Travelers Have An Infuriating Warning About Spirit Airlines' 'Shortcut' Boarding Pass

When booking a flight with Spirit Airlines, you'll notice all kinds of add-ons to customize your trip. Some are straightforward, such as seat selection, while others, like its "shortcut" benefits, are a little more confusing.

Spirit offers two shortcut services: Shortcut Boarding and Shortcut Security. The first is a paid benefit that allows travelers access to priority boarding — a common upgrade option across many airlines — while the latter is a service that speeds up the airport security process, similar to TSA PreCheck but limited to a single trip. Unlike with TSA PreCheck, however, you'll still have to remove your shoes, laptops, and other items as you usually would, since you use an expedited security line rather than a dedicated PreCheck lane.

If the value of the upgrade seems a little questionable, that's not all. Some travelers claim the shortcut doesn't even work. "DO NOT PURCHASE 'Security Shortcut' – I got scammed," warned u/jalex003 in a Reddit thread. Similarly, TikToker @profitplug claimed that both TSA agents and a Spirit employee weren't familiar with the add-on after he bought it for a flight.

Is Spirit's Shortcut Security a scam?

Spirit Airlines' Shortcut Security option can cost up to $20 (fees can vary) and is available to purchase during the flight booking process. Unfortunately, that money only goes to waste if your airport doesn't recognize or participate in the service — and you might not get a refund if the add-on doesn't work.

If Shortcut Security sounds like a scam, well, that's been hard to prove. Bloomberg Law reported in 2020 that Spirit Airlines had been sued by passengers who believed they were victims of deceptive advertising after paying for the worthless security feature. However, Spirit ultimately won the lawsuit, and they continue to market the upgrade today.

Heed the warnings of other travelers and proceed with caution before booking the Shortcut Security benefit for your next journey. More importantly, confirm that the service even works at your airport. Spirit provides a list of airports where the add-on is available on its website.

Shortcut Boarding is a less risky (but still not guaranteed) upgrade

If you're willing to pay extra to speed up your time in airport lines, Spirit's Shortcut Boarding may be a more reliable option than its Shortcut Security add-on, as it doesn't require the participation of TSA or other airport personnel. The benefit starts at $7.99 and allows travelers to board in Zone 2, after Gold elite members but before the non-elite passengers.

Another option is to pay for a carry-on bag, which will also bump you to Zone 2 boarding. According to Spirit Airlines' bag policies, carry-on fees are usually around $37 per bag when reserved during booking. If you plan to travel with a carry-on bag anyway, this could be a cheaper option than paying extra for Shortcut Boarding. Spirit also offers a Boost It Combo option on some routes, which grants passengers one checked or carry-on bag, seat selection, and expedited boarding for a lower price.

Note that, like Shortcut Security, there are times when Shortcut Boarding may not be available, even if you already paid for the upgrade. For instance, travelers filed a lawsuit against Spirit during the COVID-19 pandemic when their Shortcut Boarding add-on was rendered useless due to the strict boarding procedures required at the time. If your flight is forced to alter its boarding practices, you might not get to board as quickly as you expected.