Spirit Air Seat Assignment

I am still trying to figure out the method-to-the-madness of how Spirit assigns random seats. I have noticed they try to seat people on the same reservation together (even without pre-purchasing seats), and they seem to fill the back of the plane first and go forwards. Even on flights that weren’t full, when there was only two of us flying together, we were still assigned a row with another person next to us, even though the row in front of us was completely empty.

I assumed my flight to Vegas would be full, so I checked in almost as soon as I could 24 hours ahead of time. I was assigned a middle seat. Sigh. I’m beginning to think Spirit’s process is counter-intuitive. It seems like the later you wait to check in, the better chance you have of getting an aisle or a window seat because all the others are filled up.

I was a little concerned to how crazy the flight would get. I assumed it would be a full flight with a bit of a party atmosphere (this is Spirit after all).

Soon after I get to my seat to guys come up to me and tell me they have the aisle and the window seat in my row, but they want to sit together so they give me my choice of the window or aisle seat. I really appreciated them offering me that choice. Not just because I wouldn’t have to sit in a middle seat, but I really can’t stand it when people do that trick and don’t switch out when it doesn’t work for them. If they can go without talking to each other, that’s fine, but I’ve been on a six-hour flight with two people who chose to talk to each other with me sitting in between them instead of offering to switch seats.

On Spirit Air, this trick will not work for you. Even if the plane’s not full, Spirit will fill up the middle seats in the back of the plane first, before assigning people rows to themselves. If you’re lucky enough to get a flight that has empty rows, you can move to a different row after take-off once the plane reaches altitude and passengers are allowed to leave their seats.

The flight to Vegas was a relatively calm one to what I expected. The guys next to me were on their way to a bachelor party weekend and even they were not going crazy. They told me they were supposed to be on the same flight I was on Sunday so I said I’d see them then.

My flight home from Vegas ended up being extremely delayed so it ended up not being completely full, but there were no entire rows that were empty. I waited until less than 12 hours to check-in online and was assigned an aisle seat.

I did see one girl in a row behind me with a middle seat all to herself. I’m assuming that was the row the brothers from the first flight were supposed to be in. Bank error in her favor, when you’re assigned a middle seat and get an entire row to yourself on what turns out to be a red-eye flight.


For more on Spirit Airlines, check out Tiff’s comprehensive guide!

Everything You Need to Know About Spirit Airlines


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Spirit seat assignment algorithm (assigned at check-in)

Question for anyone who has ever taken a Spirit flight and *not* paid for a premium seat: could you tell, based on the available seats before OLCI started, what the seat assignment algorithm was?

I will be checking in 4 people on a single PNR next week, MCI-LAS. I will be able to check in exactly at T-24 hours, if that is advantageous. We will be checking 2 bags, so proximity to the front of the plane is not an issue. I'm mainly concerned about whether we will have 4 adjacent seats.

The flight is 100% sold out, but most of the seatmap is available for selection. A vast majority of passengers have *not* prepaid for seats.

Also: my base fare on these tickets is $0.01, total cost of $16 each. Is there any chance that Spirit would not allow me to check in, knowing that we would be among the most advantageous to IDB if necessary? I have had this exact thing happen on Delta, leading to an actual IDB. I'm hoping that Spirit's simplistic systems are more time-based...it's the last guy checking in who gets hosed.

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