Skip to content

Is Spirit Airlines Safe? Pre-Booking Insights You Should Know

Book your next trip with peace of mind by learning more about this low-cost carrier.

When it comes to airlines, it's no secret that Spirit Airlines doesn't have the best reputation. Every airline has its issues, and the internet can be very unforgiving, but are the less-than-favorable opinions about Spirit fair, or based on rumors? And the big question: For those looking for a low-budget carrier for their next trip, is Spirit Airlines safe to fly? With the help of several travel experts, we've compiled everything you need to know to make a solid judgment call on the carrier you choose to book with.

Remember, travel is just as much about the journey as the destination, so make it a safe one. You will not only learn about Spirit's safety features, but what you should look for in any airline you decide to use.

RELATED: The Pros and Cons of Flying on Budget Airlines.

Is Spirit Airlines safe?

Spirit Airlines planes at airport terminal
YES Market Media / Shutterstock

As your finger hovers above the confirmation button of your Spirit Airlines flight, you may find yourself asking, is this even safe?

The answer, in short, is yes. In fact, Spirit Airlines was ranked the No. 1 safest U.S. airline in 2024 by WalletHub. It was also named one of Airline Ratings' top 20 safest low-cost airlines for 2023 and among Evaluation CeCentre's top 25 airlines worldwide based on their 2022 safety assessment.

According to The Telegraph, Spirit is one of the 49 airlines that has never had a fatal accident on one of its aircrafts. It is also important to note that Spirit recently earned the Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award of Excellence for the sixth year in a row. This is the highest distinction for aviation maintenance technician safety.

For an airline to receive this certification, "a minimum of 100% of eligible employees earn an individual AMT Certificate of Training during a calendar year," according to the FAA Tutorial Release.

The FAA further explains that, "Certification is how the FAA manages risk through safety assurance. It provides the FAA confidence that a proposed product or operation will meet FAA safety expectations to protect the public. Certification affirms that FAA requirements have been met."

In addition to being FAA certified and having its staff undergo yearly safety maintenance training, Spirit doubles down on its security and traveler protection in other ways as well. Spirit is also equipped with life vests, emergency medical kits, and oxygen masks.

RELATED: Where and When to Book the Cheapest 2024 Flights, According to New Data.

What are the most common complaints about Spirit Airlines?

Spirit Airplane on Runway
CarterAerial / Shutterstock

OK, so it's safe to fly, but why does Spirit have the reputation that it does? Per Airline Ratings, Spirit Airlines has a rating of 2.4 out of 10 from more than 200 reviews. The overall grade was one star out of five in all five categories, including Overall Value for Money, Customer Service, Check-in Process, Seat and Cabin Space, In Flight Entertainment, Baggage Handling, and Meals and Beverages.

Although cost is one thing Spirit travelers appreciate, there are a few complaints that are the most consistent among consumers.

Cancellation Rates

Spirit can stand to keep things a little tighter when it comes to its cancellations.

"[According to a June 2023 Air Travel Consumer report], Spirit had an on-time arrival rate of 60.7 percent and a cancellation rate of 3.6 percent, lagging behind industry leaders," says Arsen Misakyan, travel expert and founder of LAXcar. "These figures indicate that while operational delays are more common with Spirit, they do not necessarily compromise safety."

No Free Snacks

Unfortunately, Spirit doesn't offer free drinks or meals on flights. However, they are available for purchase using a debit or credit card. You could end up shelling out at least $7 for water or a snack, and if you're looking for something more filling or alcoholic, you stand to pay around $38.

So, to avoid paying an arm and leg on your flight, "Bring your own snacks and a water bottle to avoid in-flight purchase costs," Misakyan says.

spirit airlines plane on the runway
Ceri Breeze / Shutterstock

Seat Selection Fee

Along with your food, where you sit comes at a cost. Whether you select your seat before or after check-in, you're looking at a price between $1 and $200.

Boarding Pass Printing Cost

If you're the type of traveler who likes printing out your boarding pass, you may want to reconsider when flying Spirit. The carrier charges you $25 for printing it out at the kiosk.

RELATED: 10 Airlines That Charge the Most Hidden Fees, New Data Shows.

Baggage Costs and Policies

Spirit is known to charge $39 to $99 or more for a carry-on bag, depending on when you pay. The fee for your first checked bag can range from $34 to more than $99, and for the second checked bag, pricing can start as high as $74.

For each additional bag, you can pay upwards of $99. They also charge more for checked bags that weigh over 40 pounds because the added weight requires more fuel for the flight.

To help deal with these added costs, Misakyan suggests travelers "factor in all additional charges to get a realistic idea of the total cost of flying with Spirit … Know that flying with Spirit often means trading comfort and convenience for cheaper fares, [so] be ready for a more basic flying experience."

Limited Airline Routes

Although Spirit has 615 airports across North, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean, and around 2,700 flights a week, its network of routes is still somewhat restricted. Let's say your flight gets delayed or canceled—with Spirit, rebooking your flight to continue your journey might be challenging, as the carrier's air routes are more limited compared to other airlines.

"Since Spirit flights often experience delays and they don't have partnerships with other airlines for rebooking, consider your schedule flexibility and prepare for potential delays or cancellations," Misakyan advises.

