Two of the most popular budget airlines are JetBlue and Spirit. If you’ve read posts on social media or watched the news, chances are you’ve heard good and bad things about both.
Obviously, anytime you can take a flight for a cheap price, that’s a win. On the other hand, it’s also a bummer having your trip ruined by unexpected flight fees and restrictions.
If you’re unsure of which of these two budget airlines you should fly with, this JetBlue vs. Spirit review has the answers. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the contrasts between each one, so you can make an informed decision.
The TL;DR quick answer here is that JetBlue tends to provide a better value, particularly for longer flights over 2 hours, while Spirit technically offers cheaper flights to SOME locations. JetBlue tends to be comparable to slightly more expensive, but includes more perks while still being less expensive than the larger “Big 3” airlines.
Are you curious to learn more? If so, just keep reading.
The Main Differences Between JetBlue vs Spirit
The main differences between JetBlue and Spirit are:
- JetBlue offers complimentary snacks and beverages, whereas Spirit does not.
- JetBlue provides inflight entertainment, whereas Spirit does not.
- JetBlue allows carry-on luggage for certain flight fares at no charge, whereas Spirit charges an extra baggage fee for all tickets.
- Spirit offers customers an additional loyalty program, whereas JetBlue does not.
When it comes to affordable airlines, JetBlue is one of the best. It’s not one of the budget brands that you’ll hear a lot of negative news about. They are dedicated to providing an incredible experience—even at an affordable price.
Here’s what to expect when flying on JetBlue Airlines:
JetBlue Baggage Policy
All passengers are permitted one personal item that can fit underneath the seat in front of them. These types of bags include a backpack, laptop bag, purse, or even an approved pet carrier. Keep in mind that these personal items cannot exceed 17″ L (43.2 cm) x 13″ W (33 cm) x 8″ H (20.32 cm).
Furthermore, all Blue, Blue Plus, Mint, and Blue Extra fares include carry-on luggage that can fit within the overhead bin. With the wheels and handles included, the bag cannot be larger than 22″ L (55.88 cm) x 14″ W (35.56 cm) x 9″ H (22.86 cm).
Keep in mind that for Blue Basic fares, a carry-on bag other than the free personal item is not permitted. If you bring an extra bag to the gate, it’ll incur a fee and requires check-in. It’s a $65 fee for your first or second checked bag. It’s $180 for the third checked bag. The only exceptions to this rule are the following:
- Unaccompanied minors
- Travelers going to and from London, which includes connecting flights
- Mosaic members
- Basic Blue passengers who’ve purchased extra seat space
- Active US military members
In addition to the exceptions listed above, only Blue Basic passengers who buy additional seat space are guaranteed to get their carry-on bag into the overhead bin.
JetBlue Checked Bags
No matter what, you can always check your bags to your destination. JetBlue allows up to two checked bags at once from the booking to the moment you arrive at the airport. If your particular fare ticket does not include checked baggage, it’s best to purchase them in advance on the JetBlue website or on their app. You’ll save money that way.
You need to make sure that your bag meets the checked bag size and weight requirements. Any checked bags that are larger than 62″ (157.48 cm) in overall measurements or are over 50 lbs in weight will incur an additional charge.
JetBlue Inflight Experience
JetBlue offers a pretty sweet in-flight experience. All passengers are provided with free wi-fi, snacks, and entertainment. They even offer an exceptional amount of legroom within their coach cabin.
However, if you are someone with long limbs, JetBlue allows its customers to have an even more roomy experience through Even More Space seating. With this option, passengers can get an extra 38 inches of legroom, access to early boarding, as well as Fast Lane through the security checkout.
As far as food is concerned, all JetBlue flights include free snacks and drinks, as well as Dunkin coffee. If you’re feeling hungry, the airline also offers Eat Up boxes for a fee. If you’re traveling to or from London, the flight consists of a free hot meal and wine or beer for individuals over 21.
Furthermore, you never have to worry about being bored while on your flight. In addition to free Wi-Fi, passengers have access to a database of movies, as well as Siriusxm, DirecTV, Showtime, and Bloomberg.com.
JetBlue Flight Points
JetBlue offers point perks to their loyal customers. Their reward system is known as True Blue, and each passenger is welcome to join their loyalty program.
Passengers have the option to earn points through booking flights, as well as when they make purchases through travel, credit card, and retail partners of JetBlue.
Customers can earn two times the True Blue points when they book their flights on the JetBlue app or on JetBlue.com, and their points never expire. There are no blackout dates and points can be used for any seat, at any time. Passengers are also allowed to use cash and points to book a flight.
Plus, if you really enjoy flying with JetBlue, they have their own credit card. You can rack up travel points faster by using a JetBlue card or JetBlue Plus card.
JetBlue Flight Destinations
Unfortunately, you can’t pick a place that you want to go to and be able to fly there on JetBlue—especially for international destinations.
Currently, there’s only availability to certain countries within the Caribbean and Central America, like Barbados, Guatemala, Bermuda, Aruba, and Cuba. There’s also availability in three cities in Mexico, as well as four countries within South America. The only country that JetBlue flies to across the pond is the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, JetBlue is not operating in each state. However, you can find flights out of popular city destinations within Nevada, Utah, Florida, New York, Colorado, Arizona, California, Texas, and a few more states.
Spirit is most recognized for its bright yellow planes, and it’s incredible prices. One of the great things about Spirit is that if you understand how the airline works, you’ll have a pretty good experience. Here’s what you can expect when flying on Spirit airlines:
Spirit Baggage Policy
Similar to JetBlue, Spirit allows each passenger one personal item with their fare at no extra charge. The included bag must be either a purse or laptop bag that’s less than 18″x14″x8. If you want to bring on anything larger, you’ll have to pay a fee.
