Does Spirit have the world’s worst airline website? and a workaround

Posted on December 24, 2016 by in Airline Reviews

MightyTravels 2016-12-24 at 1.59.46 PM

Spirit has started flights in the Bay Area recently – they now fly Oakland (OAK) to Los Angeles (LAX) and fares are usually just $38. That’s just about half what most airlines charge for the Bay Area to Los Angeles flight.

Since I’m always happy to try out I felt I’ll give it a try and clicked from Google Flights straight to the website. I have seen my share of dysfunctional airline websites (and still mastered them) like Azerbaijan Airlines.

While the site is full of Javascript things starts out easy and I was able to find the same price as on Google Flights. After confirming the flights you are going through super slow (I’m talking about 30s load time) hotel and car rental pages.

After that Spirit sends you into selected your seat – to my astoundment it showed $0 for almost all the seats. I really wasn’t interested in selecting the seats though (but could not find an option to skip that page).

Going further I tried to select the luggage options and this is where things started to fall apart – on my Google Chrome it constantly gave me options for my account based on the Spirit $9 Fare Club (which I’m not signed up). I actually wanted to select just check in bags (they are cheaper than carry-ons) but I failed.

Now at the check out page my selection was completely different than what I had worked in the workflow!

On that check out page I saw:

– the fare (that was correct)
– two paid seat assignments (though even going back all options said $0)
– one carry-on AND a checked bag per passenger (I never selected that)
– the airport boarding pass option $10 each
– travel insurance

I was able to select travel insurance (fair enough) but after 15 minutes of fighting with the website I just gave up.

There is a better way to book the Spirit flights and that is right through the Google Flights interface. Spirit is now the only partner besides Lufthansa who opened up their booking API for Google Flights directly.

You can book tickets but can’t select extra’s (thank god). For Spirit that is a great option if you really ahve no carry-on. If you do want to add luggage you can do that later on the Spirit website but you pay $10. Not ideal but it still might be cheaper than other tickets.

MightyTravels 2016-12-24 at 2.16.01 PM

I feel the Spirit website is downright deceiving and much worse than other hard core discounters like Ryanair, Wizzair or AirAsia. Use it only if you must.

I ended up booking with JetBlue that day as they had great fares to Long Beach from Oakland.

About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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