"First Class" for ~$142! | Review: Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat Chicago (ORD) - Los Angeles (LAX)
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Booking the flight-
If you haven't read my newest trip introduction on my Bangkok Budget trip CLICK HERE!
I needed to position for my ~$600 business class fare from LA-Bangkok. After looking at my options I thought it was best to book Spirit Airlines. A lot of travelers have a gripe with Spirit Airlines, but I think they are severely undervalued in the US market.
Why you might ask? Because they have “The Big Front Seat” that is a similar equivalent to domestic first class on mainline carriers without the full service. Since a lot of passengers booking with Spirit are price sensitive these premium seats are often a great bargain and widely available on their flights.
Even after adding up the extra costs of checking a bag and paying the upgraded seat, my cost came to a total of ~$142 one-way.
I checked in online which gave me the option of a mobile boarding pass, to print it out, or both. I choose mobile since I can always print it out at the airport.
I did have a checked bag for this flight since it was cheaper and can hold more. I usually don’t fly with a checked bag because I hate waiting at the baggage carousel, it can get lost or delayed, I have access to my carry on whenever I need it, and it’s faster for me door-to-door.
Once I got to the Spirit counters at the end of Terminal 3 they have these remote computer stands. I could only figure out how to check in and print a boarding pass.
I know on some airlines they will let you print out the checked bag stickers and you just drop it off, but it seems Spirit wants you to wait in line as well and have one of their employees do it. (EDIT: Coming back from LAX to Chicago the computer stand was able to print out my checked bag tags, so it might be different for each flight or airport). +Once your bag is ready to be checked there is a TSA station next to the security line you will drop off your bag too.
It sure would be much more convenient to be able to print my own tags and drop it off myself instead of having to wait in line and have an agent do it. Luckily there was only one family in front of me and a lot of counter agents so I was through in no time.
Now Onto The Flight-
Chicago (ORD) - Los Angeles (LAX)
Wednesday Oct 31st
Duration: 4 hours 12 minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A331
Seat: 1D (Aisle)
You don’t get any lounge access at O’hare when flying Spirit, and there are no priority pass lounges to take advantage of so I just sat at different gates taking in the views :)
Airlines that depart from Terminal 3 are American + Oneworld partners (Iberia, Jal, etc), Jetblue,. Spirit, Frontier, and Air Choice One.
My ticket said boarding would start ~1 hour earlier than departure, which is insane considering how small of an aircraft this is. Airlines with the A380 double-decker are fully loaded in less time than that.
Sure enough boarding was delayed about 15 minutes, but we still pushed back 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
For you bigger people out there like me, you are not able to get a seat belt extender in the first row since it has a airbag in the seatbelt. I didn’t end up needing it anyway and had plenty of room, so you should too.
The crew was efficient and friendly when I spoke to them, but otherwise very unmemorable. I didn’t get have a chance to see any of their names because they didn’t have a nametag or their ID card was turned around.
I took a peak at their on-demand food purchase menu and it actually wasn’t too poorly priced. There are some well priced combos in there that would entice me. Today I only got a muffin to hold me over before In-n-out
I believe some Spirit planes already have wifi, but mine did not. The whole fleet is going under renovation and will be complete in the summer of 2019. A big move in the future of Spirit, in my opinion, since this will mean a lot more business travelers will use Spirit as an option creating more competition for the big airlines to not only to continue competing with price but also in-flight offerings.
Spirit has it’s flight attendants push their Spirit credit card having a dedicated 3-5 minute pitch over the intercom. I checked out their pamplhet, but I think I’ll pass.
Currently there is no form of entertainment, but luckily I downloaded a couple of shows from Netflix to watch while in the air.
The lady next to me in the window seat was from Chicago going to LA to see her family. She was a sweetheart and slept most of the flight switching her head resting position from the wall to my shoulder. BE VERY STILL, DON’T MOVE. LET HER SLEEP
Before I knew it we were preparing for our descent. Looking out the window we saw the Grand Canyon and eventually the hills surrounding LA county.
We had a smooth landing and before I knew it I was collecting my checked bag. It was out in no-time, and it’s not because I had “priority baggage” for the big front seat like I did with Hong Kong Airlines, but it’s nice not having to wait around.
Who knows, maybe soon I’ll really embrace this whole checked bag thing like Richard Kerr from Award Travel 101/TPG.
We arrived approximately 10-20 minutes ahead of schedule, even after waiting a little bit for an open gate.
At The End Of The Day-
Spirit Airlines hits it on the nail again. A comparable product for much less than what the competition charges I can’t complain. I’m not missing the shitty/subpar meals with some cheap alcoholic drinks while I can save money and have a better product than economy.
As long as Spirit continues to improve their on-time-performance I think they are a real threat to the US big 3, eventually cutting more into business travel.
What do you think about the value for money I got on my flight? Would you fly Spirit’s Big Front Seat?