Hello Precious Readers,
You read that correctly. Later this year, I will be attempting to fly with “The Worst Airline” in American history. “Why?” you may ask? I’ll tell you. I’m cheap. And I don’t have a large budget. But I need a vacation.
I’ve heard the stories, I’ve read the articles, I’ve seen the Yelp/Trip Advisor/Other Blog Post reviews. You know what consistently pops up? Read the fine print.
Warning: It’s Tough Love time.
I’ve warned you about my “straight talk,” and that I am not into frills if that’s not what is expected. I’m a firm believer that our country is becoming entitled. People expect more for less, and have condescending and egotistical attitudes about it. I’m not immune to this mentally viral emotional state… I try to have those instances occur as few and as far between events of my idiocy as possible. I’m human, but I try to remember that other people are human too.
Spirit Airlines tends to emote the lizard-brain, guttural, almost primitive reactions of hate, frustration, and anger in people who fly with them. I’m looking at the experience a bit more optimistically.
My girl friend, Caring and I are taking a girl’s getaway trip later this year to warmer climates. I firmly believe this vacation was hard earned due to some struggles both of us have incurred over the last couple of years, me finishing CRUSH ON YOU: A Roxy Summers Mystery #2, (releasing August 21, 2017!), and a break from life’s little problems. It will be our first vacation together. I’ll admit I’ve had poor traveling experiences with friends in the past, but I’m feeling optimistic. Caring and I have both have traveled to this destination before, and are looking for some time away from family and children. Not that we don’t like children. I work in a school, for crying out loud. She works in early education and has a master’s degree in social work, which she obtained while studying in DETROIT. We’re pro-children.
Queue the music now: “I believe the children are our future…”
But, neither of us will be playing “tourist” during this trip and can kick back, have some relaxation time, and enjoy some sunshine and pool side quasi-luxury. (Keep an eye on my Instagram *cough cough, hint hint* if you want to keep up with my misadventures!)
But, I digress.
I used to work with a group of lawyers. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not smart enough. But, after supporting a team of lawyers for several years, I’ve learned 2 things:
- Do your research.
- Read the fine print before you sign anything.
It’s a good thing I do. This can tend to be a point of frustration for my loved ones, who quickly sign subscription, Fred Meyer points cards, etc. with the carefree attitude of someone with nothing to lose. Then, they get annoyed when I stand at the counter an extra 5-7 minutes reading the agreement in its entirety, sometimes with a level 5 point font. I read every word. Every. Single. Word.
Those few extra minutes make a big difference in my life decisions.
Spirit Airlines is no different. One of the biggest complaints that are across the internet are regarding baggage, seat comfort, lack of in-flight services, and customer service. All of this information is addressed on their website in big yellow boxes.
This is where “Do your research” comes in. Always know what you’re getting into before signing anything.
Let’s break down the biggest complaints people have, shall we?
- Baggage — Baggage is a luxury. Of course, if you are traveling more than 1 day, you might need more clothes. It is possible to travel with 1 full outfit, but most people do not find this ideal. However, with modern-day materials and a little soap, you can stretch 1 outfit. It’s not ideal, and frankly, unless you’re backpacking in the same climate or planning to only wear a bathing suit, it’s not realistic. Having said that, I’ve seen people have an entire suitcase only for their shoes. My opinion? Unless you are traveling to colder climates, you do not require that much luggage.
- Seat Comfort — The owner of Spirit has said their seats are basic with little leg room to provide more chairs in each plane. If you’re traveling longer than 2.5 hours, or have a medical situation, you really might want to consider a different airline. We will be traveling <2.5 hours, so I can withstand a little uncomfortable seating. Lack of leg room – unless you’re willing to pay out the nose for business or first-class seating, is that truly any different from any other airline? My hubby, Pilot and I traveled 10.5 hours one way from Seattle to Seoul, South Korea in Economy Seats. Did we have little leg room? Yes. Did I bring an extra carry-on bag? Yes. This already reduces the amount of leg room. Planes are uncomfortable, but they are transportation systems. Not hotels. Need to stretch your legs? Stand up. Bring a scarf or wear a sweater you can use to cushion your seat. Frankly, I hate it when someone reclines. It puts their chair in my face, along with their head, and I don’t need to lock eyes with the passenger in front of me. What is the airline’s job? Get you from Point A to Point B, fairly and not-permanently scathed. Do they do this? Yes. You bought what you paid for.
- Lack of In-Flight Services — Think that water and pack of peanuts is complimentary? Think again. Booking outside of Spirit Airlines, the fees are little higher, or sometimes much higher. So that “complimentary” service, isn’t really free, is it? It’s like paying for a luxury hotel stay and getting the little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion. Those are not “complimentary.” You pre-paid for those when you booked your hotel room. If you want in-flight food or water, you will have to pay for it in-flight or beforehand and bring it with you. So is “complimentary” really complimentary? According to a bottom line, no. Not really.
