Yeah, the Spirit Airlines A320 Standard seat experience is kinda dull (lol)

Yeah, the Spirit Airlines A320 Standard seat experience is kinda dull (lol)

I don’t know very many frequent travelers who would voluntarily choose a Spirit Airlines A320 Standard seat over Delta or Southwest economy, but that’s the decision I made when trying to figure out how I was going to get to Las Vegas for a family trip.

Call me stupid (or crazy – or even weird), but I like a little variety in my travels. Choosing anything else would have just been more of the same ‘ol same ‘ol.

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Aircraft: A320-232
Registration: N601NK
Duration: 50 minutes
Seat: 2A (Standard seat / main cabin)

spirit airlines a320 side view n601nk
Spirit Airlines A320 (N601NK) side view illustration by
SAN to LAS flight route
Our route from SAN to LAS this morning

My full review of the Spirit Airlines A320 Standard seat (main cabin) experience

I should point out that this was not my first experience with Spirit. The A319 Standard Seat (and even the A319 Big Front Seat) was okay(ish). They got me to my destination on time and without a scratch, and that’s I could really ask for. So at least I went into this flight knowing what to expect.

Arrival at SAN

The skies over San Diego were dull and gray as I made my way down to the airport that morning, but at least this wasn’t a crazy-early flight that had me out of bed at 3:30am. Scheduled departure time was 10:22am, so I did get the chance to sleep in a little bit and take my time getting down to the airport.

SAN terminal 2 curbside
A very gloomy and gray way to start the day here in San Diego.
terminal 2 west SAN virgin america united spirit
Hmm…it almost reads like a sentence if you really think about it!

The first stop of the morning was Camden Food Co., a very nice little grab-and-go cafe situated in the heart of terminal 2 west. Their made-to-order sandwiches are quite good, and I decided to go with something they call a “heathwhich” – which consists of egg whites and vegetable bits pressed between whole wheat bread. The turkey sausage I had added to it pretty much negated any health benefits of that thing, I’m sure. It was good though!

Camden Food Co. SAN
Camden Food Co. – my favorite place for breakfast in terminal 2 west.
camden food co breakfast sandwich SAN terminal 2 west
I’m not really sure how healthy this “healthwich” really was, but it was quite tasty!
spirit airlines gate SAN terminal 2 west
Even after eating breakfast I still had to wait a bit. The plane isn’t even here yet.
spirit airlines bag size check
One of the best parts about flying Spirit? The fun marketing graphics!
Spirit A320 SAN
There she is, N601NK just arriving from LAS. According to FlightAware, this airplane started the the day in DTW, flew to LAS, then SAN, LAS, PHL, and then back to LAS by 11:19PM PDT. They work these airplanes hard, that’s for sure.
apple watch SAN airport
How fast can Spirit turn around an inbound aircraft?
SANspotter airport selfie
Love ’em or hate ’em – Spirit has the most colorful airplanes in the US hands down.
spirit airlines terminal 2 west SAN
Just hanging out in the gate area waiting to board, feeling a little…bored. (sorry)
Gate 33 boarding area SAN
Gate 33 boarding area.

The boarding process

The morning had been going pretty well so far: I didn’t have to get up crazy early, I didn’t feel rushed, and breakfast was pretty darn good. But it wasn’t until after the boarding process started and I found myself sitting in my seat that I realized that I sort of screwed things up.

spirit airlines boarding pass
Yellow. Everywhere. That’s one of the things I like about Spirit – they are proud of their signature yellow brand color and they use it wherever they can.
SAN jet bridge
More yellow at the end of the tunnel.
boarding spirit airlines A320 SAN
Just about to step onboard.
Spirit Airlines A320 interior
Spirit Airlines A320 main cabin.

A closer look at the seats

I thought for sure that I had reserved a Big Front Seat (Spirit’s version of first class featuring bigger front seats in a 2-2 layout), but 2A was nothing but a standard economy seat with abysmal leg room. What the hell? I had a Zone 1 boarding pass, and I was certain that I paid extra for a better seat. What the heck happened?

