When flying the friendly skies takes an unfriendly turn

I realized something after a recent getaway to Las Vegas: times are bleak for people who choose air travel.

I suppose I could switch up that sentence a few different ways. Maybe like this: bleak for people who like to be treated like human beings and not a herd of pigs crammed into a semi headed for the slaughter. 

Maybe a little over the top.

Against my better judgment and for my desire to save money, Spirit was the airline chosen to get the party started to Vegas. In addition to featuring no leg room and a pay-per-snack (and I later learned also included $3 non-alcoholic beverage) philosophy, I was also aware of a pay-per checked bag. What I didn’t know was that you also now have to pay for an overhead carry on. That’s fine. If I can go to Europe for a week with only a little wheeley carry on (that I wasn’t charged extra to put into the overhead) I certainly can go for a long weekend to Vegas, where less clothing is required, with just a backpack.

There was no way I was going to pay the overhead charge of $30 extra EACH WAY and that’s only IF I decided my baggage fate at the time of plane ticket purchase. Otherwise, as I’m sure you guessed, it’s more at the gate.

Lucky magazine is my favorite because they provide stickers in every issue. This issue: flop flops! Perfect for long flights. Not perfect for the person you're traveling with 😉

Ok, that’s fine, I thought. I can deal with it. I’m saving nearly $100 on airfare. Yay, go me…or so I thought then.

Sitting on the plane was just what I expected, or perhaps remembered from the last time I flew Spirit (about three years ago to San Francisco): no leg room. This airline for sure situates the seats closer to each other than any other airline that I’ve traveled, and let me tell you, I’ve traveled more than a few!

That’s fine. I’m also ok with it. I knew that’s what I was in for. It was slightly worse than I thought because my backpack was literally stuffed under the seat in front of me, consuming all precious leg room. With knees squished against the seat, the person in front of me tried to recline his seat. I wasn’t even being mean, I wasn’t trying to prevent him from putting his seat back – it’s just that my knees had nowhere to go. I’m tall. I can’t help it. This same thing happened on the way home, and also happened when I flew to San Fran.

So here’s a question: if you are an airline with seats that are positioned much closer than any other airline, why do you allow passengers to recline their seats? There is simply no room. Especially now since everyone has everything they own crammed under their seat.

I will say one positive thing about this charging for overhead carry on bags “brilliant” idea, it definitely expedited the boarding on and off process. Another positive, for the passenger, not the airline, there’s no way to determine who paid to have their carry on up there and who just illegally stuffed it up there. I mean, it states that information on your boarding pass, but none of the overhead bins are even close to full, so why would a flight attendant have any reason to check? There is no extra tag, nothing. But I’m an honest girl. So I kept it under my seat…

Porky Pig's words of widsom - in an ad. If you are an airline with tv ads, then you should also have tvs.

Over some part of the U.S. at probably 10,000 feet (or at however high planes fly), with my knees numb from hitting the back of the seat in front of me for the past hour, I decided that Spirit Airlines is just a money-grabbing whore. They have advertisements on the back of nearly every seat and on most of the doors of the overhead bins. For those who understand how advertisements work (everyone, I hope) the hotel, or tv network that is being featured, likely paid dearly to have their plug for all passengers to see. Just like in subways, splashed along the sides of buses and so on.

If I owned an airline, I would say, “Look at the money we’re bringing in from these advertisements, I think I’ll let my passengers have their overhead carry on for free.” Because here’s my thing: I get the paying for a checked bag, but SERIOUSLY, paying for an overhead carry on when you clearly have a source of revenue filtering in from advertisements. It’s just poor taste and unkind.

On my way home, feeling like a snubbed sassy pants, my backpack rode in the overhead bin. For free. No one questioned me.

I guess since then, though I haven’t confirmed it, if you print out your boarding pass before hand Spirit will credit you $5. That is a fair thing. I can get on board with that. But I’m so soured by the overhead charge.

I feel like, if Americans keep expecting crappy things, crappy service, under the ruse of “oh poor us we’re in a bad economy” that’s all we’ll ever get: crap.

When I flew to Europe on KLM I was fed actual meals, had more than ample stretching out room and was treated like I was someone special. When I flew on the LOT Polish Airlines, they gave me an entire meal and if I wanted, alcohol, for free on a flight that was less than three hours. Again, leg room and fantastic customer service.

Welcome to reality on my Delta trip home. Yes, they did feed and water me for no charge, but I was indeed treated like a leper. Never in my life would I have thought asking a flight attendant how to work a remote to the tv would cause such an inconvenience when I would imagine, is among their jobs.

Maybe my years of working where customer service is king has soured me for people with badittudes.

I wonder what’s next with all these airline fees, especially when news reports say they are profiting like crazy.

Is this enough for me to decide to spend nearly $100 more and go with another airline? I’d have to say yes. The flight attendants were friendly, the pilots seemed nice, but I just can’t get over being taken for. I’d rather fly an airline that values people and not takes advantage of their financial fear created by a bad economy.

Look! An ancient meandering river bed! yay!

**Please note that even if they didn’t charge, I’d still take just a backpack. But I enjoy the comfort of knowing I can store in the overhead bin.**





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