- Customer Service — Here is where it gets tricky. As someone who has worked her whole life in customer service, I have both an employee and customer’s point of view. I’ve been on the side of good and terrible service. I’ve been on the side of dealing with reasonable, and completely “whacked out of their gourd” irate and irrationally angry customers who are determined to not have their problem solved no matter what you are able to legally provide for them. Which of these was your experience?
SCENARIO 1: Are you someone who gets frustrated easily? Has the staff member apologized for your grievance, but according to business policies they are unable to meet your request? Well, then the problem is you.
Businesses have policies for a reason. Read the fine print. It is not the employee’s fault that you are requesting something beyond what they are permitted to give. Do you go to a Chinese food restaurant which only serves Chinese food, but then demand a hamburger?
“But the [Name of Burger Place] down the street serves them!” you demand.
“But, we don’t make hamburgers here, sir/madam,” says the employee.
“You are being rude, and this is ridiculous!” you say. “You serve food, don’t you? That’s what I’m asking for. Food! NOW!”
“Yes, but we only serve Chinese food,” says the employee. “It says so on the sign outside, on our website, and on our menus that we only serve Chinese food. We could put some beef on a roll for you, but that will be an extra charge since we don’t usually make it.”
“This is ridiculous!” you exclaim. “I will tell everyone and everyone they know about the terrible service here!”
Do you see what’s wrong with this scenario? I don’t know about when Spirit Airlines first launched their business or website, but if you look at it now, it is straightforward information about their baggage policies, in-flight policies, seating, etc.
SCENARIO 2: Were you kind, polite, said “please” and “thank you,” but what you’re requesting goes against business policy? Then the problem is still you. See scenario 1 above, but with a lighter tone from the customer. Do you really expect a Chinese food restaurant to serve you a burger? No.
SCENARIO 3: Were you kind, polite, said “please” and “thank you,” what you were requesting falls inside of their policies, but were met with an employee who showed hostility, aggression, and could not care less that you are human being? Then the problem is with the service. THIS IS WHEN YOU SHOULD COMPLAIN TO A MANAGER.
Another thing to keep in mind: There’s a big difference between “want” and “need.”
Do I need to check 2 bags, and have a carry on and purse on my person — for a 2-night stay in a warm-climate location? Probably not.
Do I need to pack 3 pairs of sunglasses and have four outfits per day? Again, probably not.
Is my carry on bigger and/or heavier than the dimensions the airline clearly outlined on their website? Yes? I may have to pay an additional fee. With increasing fuel costs and limited space — airlines need to be royalty of efficiency and good use of space. There’s only 1 plane with a finite amount of space to hold objects and amount of weight it can hold, and only 1 you. Who do you think is going to win this battle?
Do I need my medication(s) and proper storage arrangements for them? Yes. Luckily, Spirit Airlines does not charge for any accommodations needed for medically related issues. This does not include your loyal pet #NimitzThePomeranian as your “service dog.” Do you plan to list medication(s) as true medical need? No matter which airline you fly, you will need to provide documentation. Doctors notes are king, along with original packaging for your meds, and bring your prescriptions with you. Keep in mind, this is for any and all airlines, not just Spirit. If traveling internationally, make sure your medication(s) are legal to bring into that country.
But, they canceled my flight and I didn’t get a refund! What the heck?
I would be frustrated too. In fact, this is my biggest fear about my upcoming flight with Spirit. But I have this fear with all airlines. Again, as of today, Spirit has made it clear on their website that all sales are final and there are no refunds. I’m gambling with my money, but I agreed to these terms, and I’ll have to suck it up if my flight gets canceled. Spirit does offer its customers the opportunity to fly on their next flight to your planned destination at no additional fee, but that is based on your individual itinerary. It’s not the airline’s fault that you’ll be missing C-dog-topia-wallop-palooza, the sole reason you were flying in the first place. Again, this is seems pretty standard for any airline. You run the risk of your flight being delayed or canceled. Especially if your flight(s) may be affected by inclement weather or an emergency situation.
Having anything seemingly go wrong with your travel plans can be frustrating, exhausting, and feel like the end of the world. But, I implore you, Caveat Emptor, or “Buyer Beware.”
Research is your friend. So is reading the fine print. At this stage, Caring and I are fully aware of what we’re getting into, and doing our best to apply ourselves to their guidelines. It may be a bumpy flight, but we’ll be doing our best to have our eyes wide open about it.
It’s easy to say all of these things before flying with them. Perhaps they’ll prove me wrong, and I’ll have a great time, and everything will be perfect. Maybe they’ll prove me really, really wrong, and everything turns to shit. Either way, we’ll find out soon, won’t we? And you will, because I’ll writing another blog post confirming or denying my findings.
Traveled with Spirit Airlines? Tell us your experiences in the comments section!
Have a travel tip? Please share with the masses below!
Want to provide me with much-needed advice, and think I’m writing with rose-colored glasses? I’d love to know how wrong my thinking is! Share with me below!