The "ultra low cost carrier" offers flights from IAH to Dallas, Orlando, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Denver and Las Vegas, but after reading the complaints of a score or so Houston travelers, one might wonder if pack mules or stage coaches might be better ways to reach those cities. (Oregon Yelpsters quoted at Portland Monthly's Tripster, our sister publication, shared similar tales of woe.)
A caveat: Yes, it's just Yelp. And yes, the Internet inherently brings out the snark.
But when over half of the 28 reviews for a business are one-star shellackings (as is the case with Spirit in Houston), you might be wise to wonder if that cheap ticket is worth it in the final cost-benefit analysis.
Or even if it is even really that cheap to begin with, because nickel-and-diming through hidden fees was one of the main gripes Yelpsters had with Spirit, but that was just one of many, beginning with annoyances while trying to check-in online.
"We started off on the wrong foot by Spirit forcing me to create an account with them in order to check in online," writes Christy W. of Pearland. "I don't know about you, but I have plenty of online accounts set up for useless crap reasons like this and I really didn't need another one. No other option though."
Once at the airport, the nightmare deepens...
Here's Melannie M. of Fresno: "Yes these tickets were cheap, but I ended up paying nearly 200 dollars more for ONE check in bag, and two carry ons (for me and my friend)I have flown with numerous airlines and never have I had to pay for a small rolling luggage! I threw a small fit about having to pay the obscene amount and the lady at the desk seemed so used to my response. (Probably because it's expected) there's a fee for EVERYTHING. Even down to just printing a f**king receipt and boarding pass. I'm surprised I don't have to pay to write a damn review!"
Delays are not uncommon and aggressive marketing is the norm, even as said delays drag on and on. To Spirit's customers, these things go together like chocolate and celery.
Here's Patricia S. of Evanston, Il: "I'm probably not the first to say this, but they should be called Crush Your Spirit Airlines. We experienced a three-hour delay, and Spirit never offered any kind of explanation or even an apology for completely throwing our plans out of whack. The delay ended up being longer than the flight. At some point during the third hour of our wait, a couple of Spirit employees started coming around and talking to everyone in the terminal. We thought it was to offer some sort of mea culpa, but it was actually a marketing pitch trying to get people to join their 'club' and get a Spirit credit card. Holy schnikeys, I can't imagine what could ever persuade me to use this clown outfit again."
Surely things get better once you get in the air, right? Right? Not so much, according to these Yelpsters, one of whom points out that Spirit's rock-bottom fares entice parents traveling with small kids, and we all know what a joy that can be. Holly S. of Houston certainly does:
"On this particular flight, I was lucky enough to be seated in the section for Bebe's kids and got the joy of blood curdling screams in my left ear, and ass punting from the foot of a 4 year old in my rear. I had about 1 and half inches of leg room, and a woman in front of me who insisted on reclining her seat the entire flight. Hello top of stranger's head! The only thing that kept me from meeting a U.S. Marshall was the two bottles of Crown Royal I paid $16 for and the nice couple from Michigan on the right of me. They distracted me with small talk so I wouldn't turn around and punt the 4 year old in the face."
What of the luxuries of Spirit's first-class section? (Available at a premium, of course.) What sinful luxuries there must be there! Think again.
Here's Holly S. once more:
"Now, don't get your hopes up...1st class means only one thing on Spirit. A bigger seat. There are no free beverages, no blanket or pillow if I choose and certainly not a clean seat. My second row, 1st class seat had gum holding the seat back pocket on. Chewed gum."
So you've made it to your destination and back. You're home. You've learned your lesson and vented on Yelp. You are done with Spirit Airlines forever. Not so fast. Remember that account they made you sign up for?
Here's Christy W. of Pearland again: "They are now sending me emails even though I have unsubscribed from them (like I want to have anything to do with them ever again!). My trip was less than a week ago, so hopefully that will be fixed in very short order. Otherwise, that's ILLEGAL Spirit, in case you know nothing about the Can-Spam Act."
So there you have the Spirit experience as described by a few of your fellow travelers.
Have you flown Spirit? Were the savings worth the hassles? Tell us in the comments!