A Perfectly Good Flight Home From Oakland on Spirit (Trip Report)

Spirit, Trip Reports

I needed to stay the night in Oakland after my trip up on Delta, but I wanted to get back early. Delta had a flight at 7:08am with Spirit going at 7:09am, so I figured I’d sleep in and go with Spirit. Besides, Spirit was dirt cheap at $24.59, including the $3.99 online convenience fee.

That fee was the only one I paid. I did not need a carry-on for a one night trip and just had a small backpack that fit under the seat as a personal item. Besides, Spirit has really jacked up the price of carry-ons to be more than double the cost of the ticket in this case. No thanks. I could have flown Delta for cheaper if I needed that. As for seat assignments, Spirit has started charging outrageously high fees for them as well, so I skipped it. I figured on a Wednesday morning in October, the flight would not be full. Even if it was… so I get a middle seat for a 50 minute flight. Who cares?

I checked in the day before on the Spirit app and sure enough I was handed seat 21F, though not until Spirit desperately tried to get me to buy a seat assignment once again. I received no fewer than 3 or 4 different offers to either buy a seat at a discount or bid on a Big Front Seat. I wanted none of that.

The next morning, I debated how early to get to the airport. I was flying Spirit so I wanted buffer, but I also didn’t want to sit around too long because it was way too early. I settled on getting a Lyft that would drop me off about an hour before departure. That turned out to be more than enough time.

I got to the airport, and it wasn’t very busy in Terminal 1 at all. There was nobody in the TSA Precheck line, and it was one of those combined lines where you have to show a piece of paper to get waved through.

This was the first time I’ve seen those hybrid lines where they put a lead brick or something like that in front of your bag going into the screening machine, so that you don’t have to take out liquids and laptops. That was nice.

On the other side, I just went to the gate and sat down. There was plenty of room. They began boarding 45 minutes before departure which seemed very early for such a light load. Since I did not have a carry-on bag, I was in group 3. It looks like a lot of others didn’t have one either, because group 3 was the busiest group by far.

Spirit 1349
October 12, 2022

From Oakland
➤ Scheduled Departure: 709a
➤ Actual Departure: 701a
➤ From Gate: 9A
➤ Wheels Up: 714a
➤ From Runway: 30

To Los Angeles
➤ Wheels Down: 811a
➤ On Runway: 25L
➤ Scheduled Arrival: 830a
➤ Actual Arrival: 819a
➤ At Gate: 56A

Aircraft
➤ Type: Airbus A320-232
➤ Delivered: July 13, 2013
➤ Registered: N621NK, msn 5672
➤ Livery: Yellow bird

Flight
➤ Cabin: Coach in Seat 21F
➤ Load: ~55% Full
➤ Flight Time: 57m

Onboard the aircraft, I took my seat in the window with someone already on the aisle. There was nobody in the middle, and it stayed that way with the flight attendant saying we only had about 100 people onboard.

These were the old Spirit seats that seem to have a little more cushioning but also less legroom than the new ones. No matter. The legroom was still perfectly good for me, though the seats weren’t in the best shape.

Boarding was done more than 15 minutes before departure thanks to the light load and early boarding start time. We waited around until 8 minutes before schedule to actually push back.

The captain came on and told us that it was overcast in LA and we might have to hold, but we were in the air after only a brief sit, climbing through the marine layer into the early morning sunlight.

There was no great viewing around the Bay thanks to the clouds this time. I didn’t bother with wifi on this flight since it was so short, so I just looked out the window at the clouds below.

As we got closer to LA, it felt more like we were in Hawai’i. Some subtropical moisture had crept up into the area and left some fluffy and slightly threatening clouds around that we dodged. Apparently there was a good thunderstorm that had rolled through earlier, and I could see that off to the west over the ocean as we came down.

There was still a low marine layer obscuring much of the LA area as we headed toward downtown and then looped back around to land toward the west. Somehow, traffic was light enough that despite our approach from the north, we were able to line up with the south runways to make for a quicker taxi to the gate.

After touching down, I could see puddles all around the airfield. That is a welcome sight in this part of the country. We waited just a minute for an opening to cross the departure runway and then our gate was waiting for us.

Once on the ground, the shuttle to the parking lot showed up quickly, and I was on my way home, ready to start a full day of work. The trip on Spirit went like clockwork.

13 comments on “A Perfectly Good Flight Home From Oakland on Spirit (Trip Report)

    1. Although given that Cranky said he arrived at the airport with more cushion time than he would have with Delta because he was flying Spirit, I suspect that extra long sleep wasn’t enjoyed! :)

  1. If you had bought the ticket in the airport when you arrived, it probably would have been $2.79 or something like that.

  2. There is a certain beauty in a flight that operates on time that costs about as much as a single cocktail at a rooftop bar at your destination!

  3. Hope you were refreshed by that no-fees extra minute of sleep ;) RE: hybrid line for pre-check at security; have experienced that twice recently at ORF and PNS. In ORF last week was the first time I noticed the brick-like objects denoting pre-check bags (I think they were actually pieces of wood painted gray in this case). Thanks for another fun trip report; I need to cross flying Spirit off my avgeek bucket list before it fades into the (Jet) Blue.

  4. This reminds me of a time last year when my University (University of Groningen) was flying me to Dublin to speak at a symposium on Dutch/Irish Aviation Synergies and I had a similar choice between Ryanair and KLM on the route.

    I too went with the LCC as I think it’s a hoot to fly Ryanair and the price was right. The flight was on-time, seat had plenty of legroom and it turned out three folks headed to the symposium were on the flight so we talked shop the whole time.

  5. “I got to the airport, and it wasn’t very busy in Terminal 1 at all. There was nobody in the TSA Precheck line, and it was one of those combined lines where you have to show a piece of paper to get waved through.

    This was the first time I’ve seen those hybrid lines where they put a lead brick or something like that in front of your bag going into the screening machine, so that you don’t have to take out liquids and laptops. That was nice.”

    ORD does this in Terminal 5. What’s annoying is (at least based on my most recent experience last month) they will only do this in one of the lines. So even though the regular lines to left or right of you are shorter or moving faster, you have to stay in the slower precheck lane to get the benefit.

  6. Of course, your trip reports are always a fun read.

    A couple of things I would like to see:
    1. Tell me the placement of your seat window. Did you have to lean forward, or twist your neck to look behind you to see out?
    2. Tell me how clean the window was. Like new, or an appearance like having been through a large number of volcanic ash clouds?
    3. The seat pitch. Tell me the seat pitch, in inches. Important to me were I to give Spirit any consideration for flying anywhere.

    For me, you may skip the aircraft registration number, but it is nice to know whether or not the aircraft has a US registration.

    In any event, love your reports.

    1. Jaybru – Those are some specific questions.
      1) I don’t even remember now. It wasn’t a significant issue either way.
      2) Seems pretty clean to me.
      3) I don’t use seat pitch, it’s a bad metric. Legroom was totally fine.

  7. I fly Spirit all the time, especially DFW to LAX. I like that Spirit offers partial payment with frequent flyer miles. My last trip DFWLAXDFW I used 9,000 miles, and paid $186 for a round trip in the Big Front Seat both ways. I have never paid for a “roller bag.” I use a fairly big shoulder duffel bag…Spirit is pretty generous with the bag sizers, if you can crumple/squeeze the bag to fit, it’s ok. I can actually carry more in my duffel than a roller bag, but then I have to carry the bag.

    I’ve had some delays with Spirit, up to 5 hour delays. But I’ve had same thing on UA and AA. I always check Spirit first, but they are not always the cheapest.

    Spirit gets a bad rap! I love them!

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Cranky Flier