Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat: No Longer A Deal?

Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat: No Longer A Deal?

21

For years I’ve been calling Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat one of the best values in domestic travel. I think it might be time to reconsider that claim.

What is Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat?

Spirit Airlines is a popular ultra low cost carrier. As you’d expect, the company’s business model involves generally having low base fares, and then charging extra for everything, ranging from seating, to carry-ons, to drinks and snacks.

Spirit Airlines is my favorite ultra low cost carrier in the United States, and I far prefer the airline to Frontier Airlines. That comes down to two major factors. In addition to the airline having high-speed Wi-Fi, Spirit also offers the Big Front Seat.

Think of Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat as being a first class seat without the service. Essentially Spirit Airlines has a couple of rows of first class-style seating at the front of the cabin — seats feature at least 36″ of pitch, and are in a 2-2 configuration, rather than a 3-3 configuration.

But you’re really only paying for the extra space. Those in the Big Front Seat still have to pay for carry-ons, food, drinks, etc.

This is a pricing model I quite appreciate, as those who value extra space can pay for it. For that matter, a Big Front Seat with high-speed Wi-Fi is a pretty pleasant way to fly.

Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat at front of cabin

Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat pricing has hugely increased

For years I called Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat one of the best values in domestic travel, because, well… it was. The premium for assigning a Big Front Seat was incredibly reasonable, and in many cases you could book a Big Front Seat for a price that’s comparable to what you’d pay in economy on another US airline.

However, something has changed, and it’s something multiple readers have now pointed out. Big Front Seat pricing has progressively been creeping up, and in particular, it seems like pricing has increased the most in recent weeks.

Spirit used to claim that the Big Front Seat would cost anywhere from $12 to $250, while now the airline claims it can cost anywhere from $12 to $500. Admittedly that’s just a range, and you’ll almost never find a Big Front Seat for $12 or $500.

Just to give an example of Big Front Seat pricing, take a $97 flight from Tampa to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. Selecting a Big Front Seat will now cost you $261. Yes, that’s the fee just to assign a seat.

Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat pricing

That doesn’t even include a carry-on, so you’d have to pay an extra $60 if you wanted a carry-on.

Spirit Airlines baggage pricing

At this point the one-way flight in a Big Front Seat with a carry-on will cost you $418 — that’s hardly low cost anymore!

Spirit Airlines ticket pricing

Admittedly Spirit Airlines has dynamic pricing for the Big Front Seat, and it varies based on several factors, including length of flight, day of week, time of day, how full a flight is, historical demand patterns, etc. So I can’t really do many side-by-side examples here.

What I can say with certainty (and what I’m sure will be supported by others) is that the Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat has slowly been creeping up in price, and it seems that there has been a particularly big increase recently.

I can’t blame Spirit Airlines for this…

I want to be very clear — I don’t for a second blame Spirit Airlines for increasing Big Front Seat pricing. This isn’t like a loyalty program being devalued without notice. It’s only natural that when something is a very good deal and it becomes increasingly popular, pricing changes. That’s the right thing for Spirit Airlines to do.

Furthermore, flying with Spirit Airlines in general has become more appealing for the frequent flyer, between Spirit Airlines’ nicely evolved loyalty program, plus the carrier having high-speed Wi-Fi.

That being said, I can no longer in good conscience just call the Big Front Seat one of the best values in domestic travel, because that’s not consistently the case. I used to think that for anyone who values space, the Big Front Seat was an unbeatable value. But with how pricing has evolved, it’s not the no-brainer it once was.

And let me also emphasize that there are still plenty of Big Front Seat bargains. For example, I see a Fort Lauderdale to Lima flight (which is longer than the Tampa to Las Vegas flight) where the Big Front Seat is “just” an extra $150. I’d say that’s a good deal by comparison.

Spirit Airlines Big Front Seat pricing

Bottom line

Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat is an innovative concept, as it essentially offers a first class-style seat on an ultra low cost carrier. Unfortunately pricing has slowly creeped up over time, and is no longer the consistent bargain that it once was.

That’s not to say that there isn’t value to be had, but even those of us who value space can no longer justify some of the prices being charged. So it’s just something to be aware of as you think about the overall value proposition of the Big Front Seat.

