Do you get the emails from Spirit Airlines offering you $9 specials on tickets? Often wonder how they do it, with gas prices soaring?
They are for real, and I have flown Spirit to Atlanta several times for less that $78 round trip. You just have to be willing to travel on the dates they offer the special fares.
Well, I learned first hand this weekend how they manage to survive in this economy with such cheap tickets!! I live right downtown and a cab can usually get to my house in a few minutes, so I never bother friends to take me to the airport. Well, last week no cab came and after waiting for a half hour I had to find someone to drive me at the last minute..that took another 20 minutes, on top of the half hour I'd already waited.
Armed with my Spirit Special $78 round-trip ticket to Atlanta, I went running into the airport with 42 minutes to spare, only to hear that their cutoff for checking in is 45 minutes. I tried several check-in windows, thinking I'd find a fellow human who would take pity, but NO, it is surely their policy to make you get in a new line to rebook another flight, as this one was closed out at 45 minutes. Very frustrating as the minutes ticked off, and I knew my booked plane was still sitting at the gate.
The new line was long, full of angry passengers shut out at the 45 minute mark. Most were even angrier when told what the re-booking fee would be!! To get on the next flight to Atlanta, Spirit would charge me $333. One way!!
There were 3 students in front of me, coming home from a vacation in the islands, looking happy and tanned with their Bo Derek braided hair. Their connecting flight had just landed, and they went straight to the Spirit window to check in for the flight home. Their glow faded when they were told about the exorbitant re-booking fees!
Not being happy to take no for an answer, I even tried to get to the gate, to see if there might be a 'human with a heart' there, but couldn't get through security without a boarding pass. Please pass this advice on, to all who fly, BE SURE TO PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASS ONLINE! You can do this on the airline website 24 hours in advance. I could have gotten on, even so late, with a preprinted boarding pass!
So this is the answer to the question "How can Spirit Air offer the $9 specials?" With all the huge fees they get from poor slobs who get totally screwed at the airport if they show up a minute after the 45 minute cutoff.
(The ending of my story is: I wouldn't pay the unreasonable $333 re-booking fee. I honestly would have canceled my trip before falling prey to such a rip off. I went home and re-booked a flight online, on a different airline, careful to avoid Spirit altogether, flying out the next morning for less than $100 one way. I used my original Spirit return ticket, making sure to get to the airport with hours to spare!!!)
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