Give a warm welcome to SaggyMonkey, who will be posting from time to time on NeonDice. He’ll kick it off by telling us about travelling to Vegas on Spirit Airlines.
I go to Vegas as much as I can, usually 3-4 times a year. I’m by no means a high roller, in fact I try and do Vegas on a budget most times and spend most of my money as gambling money rather than amenities or flights. I usually fly Southwest or Frontier (I fly from Colorado), and I feel pretty good about both for price and experience. However on my most recent trip, I saw a dangerously cheap flight on Spirit airlines. I didn’t even know what this airline was but $133 roundtrip was too good to pass up.
For those of you who haven’t ever flown with Spirit airlines (this was my first time) I can tell you that it parallels no other airline. The premise behind the airline is basically a build your own flight experience. The base cost covers just the flight and you have to pay for add-ons such as beverages, printing your ticket at the airport, or carry-on bags for the overhead. That’s right, you don’t even get a carry on for the overhead with the base rate, and that’s where the fun begins.
I’m a very efficient packer, being ex-military and a man I don’t require very much space for a short Vegas trip like this one (4 days). I almost never check bags for any kind of trip so I thought this would not be an issue. I went to the airlines page to make sure I knew the dimensions for under seat bagging so as not to be charged a stupid large fee at the airport ($100 for last minute booking of an overhead). The dimensions were 16” x 14” x 12”, which didn’t seem too big a deal for me, until I realized finding a normal bag this size was quite hard. I was almost relegated to using a crock pot box until a friend lent me a small backpack (whew). I also printed my ticket from home which got me out of the airport printing fee. All was looking good for a cheap flight to Vegas.
When I got to the airport the flight was delayed almost an hour with no notification, despite the fact I had to give a very extensive profile with Spirit Airlines on their website just to book the flight (annoying). When I finally got on the plane I felt like I had entered the twilight zone. The plane itself looked like a secondhand jet that the other airlines were going to part out or donate to charity. Several seats didn’t work (mine was stuck in the non-upright position), one of the fan/light/call stewardess panels was falling out and holding on by the electrical wiring behind it, several arm rests were broken, and the pockets on the back of seats only had the emergency brochure in them (this seemed appropriate as it might be the one flight I actually need to use it).
They had asked for my preference in seats checking in and I requested the aisle, to which I was immediately assigned a center seat between two children who were related to each other (how does that even make sense Spirit?). Also the icing on the cake was a kid in a Oakland Raiders uniform soiled his pants on the flight and the mother rushed him to the bathroom which left a thick smell of methane on the entire plane for 20 minutes (typical Raiders fan, am I right?!).
The flight itself wasn’t out of the ordinary for a flight so I’ll just go over the pluses and minus.
• By far the cheapest available flight, the next closest was $70 more expensive
• Still a direct flight despite the cost on a large airplane
• They never seemed to check who paid for overhead or not so you can probably not pay but still use the overhead
• My bag was slightly over sized but no one hassled me about it
• Like flying Hobo air, no airplane frills or even a seat assignment without paying
• Bare bones, you’ll need to be able to fit everything in a small bag or pony up
Overall I would probably fly Spirit Airlines again, but only if the price was once again way cheaper. I like to put my money on the craps table instead of free drinks on the plane. All that matters is I got to Vegas in one piece.