Trip Report: Spirit Airlines (A320neo) Big Front Seat (Business) SAN-ORD

The Details

  • Flight: NK564
  • Aircraft: A320neo
  • Class: Big Front Seat
  • Seat: 2A
  • Route: San Diego International (SAN)-Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
  • Distance: 1,815 miles
  • Duration: 3hrs 52min
  • Departure: 1:40PM
  • Arrival: 7:01PM

The Preflight

I was returning home to Chicago for our dogs 6th birthday after four days family in San Diego for the Christmas holidays. I booked this one way ticket on Spirit with an upgrade to the Big Front Seat and priority boarding (group 2) for less than the price of a economy ticket on either American or United….

Since I collect boarding passes, I paid $10 for airport check-in. 

SAN check-in

Spirit Airlines departs from Terminal 1 at SAN. Terminal 1 is where low cost carriers depart, such as Southwest and Frontier, while Terminal 2 is where most other airlines depart. These two terminals are only connected land-side with an outdoor walkway.

There is no TSA PreCheck at Terminal 1, however the airport was relatively empty and I was through into the terminal within five minutes.

Next to our gate there was a Southwest B737-800.

Southwest B737-800

The inbound flight from Chicago was on-time unlike the last time I flew Spirit. Our bird was a brand-new A320neo, registration N916NK, delivered to Spirit in Sept 2019 making her only three months old.

Boarding was smooth, efficient, and prompt at 1PM. Group 1 was reserved for passengers that had purchased carry-on luggage and Group 2 for those who purchased early boarding.

The Flight

Spirit Airlines offers a total of eight Big Front Seats aboard their A320s in a 2-2 configuration across two rows. In addition, there are 174 standard economy seats. This aircraft featured Spirits newest Big Front Seat that was designed by HAECO Cabin Solutions and introduced in Sept 2019. There was 36″ of pitch and 20″ of width. The cushion was made of memory foam and was much more comfortable than the previous iteration of the Big Front seat. Each seat is also “pre-reclined” and not adjustable.

Since this plane was relatively new, the cabin felt very fresh and did not have any signs of wear and tear.

Big Front Seat

There were no power ports and no IFE screen. Between the two seats was a shared cocktail table.

I was originally seated in 2A but the passenger in 1A needed a seat which could accommodate a seat belt extender and so we swapped. Even in the bulkhead seat there was plenty of legroom.

1A legroom

Each seat also had a small bi-fold tray table with a drink holder.

It was fairly flimsy.

We pushed back five minutes early at 1:40PM and quickly made it to the runway 27 without delay. Enjoy!

The take-off was incredibly scenic with views of the Pacific Ocean and downtown San Diego.

San Diego Coast
Downtown San Diego

It became dusk quickly and soon turned into night.


Spirit does not offer any complimentary in-flight service even for those sitting in the Big Front Seat. I decided not to get anything to drink or eat.

We had a very low visibility landing at Chicago O’Hare and missed out on the great city lights of downtown Chicago.

As usual for O’Hare we had about a 20 minute taxi from the runway to our gate making one full lap around the airport. We arrived at Terminal 3 which is also co-habited with Alaska Airlines and American Airlines. Thanks for the ride!

Spirit’s Big Front Seat is probably one of the best deals in commercial aviation domestically. To be able to sit in the comfort of a seat similar to American or United’s Domestic First class product for less than an economy ticket on those carriers is truly a bargain. I look forward to purchasing a Big Front Seat in the future!

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