I pulled up the confirmation email on my phone, and it was then I realized what what the mistake was. I did in fact pay more for a better seat (towards the front of the plane), but it was not a Big Front Seat. Dang it! I must have been in a rush while I was making the reservation because I was totally willing to pay for the upgrade. Oh well. This is just a 45 minute flight anyway so I think I’ll survive. I hope.

spirit airlines seats
Spirit Airlines A320 main cabin seating (2A, B, and C). The window was mine.
Spirit Airlines A320 seat spacing
Spirit Airlines A320 Standard seats. Which (as shocking it may sound) look awfully similar to the seats you saw in my review of the A320neo Standard seats.
Spirit Airlines A320 leg and knee room
Spirit Airlines A320 Standard seat pitch. Which, for those of you keeping score, is nowhere near as generous as what you’ll get in a Spirit A321neo Big Front Seat. Just sayin’.
Spirit Airlines A320 bulkhead wall
Spirit Airlines A320 bulkhead wall. I quite like the transparent panel.
Spirit Airlines A320 safety card front cover
Spirit Airlines A320 safety card front cover. I’m actually shocked they didn’t have a little fun with this.
Spirit Airlines A320 safety card inner cover
Spirit Airlines A320 safety card inner cover.
Spirit Airlines A320 safety card interior
Spirit Airlines A320 safety card full interior.

Departing San Diego

The skies were still dull and gray as we made our way out to the runway, and blasting off through the low cloud layer and into bright blue sunny skies was nice. Ahhh, it felt like someone had simply hit the “sun” switch, and now the day was headed in the right direction again. I may not have been sitting in a Big Front Seat, but the scenery outside was amazing as always!

pushing back spirit airlines SAN
Gate 33 here at SAN is wedged into a pretty tight corner, so it takes a bit of work to back out.
spirit airlines a320 wing view
I was feeling pretty bummed about screwing up my Big Front Seat reservation, but I will admit that this was a pretty good view from seat 2A!
departing SAN spirit a320
So long San Diego! See ya next week…
terminal 1 SAN
Nice view of terminal 1 on departure.
terminal 2 san diego airport
And that’s terminal 2. Looks busy down there this morning.
SAN departure spirit a320
Let’s bust through these clouds already and see some sun!
Spirit airlines a320 wing and engine
There we go. Cotton balls and blue skies. Perfect.
spirit airlines a320 wing engine
There must have been one big cloud hanging over San Diego that morning, as this was the view just 3 minutes after departure.
spirit airlines a320 interior
Nobody seems very excited about going to Vegas today.
flying over long beach california
Making landfall over Long Beach.

Food and drinks

Nothing is free on Spirit Airlines, so I passed on the beverage and snack service entirely. Scheduled flying time was only 45 minutes, so I took a gamble and hoped that I could survive the entirely of it without a refreshment. Spoiler alert: I did in fact survive!

spirit airlines in flight menu cover
Let’s have a look at the in flight menu. This is the front cover.
Spirit Airlines in flight menu inner cover
Spirit Airlines in flight menu inner cover.
Spirit Airlines in flight menu full interior
Spirit Airlines in flight menu full interior.
spirit airlines in flight menu creativity
Rear cover of the Spirit Airlines in flight menu. I really like how casual and fun they make everything!

The descent and arrival into Las Vegas

Of all the approaches to any city in the continental US, Las Vegas is one of my favorites. The landscape is downright rugged, and the experience is much like what I imagine it would be like landing on Mars. The rock and mountain formations surrounding the Las Vegas area are like nothing else in the nation and it’s hard to keep my face from being pressed up against the window for the entire descent.

snowy mountain tops los angeles
Still some snow up in the mountains surrounding LA.
Las Vegas descent
Descending into the wild wild west.
eastern edge of Red Rock Canyon
The eastern edge of Red Rock Canyon. Pictures don’t do this justice – it’s really amazing in real life.
flying over las vegas spirit airlines a320
That’s Vegas! LAS is in the foreground with the strip right behind.

It’s not until the last minute or two that the scenery switches from desert to urban sprawl, which is a rather striking reminder of how isolated the city of Las Vegas really is. Once outside of the city limits, there is absolutely nothing for hundreds of miles in every direction.

LAS 25L approach
Looks like any other approach now. What happened to the desert?
landing 25L LAS
Short final for 25L.
touchdown runway 25L LAS
Welcome to Las Vegas!
las vegas strip airport
The Las Vegas strip is literally attached to the airport. Lots of great plane spotting opportunities from any of those hotels!
spirit airlines gate LAS
Pulling up to the gate.
LAS airport interior
The interior of LAS isn’t all that special, but the sound of the slot machines makes it unique.
welcome to las vegas sign
I’ve arrived! Now it’s time to switch over to “family mode” and enjoy a full week off without work…

Thankfully the weather was just as beautiful upon arrival as it was for the entire flight over, and I’m happy to report that I survived yet another Spirit Airlines flight without injury to my body or soul.

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