THE FLIGHT: I flew at the front of an Airbus A320 in one of Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seats on flight NK1720 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas.
THE CHECK-IN: The online check-in process was pleasantly straightforward and quick, thanks to the easy-to-use Spirit Airlines app. I sat down with a coffee to complete the process yet was checked in before taking my first sip.
Spirit Airlines’ flights depart from Los Angeles Airport’s Terminal 5. Expecting flights to Las Vegas to be busy going into the weekend, I arrived a little more than the recommended two hours ahead of my flight.
Yet within 10 minutes of entering the terminal, I’d printed my boarding pass and dropped my suitcase. Digital scales were available for passengers to weigh bags, as Spirit Airlines’ standard checked bag weight limit is 40lbs (18.14kg). Additional fees are levied for bags that weigh more or are oversized.
Touch-screen terminals were available for passengers to print boarding passes and baggage tags. Easy to use, they ensured a steady flow of people were able to print their documentation before snaking through the largely empty lane towards the bag drop zone.
A row of state-of-the-art self-service bag drop machines scanned bar codes on boarding passes and read identification documents. They then weighed bags placed on the belt and read the bar codes on baggage tags. The bag drop was also easy.
Getting through security took around 15 minutes, leaving plenty of time to grab breakfast airside.
BOARDING: The flight departed from Gate 56A. As the holder of a boarding pass for a seat at the front of the aircraft, I was one of the first passengers to board the Airbus A320.
For me the process was easy but the flight was over-subscribed. Calls were made at the gate offering vouchers in return for taking a later flight.
THE SEAT: My window seat (1A) was one of Spirit Airlines’ Big Blue Seats which supply Business-style comfort in an Economy cabin. The blue leather seat had broad armrests, a width of 18.5 inches and a 36-inch pitch, providing me with ample legroom.
THE SERVICE Crew members by the door greeted me with cheery smiles and engaged in small talk, making me feel welcome and valued.
Food and drinks were available to purchase. So soon after breakfast, the cheese tray, snacks and bites didn’t appeal to me. The selection of alcoholic beverages encompassed beer, wine, spirits and cocktail combinations. Warm drinks, juices and carbonated beverages were available also available.
Unfortunately, I was unable to access the onboard wifi. A message conveyed that it was unavailable both before take-off and during the flight.
Spirit Airlines is a budget carrier and the menu featured the lines: “You’re on vacation. Go for it.” For international business travellers, knowing that checked bags incur a charge – as do carry-on bags larger than 18 inches by 14” by 5” – is key while weighing up options for travelling between cities in the USA.
We arrived in Vegas approximately 10 minutes later than scheduled. The announcements by the cabin crew provided all of the necessary information with a welcome touch of humour. After “welcome to Las Vegas” the cabin erupted into applause.
What came next? I’m afraid that can’t be shared. Don’t forget that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
THE VERDICT: Flying with Spirit Airlines proved a comfortable way of travelling between cities in the USA. The company’s app, use of technology during the check-in process and attitude of the cabin crew made positive impressions.