We’re all trying to save a few bucks on travel. Vacations are expensive enough as it is. So why not try out Spirit or Southwest airlines? They promise affordable prices for pretty much the same service every other airline providers. If you’ve bought into their pitch, you’re only facing one dilemma: which one to go with.
It looks like you’re not going to be making this decision based on loyalty programs, seeing as Southwest’s Rapid Rewards and Spirit’s FREE SPIRIT program are basically one and the same. Both embody the standards of your typical rewards program. You earn points by flying as well as shopping at any of the airlines’ partner businesses. Furthermore, points can be redeemed on just at just as many different items, from rental cars to hotel rooms and more.
Sorry to disappoint, but neither of these disappoint.
Here’s the first big punch in the competition, and it comes from Southwest. They do not charge for your first two checked bags. I repeat, they don’t charge. The third checked bag will cost you $75, but let’s be real, with a free carry-on, personal item, and two checked bags, chances are this is a fee you won’t be worrying about.
Spirit takes a clean dive in this category, charging $20 and $30 for your first and second checked bag. Furthermore, they actually charge you $25 for a carry-on, which renders the free personal item totally forgettable.
Neither of the two airlines cater to the comfort seeker. Southwest offers the normal 32” seat pitch and nothing more.
Spirit, on the other wing (see what I did there?), calls themselves the Earth’s favorite way to fly. Well, that may be the case, but it certainly isn’t mine. In an attempt to reduce emissions, they pack in the extra seats, making their aircraft a clown car of sorts. Then they charge you if you ask to choose your seat. If anything, that’s definitely not comforting.
Business Class/First Class
Let me dispel the illusions here and just say that there is no such thing as luxury on these airlines. Southwest offers a Business Select option, which gives you priority boarding, speedy movement through the checkouts via Fly By lanes, and extra rewards points.
While I’m sure you’re unimpressed, at least it’s something, which is more than I can say for Spirit. The closest thing to select on their aircrafts are the “Big Front Seats,” which offer slightly more legroom. That’s great and all, but the charge for this service can be anywhere between $12 and $150. It’s just absurd.
Which Is Best?
With slightly more comfort and prices that are far superior, Southwest airlines in the better value of the two. In the end, Spirit takes too much away for too little in return, and even if flying is just a means to a vacation end, it fails to even meet the low standards it claims to maintain.