Putting My Life in Spirit Airline’s Hands While They Hurtle It Through the Air

flying

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.

angry librarian

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.

vacation

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.

spirit

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 — 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.

Leg room

  • 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.

In Flight

  • 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

  • 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.

want v need

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.

caveat

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!

Facing an Inner Debate Between a Sh*tstorm and a Clusterf*ck

stay-or-go

“Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Dear Precious Readers,

I’m not what the repercussions for placing a Futurama-themed meme with a Gandhi quote are, but hopefully it’s all good.

As most of us know, life is complicated.  Tack on adolescence, dating, breakups, school, jobs, adulthood, marriage, kids, taxes, home ownership vs. renting, taking care of aging loved ones, etc.

What do you choose when someone places you in an impossible situation? A complete lose/lose? One where due to someone else’s actions, it sticks you with a moral and ethical dilemma, that will potentially make you the bad guy?

A friend of mine was placed into one of these no win, practically impossible to solve, situations. I won’t even provide this person a nickname, to give my friend and the other people involved their much needed privacy on this issue. However, it is weighing heavily on my heart and in my mind, and I propose the question to you as well. Although I’ve already nicknamed this friend in prior posts, for today, we will leave this friend as Friend X.

X spent several years studying for her hard-earned, and well deserved degree. As with many college students, X met others in her chosen field. This included a significant other we’ll call “Guy.” X and Guy grew from friendship during school, and briefly dated. This relationship included X meeting Guy’s family. Fairly serious. As time went on, X and Guy realized they were not destined to remain in a romantic relationship, opting instead to maintain a platonic relationship.

Over the next two years, X and Guy remained friends, Guy found a girlfriend who soon became Wife. X, Guy, and Wife all stayed friends with each other, and even kept in touch. X and Guy graduated, X moved back to Washington from school, and Guy stayed in their alma mater’s state with his Wife.

Fast forward eight years: Guy and Wife have two children, X is comfortable in a successful career, and periodically they all contact each other to see how life is treating them.

Guy had an opportunity to travel to the West Coast, and in doing so, called up X to reconnect after years of not hanging out face-to-face. X, being the friendly person X is, said “Sure!” and they decided to meet up for coffee. They arrive, had great conversation, laughed about life and love, all of the normal things a person does when reconnecting with old buddies.

As the conversation flowed, X was feeling like life was pretty darn good. Apparently, so was Guy, as he proceeded to then hit on my friend, X, inviting X up to Guy’s hotel room.

Yes, you read that correctly. Guy is still married, and still has a family of two kids with Wife.

X is a highly moral and ethical person. At Guy’s (indecent) proposal, X immediately said “No,” and things turned awkward. X got up from the table and left. All the while, Guy is apologizing and begging X not to tell Wife about Guy’s indecent proposal.

I was sitting at home, vegging out for a typical Friday afternoon to settle in for the weekend, when I received a text from X asking if I could meet up with her. After sorting out time and location, I met up with X and fell subject to X rehashing the uncomfortable events with Guy.

Thus came the dreaded question…

uh-oh

“What do I do? I feel horrible. Do I tell Wife? Do I let it go?”

I told X the following:

  • This is not your fault.
  • This is GUY’S fault.
  • I’m so sorry this happened.
  • I’m sorry Guy didn’t respect you, Wife, or his family enough to make such a poor decision.
  • He’s an asshole for attempting to step out on Wife.
  • He may even be a “nice guy,” who decided he had an opportunity (temptation) and decided to see if he could get away with it. Even though he loves Wife/kids. Just thought this “one time” he’d see if he could have a secret to himself.*

*He may even be a great husband/father. He may have just been too tempted to see if this one time he could do something out of character. Either way, it was a bad decision whether it was a continual habit of his, or a one-time thing.

As far as what X should do?  Well, this gets tricky. As a woman who has been in a long-term relationship and marriage with someone, I had to basically ask myself the following questions and gave my opinions as such:

Would I want to know?
For me, the answer is YES. I would want to know.

 

What was my significant other like before we were serious?
Was that person a player? Have they been flirty their whole life? Have we recently gotten bored, angry, upset, resentful of each other? Has the other person shown lack of interest in me? Have I shown lack of interest in them?