What has your experience been with Sprit Big Front Seat pricing?

Conversations (21)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Gary Long Guest

    I have loved getting a Big Front seat on several Spirit flights. It has always been a great deal for me, well worth the price. I have noticed recently that the cost of the Big Front seat has been higher. I agree that it is no longer safe to say it is necessarily a good deal.

  2. Barbara Guest

    Spirit Airline employees Myrtle Beach International airport in s.c, the worst. Because of their lack of mannerism and interested in handling certain individuals, i had to wait extra three hours for another flight. After running around like a Chicken without a clue. I was told by customer service rep it was to late for my luggage to be loaded on 6:05a.m flight to Ewr Newark int'l. 9:05 I attempt to board my flight , section...

    Spirit Airline employees Myrtle Beach International airport in s.c, the worst. Because of their lack of mannerism and interested in handling certain individuals, i had to wait extra three hours for another flight. After running around like a Chicken without a clue. I was told by customer service rep it was to late for my luggage to be loaded on 6:05a.m flight to Ewr Newark int'l. 9:05 I attempt to board my flight , section #A3. I had to combine my carry on , or I would be charge $90.00. wow!! My next question was, how r you attempt to charge me for a canvas bag with my jacket, blouse and and bag of berries, bag around my shoulder was my pocket book. Supervisor very very nasty. So, I removed items from my bag . Left the bag with ms.nasty and advised her to buy a clue and personality , professionalism. I contact spirit Airline to file a complaint, I was advised to go on line complete application and someone will contact me. Three times in one day I received message from spirit customer support to submit on line complaint. Hello, people I did. Well bottom line, my complaint will most likely be trashed. Maybe just ignored completely. I uploaded photos of my pocketbook and picture of a target bag, which my bag was much smaller. Well I guess all the issues above will fall on deaf ears. Now I understand why multiple people will not fly spirit airlines. WOW!! Attempt to charge me for my purse, now that is insane. Date of departure from Myrtle Beach International October 17th 2022

    .

  3. Michael Guest

    I flew Spirit for the first time 2 weeks ago from Atlanta to Las Vegas. For perspective I fly between these cities at least twice a month. NEVER AGAIN. No wifi, did realize seats didnt recline and a very obese person on either side both ways trips. My attendants were very courteous. For anything other than a 1 hour jump flight I'll pay double for a seet that has leg room and reclines without all the Spirit hassle..

  4. John Guest

    The problem is if Spirit offer $1000 a seat and people pay for it, guess what, they'll keep selling for that price. A offer is as good as what people are willing to pay.

  5. Jeff Guest

    Hi Trey, from what I read and understand, you are not required to do that. You can if you value your comfort and prefer the big front seats, but if your time is scarce or that valuable, I believe you can wait for a bid email or just do it at the check-in or gate? Safe travels…

  6. Rick Guest

    I fly spirit all the time 15 - 20 times a year from Philly to Myrtle Beach and back. sometimes as low as $20 each way, normally about $40

    I love Spirit,

    but I would never pay extra to sit anywhere, a trick is to always get your seat at the airport kiosk never earlier.

    Spirit seems to fill the planes from the back to front and by getting our seat late at...

    I fly spirit all the time 15 - 20 times a year from Philly to Myrtle Beach and back. sometimes as low as $20 each way, normally about $40

    I love Spirit,

    but I would never pay extra to sit anywhere, a trick is to always get your seat at the airport kiosk never earlier.

    Spirit seems to fill the planes from the back to front and by getting our seat late at the airport we usually sit in the first 10 rows

    Trick 2: I walk on and off with a free overpacked backpack, which I have always been able to place in the overhead,

    I never pay extra for anything.

    I have always been treated great by their inflight and ticketing staff

    1. Frederik Guest

      But how long do you have to queue at the kiosk? In Europe a good Kiosk wait time, especially with the budget airlines is often 25 minutes plus currently.

  7. Andy 11235 Guest

    Spirit doesn't generally adjust "ticket" pricing when they want to alter prices. Their method of revenue managements adjusts seat prices. The big front seat is always a multiple of what a "normal" seat selection will cost (notice those $55 seats just behind the big front seat). Not only is this great for avoiding taxes, but it is also awesome price discrimination (if you are really price sensitive, you can still get cheaper tickets). And, yeah,...

