How To Survive The Ultra Basic Bitch Fare at ORD

There is an amazing loophole where you can skip the $19.98 “Passenger Usage Charge” that Spirit Airlines charges for booking online or over the phone by booking in person at the airport. Here is an example flight from ORD to DFW booked on the Spirit website:

Note that the $19.98 fee counts for 30% of the ticket price (and more than the $16.74 fare). Even the people at One Mile At a Time were skeptical, but it totally works. If you would go in to ORD and book the flight in person you would only pay $46.60 for the same round trip ticket. This way we can beat the airlines at their own tax evasion game. Fares are taxed at 7.5%, but fees (which there must be a way to get out of) are not taxed at all. Notice how any options like carry on luggage, baggage, seat picking, and priority boarding are “fees”. This is the bulk of their revenue. This is much like a movie theater making most of their revenue on concessions rather than the movie ticket. We are also in a unique position because our Active Duty Military status gets our luggage fee waived on Sprit Airlines. From their own site:

Free Bags For Active Duty U.S. Military

For active duty military traveling on Spirit, we will provide two free checked bags and a free carry-on, in addition to the already free personal item.  The U.S. military member should arrive early enough to have their bags checked at the counter, and present their U.S. military ID. As much as we would like to extend this policy to your family and loved ones, it only applies to the active military member. Active duty U.S. Military can now save time at the airport by validating their active duty affiliation online during their booking using ID.ME, a third party verification service. Simply click on the “verify” button at checkout via to validate your active duty status and claim your free checked and carry-on bags.

Note that your child or spouse would not get this benefit! However I have reports that they will seat you with your party when you check you bags in for no additional charge, even if you were placed on separated seats on check in. Now the question is, how do you survive a  super basic bitch ticket?

Pre Flight Drinks

I am based in Chicago, and all Spirit flights depart from ORD Terminal #3 with the American Airline Flights. I sent my most senior correspondent on a trip from ORD to LAS for the weekend. She is an AU on my Citi American Airlines Executive Card which I get the $450 waived per the MLA. Just being an AU and not active duty, she got access to the Admirals Lounge in terminal 3 just down the way from the Spirit gates. I also have a SCRA waived United Club card which would get me into the United Club without flying United. The Delta club will not let you in for free since your not flying delta, but the USO in terminal 2 outside of security or the one in the rotunda will let you in if you show your CAC.

In Flight Drinks

Next is in flight amenities. If you notice, Spirit is one of the airline choices for your annual AmEx $200 reimbursement. If the Gift Card loophole gets shut down we might just have to drink away our credit this way. Other cards like the Chase Ritz card have a $300 credit that would count for “In flight Meals”. I made the mistake of asking the CSR in a Secure Message at Chase to reimburse a “Beverage” which was declined. I then re-asked as a “in flight meal” reimbursement and they gave me my $25

What $25 will buy you in flight

Arrival Lounges

Be careful about terminal access and Spirit. For example when my senior writer arrived in LAS she could not easily get to the Centurion Lounge as it was all the way over in terminal 3. Plus the flight got in at 11 pm meaning it would of been closed. Her return flight was luckily on United so she had access to the centurion lounge on the way back. Coming soon will be a break down of lounge access per destination Spirit goes to and what lounges are accessible. In the mean time here are the locations that they fly to from ORD:

I then mapped the for all the Florida locations:

At $20 a segment to 5 destinations in Florida, this sure beats the MAC flights! More to come with a lounge access chart!


One thought on “How To Survive The Ultra Basic Bitch Fare at ORD

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