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Advice about airfare to FLL--SPIRT


GaCardinal
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I've been monitoring airfare for several months for our March cruise on the Harmony and I'm surprised at how high it has been.  ATL to FLL.  With baggage fees and extras it's way over $400 per person on every line EXCEPT for SPIRIT, which comes in much lower, even when purchasing checked bags ahead of time.  I'm a little hesitant to book SPIRIT because of all the horrible reviews, especially since we'll have our 3 kids with us.  Anyone have experience on SPIRIT that can give me courage?  It would save us almost $600 total and it's a pretty short flight.  Hoping someone can talk me into it.

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12 minutes ago, GaCardinal said:

I've been monitoring airfare for several months for our March cruise on the Harmony and I'm surprised at how high it has been.  ATL to FLL.  With baggage fees and extras it's way over $400 per person on every line EXCEPT for SPIRIT, which comes in much lower, even when purchasing checked bags ahead of time.  I'm a little hesitant to book SPIRIT because of all the horrible reviews, especially since we'll have our 3 kids with us.  Anyone have experience on SPIRIT that can give me courage?  It would save us almost $600 total and it's a pretty short flight.  Hoping someone can talk me into it.

2 questions:  Is it a direct flight from ATL to FLL? and Are you flying in a day early?  

If yes to both, then I personally would bit the bullet and do it, even though I hate Spirit.  March prices are crazy and have been for months.  @JLMoran and I have discussed endlessly how crazy the March prices are into Florida.

If no to either one of those then I would probably not do it because Spirit is notorious for not being on time right?  So if you're not flying in a day early, it's too much of a risk IMO.  And if it's not a direct flight and you have 3 kids, the airport waiting game is not fun.

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I used to be able to travel to Detroit direct from Cayman Islands (where I live) and they were great for the price at the time. I am using Southwest this time as they just started coming here direct from FLL now. It cost me about $200 pp including 2 suitcases each. Now with kids, it might be hard with the way they do the boarding but might be of interest. 

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I copied a quote from a friends facebook about Spirit. It is a long one but I thought I would share. 

"Well, this is not the week is not what we had expected to say the least. I'm pretty sure that everything that could have gone wrong during our "trip," went wrong. Lol.

We flew from MSP in Minneapolis to our connecting flight in Atlanta, Georgia. We had planned to take another flight from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We would then drive to Miami, FL, stay in a bungalow on Miami Beach, and proceed to board our cruise ship to spend a few days in Mexico.

Instead.. We were stranded in Atlanta, GA. Literally less than an inch of snow fell to the ground, and everyone originally from the area panicked. (Not even sure if we can actually call it snow because it changed between snow and rain, and didn't stick to the ground.)

Two flights ahead of ours were cancelled, but they let us board our 4:45pm plane (at the time we were thankful!) Once we got on the plane, we were stuck for (I'm not exaggerating) FIVE HOURS during which time, a kid vomited on the plane, and we were repeatedly told it would be 30-45 minutes until our plane could use the ONE de-icing machine they had for the entire freaking airport.

After 5 hours, we were told that our plane had maxed the amount of time we were allowed to be on the runway without taking off and that our flight had officially been cancelled. We decided it would be best to divide and conquer. The boys waited in line to figure out a new flight to get us to FL as soon as possible or get a refund, while Carly and I went to get collect our luggage from the baggage claim.

After Carly and I had retrieved our luggage, we were informed that we were unable to get back to the gate to meet up with the boys, because we could not bring our luggage through, as we had no where to check it to because we did not have a flight lined up. The entire airport had cancelled over 1,600 flights and literally every flight for the following day was booked.

We looked into taking a bus. All were completely sold out. Perhaps a rental car? After being able to successfully reserve one online, we ran to the rental car area only to be denied a car because our reservation was not made before 6PM (because we were trapped on a plane thinking we were still going to FL.) A man who was also waiting in line informed us that he had called over 15 rental car facilities in Atlanta to discover they were all booked, and ended up missing the birth of his grand daughter!

An UBER wouldn't work, as it was a 9.5 hour drive, at 1AM. Too far and too pricey for our budget. We took turns having mental breakdowns, crying, and trying to force positivity.

Spirit airlines was unwilling to find us a flight home, and we had to repurchase plane tickets back to Minnesota.

Slowly accepting defeat, we figured we should at least try to find a hotel to sleep in. The only hotel we could find wasn't available until 3PM (so 14 hours later.) We found a spot on the floor of the airport and joined the thousands of other people who were trapped with cancelled plans.

Around 5AM we decided to try and find a hotel room sooner. We successfully found a room that would take us immediately - though it was about a 30 minute drive.

We are officially back in Minnesota, more drained and exhausted (both emotionally and financially lol) than we were before our trip. Disappointed to have worked so hard to save up money and PTO to be able to take a vacation, only to have it be more stressful than a regular work week.

What have we learned? 1. We have good friends who we were able to endure stress, panic and anxiety with as successfully as possible. 2. We all need a raise. 3. Never fly through Spirit Airlines."