RELATED: 10 Clothing Items You Shouldn't Wear on a Plane.

How is Spirit Airlines so cheap?

spirit airlines planes
EQRoy / Shutterstock

Contrary to popular belief, Spirit tickets are not cheap because they're skimping out on essential costs.

"Spirit keeps its ticket prices low by charging separately for extras that many airlines include in their base fares, such as seat selection, baggage, and drinks," Misakyan explains.

To keep added costs out of ticket pricing, Spirit has a few ways of saving money:

  • Spirits also uses airplanes that are all part of the Airbus fleet. By using one aircraft type instead of several, Spirit can effectively simplify and save on staff training, and how much they spend on supplies. Airbuses are also newer and more energy-efficient aircrafts, which also contributes to the affordable ticket costs. Their Airbuses include the A319, A320, and A321.
  • Compared to other airlines, Spirit spends less on its corporate headquarters. For its Florida location, Spirit spent $250 million, and while that's still a lot of money, it's nothing compared to the $1 billion American Airlines shelled out for its Texas site.
  • Spirit pays its pilots less than other airlines do. A Spirit pilot makes about $273,436 a year according to Glassdoor, compared to American Airlines or Delta pilots, who earn about $304,367 and $400,678 a year, respectively.

"If saving money is a priority and you're prepared for a no-frills experience, Spirit can be a good choice," Misakyan notes.

RELATED: The Ultimate Solo Travel Guide: 16 Secrets From Experts.

Can you trust a low-cost carrier to get you to your destination safely?

spirit airlines
EQRoy / Shutterstock

Researching a low-cost carrier can make you question its value, or think the whole thing is too good to be true. There must be something wrong! Although this is a good rule to follow when shopping, the same rules don't apply to airlines. So, can you trust Spirit, even though it offers such low flight costs?

It's important to keep in mind that Spirit's affordability and level of aircraft safety are not mutually exclusive. Cheap tickets do not equal a dangerous flight, and Spirit's prices do not reflect the safety it can provide, the quality of its planes, or the safety knowledge of its maintenance staff.

"Although Spirit often receives criticism for its additional fees and customer service, these complaints don't typically reflect the airline safety standards," Misakyan says. "Spirit adheres to the same safety regulations as other U.S. airlines. You can rely on low-cost carriers like Spirit for safe transport to your destination. The main differences from other airlines lie in the level of comfort and amenities provided, not in safety."

RELATED: 6 Things Flight Attendants Won't Tell You About Turbulence.

What should you look for in an airline?

spirit airlines plane from above
Thiago B Trevisan / Shutterstock

Looking for an airline doesn't have to be stressful. Here's how to determine whether the airline you're looking into is safe and up to your personal standards.

Check its safety records

Doing your due diligence "means that you should look for safety aviation organizations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and look for the airline that you want to book so that you can see their safety ratings," says Giacomo Piva, travel industry analyst and co-founder of Radical Storage, a global luggage storage company. "You can also check out, in this way, their incident history so that you can understand how often [incidents] happen and how to avoid them."

RELATED: 10 Airport Layover Hacks You Need to Know.

Research the airline's history

Travelers can also research airline pilots and whether they've had any issues in the past. It's worth noting that about 69 percent of aviation accidents are caused by the pilot, while 17.2 percent are due to mechanical problems, according to the Pilot Institute.

Check on how up-to-date the airline is

Take the time to research your airline online, and look for things "such as the age of the airline and their maintenance practices, which should be done pretty frequently," Piva explains.

Keep in mind that an airline stocked with older planes rather than newer ones could be a bit of a red flag, as newer planes are generally safer.

"Newer airlines tend to utilize more technological measures so that you can be sure they will be pretty safe to travel," Piva shares. "You can also check online if they apply all the international standards set by bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) or if they have passed the IATA Operational Safety Audits (IOSA), which are considered comprehensive evaluations of an airline's operational management and control systems."

spirit kiosks at the airport
rchat / Shutterstock

Check out an airline's reviews

Although travel reviews usually focus on an airline's culture and customer service, you could also find helpful safety details in the comments.

"In particular, online reviews and feedback can help you ensure that the traveling airline has the best service possible and [understand] how they handle delays, emergencies, and other situations," Piva says.

Knowing how a flight crew handles an emergency and interacts with passengers regarding their safety are "key indicators of an airline's commitment to safety and passenger care," says Peter Hamdy, co-founder and managing director at the travel company Auckland & Beyond Tours.

Having this firsthand information about the pilots and flight crew can also give you peace of mind during your travel experience.

RELATED: 7 Tips From TSA to Make the Security Line Smooth and Easy.

Wrapping Up

Flying is generally very safe, but that doesn't stop some of us from feeling apprehensive. Knowing the specifics of your journey (and not just your itinerary) is the first step to minimizing your fears. Spirit Airlines, like any airline, has its pros and cons, so understanding what it offers in terms of safety and comfort will help you decide whether to book a flight on one of its planes.

Filed Under
Sources referenced in this article
  1. Source:
  2. Source:
  3. Source:
  4. Source:
  5. Source:
  6. Source: