Print your own Spirit Airlines boarding pass, or else!

Spirit Airlines, which I admit I admire for being the first airline to charge for carry-on luggage, has just said they'll start charging a $5 fee for passengers who need an airline agent to print their boarding pass for them at the airport. Is this, too, a reasonable "extra" the airline can charge for, letting passengers choose?

Spirit says passengers can skip the fee by printing their own boarding passes "at home," but of course that's not an option for your return trip. (Some, but not all, hotels have printers you can use to print out your boarding pass. Few campsites do.) For now, passengers can also print their own boarding pass at an airport kiosk, though the airline says they'll start charging $1 for that option next summer.

The company says it's lowering fares $5 across the board, then charging that $5 only to customers who need the hand-holding of having a staffer print their boarding pass. As with the luggage fee, they say the intent is to lower the cost of travel for everyone. (We think fewer carry-on bags is a positive thing for everyone, no matter what.)

But is showing up with a boarding pass already printed easy enough for every traveler to do? Or, is it easy enough for most that it really does make sense to shift the cost to the passengers who need help? As for me, I'd be OK with a $5 fee to have a ticket agent print out my boarding pass for me, if I always had the option to print my own (even at the airport) or the option to wave a mobile boarding pass from my cell phone's screen. What about you?


John C. June 22, 2011 at 04:46 pm

How far ahead can one print boarding passes? Can you print them for your return leg before you leave? If so, I guess that's okay.

I'm less enamored of the carry-on fee. I have to carry on certain lifesaving stuff like medications, on the off chance my luggage gets lost. I'd rather have strict enforcement of a carry on size rule. (Not really the point of this posting, I know.)

Of course, airline travel is now so onerous that I don't choose to do it except for times when there is no choice.

Nick June 22, 2011 at 04:56 pm

This is a fee that has been building for a while, and will definitely spread to the legacy carriers. There is a huge push for self-service, and we are soon coming to the day where your first interaction with an airline employee may be when you get on board the plane (CO and LH have been testing the self-boarding gates).

Mark June 22, 2011 at 05:21 pm

John, I'm assuming you'll still be able to check in beginning 24 hours before your first flight, so no, you probably won't be able to check in for your return flight before leaving home days or weeks before. Meanwhile, I'd have to imagine medically necessary items will always be allowed on the plane with you.

You've got me curious about self-boarding gates, Nick! I'll have to dig into it and see what the deal is. Sounds awful.

Cornelia Pineda December 1, 2012 at 09:57 pm

I am finding it impossible to print my boarding pass online for Spirit. I go sight to sight. This is the last time I am flying Spirit. I rather pay more and make my life easier.

Maybe this is a ploy to make it impossible so you will have to pay the $5 fee for printing your at the airport beginning in January.

They don't even serve water on a flight from Oakland to Las Vegas.

kim wilson July 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Does anyone know if on the return trip, if you were able to confirm your flight online, but don't have access to a printer, can you show the boarding pass on your smartphone? or is there an option to print it at the kiosk?

Mark July 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Good question, Kim. My thought above was that if you had the opportunity to print the boarding pass yourself at a self-serve kiosk for free, or could just show a boarding pass on your phone for free, that would be fine. But if they don't offer those options, and your choices are to arrive at the airport with your boarding pass already printed or pay them $5, I'm not a fan. They must assume that everyone's staying at a hotel with a boarding-pass printer, but that's just not the case.

dennis kwait November 20, 2013 at 08:18 pm

I am not able to print my boarding pass giving the conf. no.K2MMHL

BARBAR SMITH April 23, 2014 at 04:10 pm


Mark April 23, 2014 at 04:20 pm

Hello, Barbar. This is a travel blog web site, not an airline web site. I hope you'll be able to contact your airline to get your problem resolved!

Michael Urso June 16, 2014 at 03:03 pm

Spirit Airlines is "Nickel And Diming" every Facet of using thrir airline. I live in the Myrtle Beach area. Spirit is the only airline going to New York or New Jeresy, they charge for ever thing they can. I would not be surprised if in the future they do not put a coin required lock on the rest room doors. I am traving to a friends house who does not have a computer. I will not be able to get my boarding pass to return in advance, so now Spirit wants to charge to get a piece of paper. What are the Agents there fore anyway?

Gary July 7, 2014 at 02:25 pm

It's a shame what airline travel has become. Gone are the days where you could go to the gate and meet your arriving friend or family, thanks to 911. I've flown Spirit Airlines for more than 25 years from Tampa to Detroit and watched them add charges every year on anything they could think of. Carry on luggage makes them millions each year. And who came up the the idea of asking what seat they would prefer, BINGO charge for that too. Next they will ask, would you like a seat belt? Or special deal that includes seat belt and air mask? Yea, their planes are old, usually dirty and the seats feel like the back seat of an old Vegas taxi. Flight assists seem mad, tired and older. Their job is not an easy one, their dealing with the public. And is it an FAA rule that every flight have at less 2 crying babies? So, carry on Spirit Airlines, bait and switch us, all for your bottom line.

Mary O'Sullivan July 27, 2014 at 05:28 pm

$10 if boarding pass isn't printed...

Oralia H. Sanchez July 30, 2014 at 07:05 pm

I am trying to get our boarding passes for myself and friend. We are booked on the same flight for tomorrow. 869 leaving at 4:20pm to Los Angeles, CA.

Joan Haire December 18, 2014 at 06:07 pm

I can't get a boarding pass to print

Crenshaw judith January 3, 2015 at 05:35 pm

this was not very helpful at all. where is the link to print the boarding pass out.

Mark January 3, 2015 at 09:58 pm

Hello, Judith. This is not your airline's web site. This is a travel blog site. I suggest visiting your airline's web site to find links to their tools, such as their check-in and boarding pass features.

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