What about our kids?
This doesn’t really apply to me, specifically, as I don’t have kids. However, I would be lying if I thought that having children as part of our lives wouldn’t have any impact on how I move forward after receiving news that, according to an outside party, my significant other attempted to get some physical attention outside of our relationship. If we stayed, would we get counseling? Would we separate? How would we create new lives for ourselves? How do you talk to your children about it? Should you mention it to your children? I’m not an expert and have no basis for providing advice.

heart-couple-sitting

Was it a one-time thing, or a long-term affair?
Now, I can’t speak for myself for either of these situations how I would react, as I have not had to face this particular situation before. Not belittling one betrayal over another, a betrayal is what it is, no matter how long it has been going on. That being said, there are relationships that are able to move past a discretion (or several). Each relationship is as unique as a fingerprint. I can’t say for myself.

And the overall question that everyone has to ask themselves:

Do I believe it?
I would take what was said, say thank you to the messenger, and end the conversation. After walking away, I would have to take in the messenger’s character into debate. I would have to take Pilot’s character into debate. Then, make a decision about our future together.

Pilot and I have a mutual understanding that we’re not just “desperate to not die alone,” we’re not “staying together because we’ve been together for so long,” it’s not “we’re together because I didn’t want to break up with you,” and we’ve agreed to never, “stay together because we have children together.” We make a daily conscious effort to choose each other as a life partner because we want** the other person.

We choose to say to each other:

  • I care about what happens to you.
  • I enjoy spending my time with you.
  • I value, treasure, and celebrate your existence as a human being.
  • How you feel has an effect on how I feel.
  • I feel better when you are happy.
  • I choose to support you emotionally because I want to.
  • I choose and make an effort to prove that I should be the person you can count on, because I want to be that person.
  • I find you continually, and increasingly, incredibly attractive and enjoy being around your divine buns.

Ok, that last part might have been TMI.

**Note, I said “want.” I did not say “need.” I never want to be needed or need someone else. I only need God. It’s up to God, Pilot’s choices, and my choices to be sure that it’s right to share our lives with each other.

SO, WHAT DO I/YOU DO?

All of these thoughts ran through my mind as my friend patiently waited form me to gather my thoughts and work them out in my head. The added factor was, since Wife was in a faraway state, there was no way for friend X to be able to talk to Wife in person. It would have to be via phone or email. This isn’t verbatim, but this is a paraphrased version of what I said to her:

“Well, friend X:  If it were my significant other (SO), I’d want to know. I don’t know what I’d do with that information after I was told, but it would depend on who told me, what the circumstances were with my relationship with SO and the situation SO was in when the incident occurred. It gets tricky since Guy and Wife have children. You definitely should tell her. It sucks and is horrible that Guy didn’t respect you enough and forced you into this rock and hard place. He’s an asshole and needs to be held responsible for his actions. I think you should tell Wife that you are in no way interested in him, that you refused him immediately, that you left right after it happened, and have made no contact with him since.

“You should be mentally prepared for one of the following reactions from Wife, and be able to live with it:

  • Wife blames you/freaks out and she cuts ties with you. You must be ready for that kind of reaction. It sucks, but it’s true.
  • Wife doesn’t believe you, calls you a liar, and she cuts ties with you.
  • Wife believes you, but she blames you/freaks out/harasses you. You need to be prepared to cut ties with her.
  • Wife believes you, thanks you for the information. She still cuts ties with you because it will be painful.
  • Wife believes you, thanks you for the information. She keeps in touch. (This would be highly tricky to navigate, and probably most unlikely.)
  • Some combination of the above.

“No matter what, however Wife reacts is on Guy and her. It has nothing to do with you. Guy’s terrible choice is what causes Wife’s reaction. Not you. Also, however she chooses to move forward with this information is between Wife and Guy. Whether they stay together or not, that’s between them. Either way, you are just the messenger, and it is not your fault. It’s GUY’S fault. We can only hope they choose to get counseling, or choose to be happy apart. Either way, it’s up to them to decide how to repair their own hearts. Not you. You did nothing wrong.

heart-safety-pin

I further offered that if X decided to write Wife an email, I’d be happy to go over it with fresh eyes to ensure nothing could be misunderstood.

Now, Precious Readers, as I said, friend X is an incredibly ethical and moral person. So much so, she tends to blame herself for things that are beyond her control. I’m sure if I asked her today, she’d still feel guilty. This is victim blaming. It is not her fault. Friend X: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

So what happened?