Not only that but there are different prices for overweight and oversized bags. Here’s the breakdown:
- 41 – 50 lbs. (18 – 23 kg) $35
- 51 – 70 lbs. (23 – 32 kg) $60
- 71 – 100 lbs. (32 – 45 kg) $100
- 63-80 linear inches (158-203 cm) $100
- Special items over 80 linear inches (203 cm) $150
The prices listed above are per bag.
Spirit Checked Bags
Everything on Spirit is a la carte. That means each amenity is charged separately. Spirit claims that in order to keep their ticket prices at Bare Fare and affordable for everyone, they charge for carry-ons and checked bags. Essentially, you can save a lot of money if you can fly with only a personal item. But you will have to pay extra for any additional bags. Below are the measurement requirements for carry on and checked luggage:
- Carry-Ons: Maximum of 22 x 18 x10 inches (56 x 46 x 25 cm) including handles and wheels. If a Spirit team member feels as though your carry-on can’t be put away into the overhead bin safely, they may require you to check the bag.
- Checked Luggage: A maximum of 62 linear inches (length + width + height; 158 cm). These measurements include handles and wheels and a max limit of 40 pounds.
Spirit Inflight Experience
Compared to JetBlue, Spirit’s in-flight experience is not so good. The airline does not provide any complimentary food or beverages during the flight. If any passenger wants to purchase food or beverages, they can do so by debit or credit card only.
Spirit states that by not providing complimentary snacks and drinks, it helps them to keep fare prices lower for passengers. In addition to that, they don’t offer any special dietary meals. However, their menu selection offers various options that might fit your dietary needs.
At the moment, Spirit only has Wi-Fi on a limited number of planes. They’re currently going through Wi-Fi testing sessions, and prices for Wi-Fi will be available once testing is done. In addition to that, there are no movies or music available on Spirit flights. However, passengers can purchase a streaming package to access digital content.
Spirit Flight Points
Thankfully, Spirit does offer point perks to their frequent flyers. They have a program known as Free Spirit that gives passengers points for every dollar spent on their fare.
Also, travelers can redeem flight redemptions for as low as 2,500 points for any fare on any flight. Plus, Free Spirit members can use points plus cash on flight fares or combine their points within a points pool.
But if that isn’t enough, Spirit also offers Savers Club to passengers. Customers who join this club have access to discounted fares for themselves and up to eight additional guests. It also includes special deals of up to 50% off checked and carry-on bags for the member and up to eight extra guests.
Being a Savers Club member even provides discounts on a la carte options and amenities like Big Front Seat without higher fares. The cost to join the savers club is $69.95 for a 12- month membership, $99.90 for 18 months, and $129.90 for a 24-month membership.
Additionally, Spirit has its own MasterCard. It’s called the Free Spirit MasterCard and cardholders can earn $40,000 bonus points plus a $100 companion flight voucher.
Spirit Flight Top Destinations
Just like New York based JetBlue, Spirit doesn’t fly everywhere. Over the years they’ve added more destinations to their roster, including international countries. However, you’re not going to be able to fly anywhere you’d like on Spirit.
Some of the international countries that Spirit flies to are Aruba, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, and Jamaica. Keep in mind that even though those destinations are available, they may not be available from certain cities.
Furthermore, Spirit isn’t available in every US city either. The airline flies out of US cities such as Orlando, Las Vegas, New York, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Myrtle Beach.
JetBlue vs Spirit: The Better Airline?
In this battle between JetBlue vs. Spirit, JetBlue takes the cake. As far as reputation goes, they have a much better reputation than Spirit.
Not only that, but they simply offer more. Even though Spirit claims that their pricing and lack of amenities is to keep the fares low, flying with them is pretty much bare bones.
Not to mention, you can sometimes find flights that are just as affordable on JetBlue as they are on Spirit (e.g. flights from New York to Florida). Depending on where you’re going and the deal that you get, you can luck up and find flights on Spirit for a little over $20 one-way.
However, a basic JetBlue flight is about $45 one way. But hey, paying an extra $20 to $25 for a better flight experience isn’t that bad—especially if your flight is more than two hours.
On the other hand, if you’re all about the savings and you don’t care about the perks, then Spirit is right for you.
Both options are great for short, turn-around trips that don’t require a lot of luggage. Packing light is the best way to get the most out of your trip without spending too much money.
FAQs about JetBlue and Spirit Airlines
Chances are you still have a lot of questions about both airlines. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:
Answer: Absolutely! Most people are so accustomed to paying a higher fare amount and believing that everything is ‘free”. But actually, the airlines are charging for the checked bags, snacks, and other amenities. If you can retrain your brain and pack light, you can get a sweet deal on a flight and go on vacay for cheap!
Answer: You may have heard lots of horror stories about Spirit airlines, but you don’t have to be afraid of them. For the most part, they’re a well-operating airline that gets their passengers to their destination safely. Most people’s turn-off is Spirit’s a la carte setup. Again, if you’re not comfortable with flying with them because of their reputation, choose JetBlue as the bigger airline. You can still find a very affordable flight through them. However, if you’re willing to take a risk, give Spirit a try. I’ve flown with them several times with no issues.
Answer: If you’re wondering if you can get by paying the basic fare price without any other sneaky fees, the answer is yes. You’ll just have to book your flight and not purchase any extra amenities—especially on Spirit. If you’re concerned about your baggage, there are plenty of blog posts and videos out there with tips and tricks on how to pack light and fit several outfits into a small bag.
Further Reading on Airline Comparisons: