Don’t Let the Spirit Take You Away

I was traveling this weekend, and I made the mistake of booking my flight on Spirit Airlines.  The only thing I can tell you is never, ever, use this airline.  It was by far, the worst experience I’ve ever had.

I was looking a for cheap flight that could get me to South Florida, and I stumbled across Spirit Airlines.  I knew it was a “low cost” carrier, but figured it would be something akin to Southwest Airlines.  Boy, was I wrong.  The first clue was when I walked into the terminal at the Atlanta International Airport.  A heavy set woman was screaming at people, not talking.  She was asking people where they were flying to  and then would belittle them and generally treat them like they were idiots.  For example, when asked, a customer said she was flying to Puerto Rico, and was then shouted at that she was late for an “international flight.”  The customer told her it was part of the United States, and woman said, “No, it ain’t.”  When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I was ushered over by barking lady  to a kiosk to check myself in.  I started pushing the buttons and a screen popped up informing me that I would have to pay $50 for my bag.  It was a carry-on, I told barking lady, and she again shouted that it would cost $45 if I checked it, but it wasn’t her problem; “if you want to travel with it you have to pay for it.”    Then I was charged another $5 because I had the audacity to check in at the airport and print a boarding pass off there.  I then learned that if my luggage was beyond their weight limits, I could potentially see that amount double!  Thank goodness it wasn’t.

I had no choice at this point, so I paid their fees and then made my way through security and to the gate.  When I boarded the plane, I was again shocked to see that the interior of the plane was covered in advertising, most of it for low end alcoholic products, and credit cards.  The adds were stuck onto the back of tray tables.  The one I sat in front of was for a drink called “Gasolina,” an alcoholic beverage that comes in a pouch and is drunk through a straw, a la Caprice-Sun, or Hi-C juice boxes.  Classy.  😦

Everyone on the plane seemed to be annoyed at being there, but no one more so than the flight crew.  They were basically reduced to being waitresses and waiters in the sky.  Each passenger had a menu, and everything was for sale.  Soft Drinks and Water? Three dollars.  Hot drinks? Four.  Even pillows and blankets had to be bought.  If you weren’t buying, they weren’t interested in anything you said or did.

The flight itself was uneventful and arrived on time.  However, I did consider the possibility of leaving  a day early, and called the airline to inquire if it was possible.  I was told that there would be a transfer fee of $115, and the man I talked to tried to get me to pay before he talked about what options for rescheduling looked like.  By this time, I was irritated, and considered the option of flying back on another airline.  I asked about getting my money back, and was told that Spirit doesn’t give refunds, and I could only get a voucher towards another trip on their airline. No thank you.

In the end, I gave up. I bit the bullet and booked another flight for the return trip home with Southwest, an airline that is “low cost,” but it isn’t in the basement, being flushed down the toilet, low.

So here’s to you, Spirit.  It’s not going to workout between us.  It was nice to meet you, but you aren’t my type.

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Categories: Advice, Stories, Thoughts

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