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?


Please note: This is not the Spirit Airlines web site. Please go to to print your boarding pass or to contact the airline.


John C. June 22, 2011 at 08:46 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 08:56 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 09:21 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 2, 2012 at 02:57 am

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 04:11 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 04:17 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 21, 2013 at 01:18 am

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

BARBAR SMITH April 23, 2014 at 08:10 pm


Mark April 23, 2014 at 08:20 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 07:03 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 06:25 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 09:28 pm

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

Oralia H. Sanchez July 30, 2014 at 11:05 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 11:07 pm

I can't get a boarding pass to print

Crenshaw judith January 3, 2015 at 10:35 pm

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

Mark January 4, 2015 at 02:58 am

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.

Nancy Shelley January 21, 2015 at 03:05 pm

I cannot find a site where I can print off my boarding pass. What site should I try? I have tried several and I cannot find one that works simply.

Marge March 15, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Spirit airlines website is impossible to deal with--you always end up at some cheap flight website and if your problem happens to be with a password don't expect them to reply to you email for help

Erin March 16, 2015 at 03:59 pm

Hi Mark. Interesting article, but I think people pointing out that the website makes it impossible to print out boarding passes whilst telling you it will cost you to do so at check-in is relevant to your article which views the new policy positively. When you take into account this problem of not being able to print out boarding passes, it makes your positive spin on this introduced fee redundant.

" 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?"

If only it were that simple...

RAFAY SIDDIQUI March 16, 2015 at 09:59 pm

I try to print my boarding pass traveling back to Baltimore, but I unable to due to spirit have high volume of visitors, I have a print out the message but I have no time to wait in line for check in hope I will have a smooth travel back to home.

Erin March 16, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Seeing as the premise of this article is that printing out your own boarding pass might actually be advantageous to the consumer, when it seems that it is impossible to do so, therefore costing everyone $10 to have it done at the airport, makes this article redundant. Mark, Despite you correctly stating that this is not the website of the airline, the comments people have made in regards to this are highly important, especially seeing as this blog is about travel advice. The comments regarding the difficulty of printing a boarding pass at home make the article more valid.

Betsy April 13, 2015 at 06:04 pm

Everyone is complaining about the fee to print ,select seats and carry on options,what no one is mentioning is Spirits prices are half of what others charge.I'm paying $204 from Chicago to Phoenix other flights for the same weekend were $359 and up so $10 to print a ticket if I can't seems reasonable add up the fee for the ticket and bag and I'd still be ahead.As for navigating their site use Internet Explorer instead of Chrome and it works better.this little trick was given to me by calling their 800 number have not needed help since.

Sally April 15, 2015 at 04:13 pm

These comments are hilarious.

Kyle Lindemann May 1, 2015 at 05:48 am

HAHAHA sprry but the comments of people saying Help I cant print my pass were the link. I know its not nice to laugh at other peoples misfortune but that is a spot on example of why sprint does it, that group of people that cant figure out a blog between check out lol. I rarely fly so I forget the latest way airlines pick pocket you now a-days, but I enjoyed sitting down now getting all that stuff taken care of 6 hours before my flight. Now I can walk in get felt up by a random TSA agent and be on my way to my destination with very minimal interaction between incompetent employees and frustrated customers. ....tomorrows flight is going to be smooth flyin!

Jen May 1, 2015 at 03:42 pm

If I have to pay 10 bucks every once in awhile to print the pass, that's okay to me because the flights I find on spirit are 1/3 less then the other carriers. I travel with a backpack and there you go, one bag all good. I just want to go see my parents that are 4 states away and this gives me an option to do so that is economically feasible for me much more frequently than if with a higher fare. If you want all the a different airline! And, it's extremely nice not to take so long to board b/c people are trying to cram so much in the overhead bins :)

Pam July 13, 2015 at 07:56 pm

Mark your blog is great! All of the comments are interesting. And Thank you Betsy for the Chrome info! This is the first time I am dealing with Spirit. I just checked in for my tomorrow flight & have been absolutely unable to print a boarding pass. So I'm hoping the kiosk is available. I've pre-paid for 1 check-on bag, that is about 15# over their 40# limit. I cannot pay for this online, so I will have to interact with some employee from Spirit at check-in. I've been searching, since December, for my tickets to find various deals on airfare from Boston to Portland. I decided to go with Spirit for a savings of $100. After paying for a bag, still ahead $50. That is, until I find out what I'll be charged, for the weight of my bag tomorrow. I appreciate the use of ala carte services & the comments in regards to that. If they want people to be able to do what they can without their assist, I want to use the ticket on my phone & save the paper & ink!

trb August 19, 2015 at 11:07 pm

I don't believe there is any charge for printing a boarding pass at a kiosk anymore. In any event, while Spirit is often one of the cheapest airlines, the nickle and diming of passengers is ridiculous. I don't care about free soda and peanuts - I never have them on flights anyway. But, the carry-on policy is absolutely ridiculous given the price and small size restrictions (that are poised to get smaller in the near future). They need to come into the 20th century and realize that - people use cell phones to show their boarding pass, use the internet to book tickets, and take carry-on bags to avoid the check-in baggage fees. And seriously - charging $20 for permitting someone to choose their seats is excessive when they're already in coach and there is no legroom or early exit advantage. It's basically threatening them with the dreaded middle seat. I can't believe I'm saying this, but thankfully, American Airlines /US Airways usually offer the cheapest prices when I fly home for the holidays, so I don't have to be bothered with Spirit's hidden fees. But, even if Spirit did net to be $20-30 cheaper, I think I'd still choose another airline just to avoid the extra annoyance.