    Spirit doesn't generally adjust "ticket" pricing when they want to alter prices. Their method of revenue managements adjusts seat prices. The big front seat is always a multiple of what a "normal" seat selection will cost (notice those $55 seats just behind the big front seat). Not only is this great for avoiding taxes, but it is also awesome price discrimination (if you are really price sensitive, you can still get cheaper tickets). And, yeah, it's a first class seat without the service. On other domestic carriers, this is simply called "first class."

  8. jack Guest

    so you been saying "For years I called Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seat one of the best values in domestic travel" and then wonder why the prices are up.

    1. Travis S. Guest

      I don’t think he said he wonders why the price went up. In fact, he said the opposite.

  9. Greg Guest

    I flew Spirit both ways from Oak EWR in BFS and was awesome, for a trans-con flight it was ~175 to upgrade to those seats but worth it!

  10. Mark G Guest

    I normally fly in the big front seat on spirit but I noticed this as well. I just booked thanksgiving travel and opted for the exit row instead of the front seat for my partner and I. Hoping this works out. Granted it’s Thanksgiving so pricing in general is terrible.

  11. KayKay Guest

    We just flew lga Mia for a long weekend with tickets I bought from the airport for $37 each no seat or bag. Two days prior boarding I got offer to bet for the seat 25-60. I bet $30 each and we got the seats assigned the night before the flight. Great deal in our case.

  12. Sam Guest

    I hope this new revenue means they will add more big seats on every plane. The biggest problem i have is that almost never are they actually available to book! Often they're among the first seats booked.

  13. Alonzo Diamond

    What is to be expected when premium economy is going for double of what an economy seat goes for? That's what should be written about.

  14. Lucy Guest

    I flew spirit this past weekend and I booked my round trip for $87. I didn’t select any extras at time of booking. A week before my departure I got an email to bid on the big front seat. I bid $30 for each way and was pleasantly surprised with my ‘Upgrades’ both ways. For context, the seats were selling for $85 on my route. I though that was a fantastic deal!

  15. Trey Guest

    What I dislike most is that you have to go deep into the booking process (fill out names/DOB/contact info) to even find out how much it costs.

    1. Leo Liang Guest

      Also spirit had Block IP from Singapore to access, need to use a VPN to even go to their website.

  16. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

    Compared to domestic first class in any of the legacy carriers and it’s still a deal.

  17. FlyingPhysicist Member

    A lot of the time, flying Spirit with some of the extras- such as a carry-on, seat selection, and other things that are included in a regular economy ticket on a fcc- can cost more than a regular economy ticket on a fcc.

    My guess is that Spirit thinks that their BFS is competitive with fcc's first class and thinks it can charge a larger premium for it.

    1. DCAWABN Guest

      And people will continue to pay it because of halo effect and the general flying public are way more ignorant of things like this than are the readers of this blog. SW is a perfect example. Yeah, they have free checked bags, but anymore their prices are not better than legacy carriers', and on many routes they're more. But because they don't let OTAs search them, lots of people only search SW because they assume...

      And people will continue to pay it because of halo effect and the general flying public are way more ignorant of things like this than are the readers of this blog. SW is a perfect example. Yeah, they have free checked bags, but anymore their prices are not better than legacy carriers', and on many routes they're more. But because they don't let OTAs search them, lots of people only search SW because they assume it's cheaper given the "good ol' days" when SW was pretty consistently a fair amount cheaper.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alonzo Diamond

What is to be expected when premium economy is going for double of what an economy seat goes for? That's what should be written about.

3
Lucy Guest

I flew spirit this past weekend and I booked my round trip for $87. I didn’t select any extras at time of booking. A week before my departure I got an email to bid on the big front seat. I bid $30 for each way and was pleasantly surprised with my ‘Upgrades’ both ways. For context, the seats were selling for $85 on my route. I though that was a fantastic deal!

3
Trey Guest

What I dislike most is that you have to go deep into the booking process (fill out names/DOB/contact info) to even find out how much it costs.

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published