I had another friend try to fly spirit today. Her flight was cancelled and they didn't have another flight until Wednesday. Since she couldn't wait for that flight she was not refunded and had to purchase a new ticket to get home.  I have had several bad experiences. It may be worth it to spend the extra money.

Sorry this isn't an encouraging post.... I am usually very positive, I promise.

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2 hours ago, Sabrinaklai said:

2 questions:  Is it a direct flight from ATL to FLL? and Are you flying in a day early?  

If yes to both, then I personally would bit the bullet and do it, even though I hate Spirit.  March prices are crazy and have been for months.  @JLMoran and I have discussed endlessly how crazy the March prices are into Florida.

If no to either one of those then I would probably not do it because Spirit is notorious for not being on time right?  So if you're not flying in a day early, it's too much of a risk IMO.  And if it's not a direct flight and you have 3 kids, the airport waiting game is not fun.

It is a direct flight and we are going a day early, so I'm leaning toward doing it.  Not worried about the other poster who's friend was displaced because of snow, that won't happen on a late March afternoon.  That would have affected all the other airlines, too.

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1 hour ago, GaCardinal said:

It is a direct flight and we are going a day early, so I'm leaning toward doing it.  Not worried about the other poster who's friend was displaced because of snow, that won't happen on a late March afternoon.  That would have affected all the other airlines, too.

Lol...never say never.  There sometimes is that freak March snowstorm.  But yes, a day early you likely will be ok.  I just wouldn't take my chances day of, not with Spirit or any other airline.  And if worse comes to worse, @AndrewPunch (hopefully I remembered correctly) had a great story a while back about a delay and driving from Atlanta to Florida!  

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56 minutes ago, GaCardinal said:

Not worried about the other poster who's friend was displaced because of snow, that won't happen on a late March afternoon.

Having experienced not one, but two, late April blizzards in my life (admittedly in New Jersey, not Georgia), I wouldn’t rule out anything. ?

If we’re all talking about Easter weekend at the very end of March, strongly consider flying down Wednesday instead of Thursday or Friday if you at all have that flexibility. Saved me $800 total on airfare, and even with an extra day in the hotel we’re still saving a lot. This was booking on United 90-ish days ahead of sail date; everyone’s rates have gone up a LOT since then, but those Wednesday savings are still very much there.

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Flew Spirit Airlines from DTW to LAS a few times.  Been delayed pretty much half the time but I think that actually saved me money because I would have spent more time at the casino  LOL

They do oversell their seats so be prepared to be bumped off.  Also book the earliest flight as they are on very rare occasions on time.  

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10 minutes ago, jurrjurr said:

Flew Spirit Airlines from DTW to LAS a few times.  Been delayed pretty much half the time but I think that actually saved me money because I would have spent more time at the casino  LOL

They do oversell their seats so be prepared to be bumped off.  Also book the earliest flight as they are on very rare occasions on time.  

I gave up on Spirit a while back when flying back into DTW from LAS (coincidence @jurrjurr?) we sat on the runway staring at our gate for 3 hours!!!  Apparently we couldn't pull up to de-plane because Spirit didn't own any gates and had to wait until one was available. 3 hours on the runway in August!  The smell alone was not worth the savings. But, like I said before, as long as you are going earlier and have a contingency plan I would give it a shot. Flying with a family is expensive!

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Guest toodle68

Have you tried Southwest?  You have to go to their site directly, they don't show up on websites like Kayak etc.  I plugged in 3/24 to 3/31, non stop, and it was $288 and no baggage fees.

 

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I flew Spirit from Niagara Falls, NY to Fort Lauderdale one time.  Same reason, direct flight, cheap.  The flight was supposed to leave at 2 am and arrive at 5 am.  It is late well over half of the time, which I found out after I booked it.  Long story short, it departed at 5 am, the seats seem smaller than most airlines, and they do not recline at all.  I am a bigger guy, 6'2", and I could not have been more miserable.  Everyone on the flight was miserable, they charge extra for anything and everything, luggage, carry ons, picking your seat assignment, breathing the air on the plane, etc.  I vowed afterwards that I don't care how much more another airline is, I won't fly Spirit again.  I am a Southwest fan, and fly them 80% of the time.  

Not saying they won't get you there, but with Spirit, you definitely get what you pay for.  And flying Spirit anywhere on the same day as departure would be comparable to Russian roulette.    

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Maybe is is just me but $400 isn't a horrible price anymore considering Spring Break...especially if you are traveling March 31st. I don't see deals anymore..unless you can afford to travel mid week. I'm seeing Southwest at $400 too.  Have you looked into other airports, Miami, Palm beach, etc?  Its spring break so they all could be high.

Have you thought about driving? My DH prefers driving if at all possible and with 4 kids that is a huge saving. He'll drive up to 12 hours...me I hate it but I do like the money we save. This is our first year flying and with 4 kids it is pretty painful to buy 6 tickets on an our most expensive cruise ever...Harmony spring break.

I do know of others who have taken Spirit and while didn't hate it., they didn't love it either...just make sure you've taken all their fees into account...like checked bags as well as carry on bags, seat assignments, etc.

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