A few weeks later, friend X and I got back together and had coffee. X shared that she ended up calling Wife and had a phone conversation.

It turned out this was not the first time this had happened between Guy and Wife. This asshat had tried to hit on one of his/Wife’s friends a couple of years earlier. At the time, they decided to work through it. Looks like another decision will have to be made.

Wife ended up thanking X. X had luckily adhered to my advice that no matter how much Wife wanted to further discuss the situation or require guidance of how to proceed, the decision should ultimately be made between Wife and Guy, and that X was “just the messenger.” Going any further into decision making was ill advised.

Did Guy and Wife stay together, you may ask? I have no idea. Their relationship direction is between them.

What would you have done in that situation? Leave comments*** below.

***ANY comments deemed victim shaming will be immediately removed from this blog. While I believe in healthy debate, I also believe in respectful debate. ANY comments deemed hurtful, shaming, blaming, or otherwise may and will be removed. Let’s keep it kind. When in doubt, be kind.

Honey is back and life is sweet!

“Happy girls are the prettiest.”
– Audrey Hepburn

Thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts. My mother-in-law, Honey was able to go home with Silver Fox, and is now back to her sparkly nail ways!

Of course, this means I’m going to be completely on her ass about her health, even more so than before.

Let me tell you, Precious Readers, I may be out of shape, but I focus a lot of my attention to eating as healthy as possible. A job in data entry in my Daily Life for 9+ hours a day wreaks havoc on my own ass, and I’m about to kick Pilot and my own to get us up and moving.

It’s been a while since I did any book reviews or spoken about some of my favorite authors. It might shock you to learn, I haven’t read much lately. Life has been so hectic with work, I’ve spent more time with my eyes on the boob tube, rather than my nose in a book.

There’s a new post brewing in my brain that will need more time to come into fruition, and I’m excited to explore the topic with you. However, for now I think I’ll just leave you in suspense until next time.

Horrible of me, I know.

This weekend, I’m attending a concert with some gal pals. The band Ivan and Alyosha is an amazing band that started here in Washington. One of the band members is a former high-school classmate of mine, and a bunch of my “past” pals are joining me, one of which is Obi-One-Pin-Obi.  The other two, I believe I’ll introduce to you as Glamazon and Tenderheart.

Glam is someone I’ve known almost as long as Obi. Even though the three of us were in school at the same time together, Glam and I became friends a little bit later in life.

I like to call Glam the more “Authentic Asian” between the two of us. Her family actually moved here from South Korea, while she was born in the good ol’ US of A. She and her family actually go back to South Korea on a fairly regular basis.

Well, as much as international travel can be considered “regular,” I suppose.

Don’t let the name fool you. Glam is humble, fun and super spunky, but if you don’t watch out, she’ll get you with a zinger faster than my dad used to joke about “saber-toothed crotch crickets.”

I picked the name Glamazon (but for the most part, we’ll refer to her as Glam) because she is super fashionable and always in the know of what’s trendy. Might have to do with her job.  She actually works for a major company in Seattle. I won’t post the actual name of the company, but let’s just say it rhymes with her nickname.

Tenderheart is someone I met at CWU. I don’t quite remember how we met, but I’m sure she remembers. She had a few years in college on me, as she had difficulty deciding the right path for herself. Now she’s an ultrasound operator and living the exciting life of the medical field. The oldest of six kids, she’s responsible, considerate and completely selfless with everything she does. The fact that Tenderheart ended up in the medical field doesn’t really surprise me.

I’m excited to see the concert this weekend and hang out with my gal pals. It was touch-and-go for a while with Honey in the hospital before. Let me just say, Pilot, Silver Fox, Joker, Hoops and all the rest are exuding a relief I can sense for miles.

If you want to try to find me, I’ll be at Showbox at the Market tomorrow for their 8pm concert.

Ooh! I like this! It’s a little like “Where’s Waldo?” but without the horrible, unflattering stripes!

Tickets are still available! They’re only $20 bucks!

Which is great for a broke-ass like me!

*Katherine Bacher’s comments regarding Ivan and Alyosha were not endorsed by Ivan and Alyosha. All comments are strictly the opinion of Katherine Bacher.