back, spotting st the beaches around Destin for a few days. It wasn’t too bad and cost less than flying. But these low cost direct flights now out of MSY are a game changer.
No more driving unless that is the preference for some reason.
I have a back up flight later that day. I’d HATE to pay the extra $350 but I can cancel it up to like an hour before the flight (or something even closer, can’t recall). And no flight credit, actual refund.