Sara August 23, 2015 at 12:57 am

Trying to find out more about the shortcut boarding. Does anyone where is zone 2 seating? Is the shortcut boarding worth purchasing just to stay out of the rush?

Denny September 3, 2015 at 05:04 am

how do I go about printing my boarding pass for me and my cousin.what web site should I go too,to do this

Mark September 3, 2015 at 04:25 pm

Hello, Denny. 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. Spirit Airlines is at

chong s. October 5, 2015 at 07:26 pm

If one have confirmation numbers, and name should be enough to print out the boarding pass, people make the things very difficult.. Please make easy way.

Netta81 November 2, 2015 at 10:55 pm

Do you ever incur the problems of passengers saving seats for others. If so is this allowed. I hope not.

Lauren November 18, 2015 at 03:47 am

I haven't found a mobile boarding pass option for Spirit, sure would be nice, now that I'd pay for!

Francis X. Hudson February 10, 2016 at 03:54 pm

I am having difficulty printing my Boarding pass, for my flight tomorrow flight #311 from Atlantic City,N.J. to Orlando Fla.

Mark February 10, 2016 at 04:14 pm

Hello, Francis. This is not your airline's web site. This is a travel blog site. I suggest visiting your airline's web site to find assistance with their tools, such as their check-in and boarding pass features. Spirit Airlines is at Good luck!

rob May 10, 2016 at 11:11 pm

"How can I check in and get my boarding pass? Checking in online at is free, and it's the quickest way to check in for your flight and print your boarding pass. Check-in begins 24 hours before departure and ends an hour prior to departure. This is also a good time to buy a seat assignment or last minute bags – it will be less expensive online than at the airport. Bags purchased within 24 hours prior to departure will be charged at the online check-in rate, so buy bags early and save major moola."

If you don’t check in online, our kiosks at the airport are self-serve and easy to use. Customer Service Agents are available at the airport; however, you may wait longer at our check-in counters and there is a charge of $10 to print each boarding pass.

Max May 27, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Welp, im screwed. I fly all the time but it was my first time flying Spirit today...and last. i did early online check-in and saved my boarding pass to my phone. BAD IDEA!!! Only the "printed" version is acceptable. By the time i got all the way through security, i was turned around. When I arrived at the kiosk, it was too late to check in. I mistakenly thought, being the year 2016 and all, all domestic airlines allowed you to use your cellphone to scan the boarding pass...i knew i was flying cheap, but this ruined it for me.

Max May 27, 2016 at 12:53 pm

Thought i could use boarding pass on my cellphone. BAD IDEA. i guess i fly so often i missed the fine print. I thought being the year 2016 and all, this would be allowed, as it is on virtually every other airline. I did early check-in, saved my boarding pass to my laptop, and emailed it so I could bring it up on my cellphone. Got through security and was turned away because Spirit requires the paper version. Got back to the kiosk, and since my flight was in 40 minutes it was too late to print one. Missed my flight, wasted my money. It's a discount airline, I get that. But why require paper passes? Never flying spirit again unless im escaping the apocalypse and carrying nothing but a grocery bag to avoid all the hidden fees.

KATE May 27, 2016 at 03:10 pm


Gary June 29, 2016 at 01:30 am

For return flight why not print the pass on your phone, and then take a screen shot of it to recall when needed to board, or print it to a pdf on a computer and email it to yourself and then show on phone. A lot of ways to skin a cat and not pay the $5 for team member to print for you.

CH July 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Gary, the comment on 5/27/2016 states that he was turned away and missed flight for trying that. Apparently it must be a printed pass.

Ozymandias August 22, 2016 at 04:40 am

I finally got checked in and boarding pass printed by using Explorer instead of Chrome as someone here suggested. You will have to scroll through numerous pages (be sure to scroll to the bottom of each page) where they are trying to sell any number of upgrades, but through persistence I finally have my boarding pass in hand. I actually am enjoying fighting their system because my goal is to make this quick trip to Las Vegas without spending one penny more than their bare fare. They make it tough but so far so good. We'll know in a couple of days if I am safe and sound back at home. I might run into a problem trying to print out my boarding pass at the hotel since I'm sure Spirit"s website would drive the people nuts who normally do it for me on Southwest's site. But I have to make it work because I don't want to spend the $2 to print it at the kiosk Not the money but the principle.