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Taking my first Spirit flights just for fun

Taking my first Spirit flights just for fun

Old May 18, 13, 7:42 am
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Taking my first Spirit flights just for fun

I'm always open to the idea of visiting places I've never been and trying new airlines. Finding a $61.78 roundtrip fare BWI-MYR, I decided to take a day trip and check out Myrtle Beach. Besides having a fun day adventure, I can experience Spirit firsthand and form my own opinions of the airline.

As it is just a day trip, I don't anticipate I'll be faced with any other crappy Spirit fees and plan to take only a small backpack with a beach towel, sunscreen and snacks.

The flight schedule worked for me and offers a little over 5 hours on the ground. I figured I can walk the 1.7 miles from the airport to the beach or use a hotel shuttle and visit a resort that allows day guests to use the pool for a nominal fee.

Last edited by MileageAddict; May 18, 13 at 8:11 am
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Old May 18, 13, 10:03 am
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Some people would rather throw themselves in a vat of boiling oil for fun.
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Old May 18, 13, 10:26 am
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You know, I usually need to drive for hours in heavy traffic to visit the beach. Also, it costs me more than $31 each way to drive to the beach. Compared to that, Spirit can't be all that bad.

Last edited by MileageAddict; May 18, 13 at 10:34 am
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Old May 20, 13, 3:27 pm
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Welcome to Myrtle Beach! (our world)...We fly Spirit all the time and just recently went from here to Chicago. And also to Fort Lauderdale. You have to know how to use Spirit in order to enjoy it. You get what you pay for,as the saying goes. Great for 1/12 to 3 hour runs. Pack right, check in at the kiosk at the airport, they assign you seats but you can change them for free if you don't like them. Buy your tickets at the airport and you can save the $34.98 r/t passanger usage fee. Have fun. We "enjoy" Spirit.
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Old May 22, 13, 12:15 am
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Originally Posted by ciaohound View Post
Welcome to Myrtle Beach! (our world)...We fly Spirit all the time and just recently went from here to Chicago. And also to Fort Lauderdale. You have to know how to use Spirit in order to enjoy it. You get what you pay for,as the saying goes. Great for 1/12 to 3 hour runs. Pack right, check in at the kiosk at the airport, they assign you seats but you can change them for free if you don't like them. Buy your tickets at the airport and you can save the $34.98 r/t passanger usage fee. Have fun. We "enjoy" Spirit.
Well put, especially the bolded part. I'm kinda bummed they discontinued ATL-MYR, though as that was only once daily u couldn't do a same-day turn. Have done that with FLL, but usually the loss of sleep the night before (from the early wake-up) impairs the circadian function too much to make it enjoyable for such a short duration. YMMV. I also remember some nasty rental-car lines at some places in MYR, and without a kiosk alternative. Maybe that's gotten better. People in smaller cities also tend to be at an advantage in being nearer the airport to try to do the "passenger usage fee" avoidance bit.

Of course, if everyone bottom-fished the fares, took only trips they wouldn't otherwise take and traveled super-light, the profitability would be in jeopardy. I heard people in the row behind me grousing today about how they didn't know the bag fees would be so high and would have taken Delta if they'd realized it. That's probably more typical...people baited by the lower advertised fares but paying the same or even more in total to do a trip they needed to take.

Something tells me they may have gone too far and that more awareness is building that Spirit IS different. I got the survey about whether you'd recommend them to a friend (1-9 scale, if memory serves) and gave it a 5, putting in the verbatims that it'd have to come with a lot of warnings and caveats about what they're getting into.
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Old May 22, 13, 4:06 pm
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Before I decided to take my first Spirit flight, I read online reviews about their dismal customer service record.

I'd have to say that 90% or more of the negative reviews were from people complaining about luggage and carryon fees. The rest were about cancelled/late flights, and that stuff happens to all airlines.

There's no way I'll be paying any additional fees as I'm only going for the day and taking a very small backpack with me. I can live 70 minutes without a snack or beverage too. Heck, for such a short flight, I don't even care what seat I'm assigned.

I didn't realize I could have saved about $33 buying the ticket at the airport rather than online. If there is a next time, I'll be sure to do that.

Last edited by MileageAddict; May 22, 13 at 4:12 pm
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Old May 22, 13, 9:35 pm
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It'll be interesting to hear reports about whether the buy-at-the-airport strategy works now, as the rap before was that certain online fares couldn't be bought at the airport. I think the lowest they go these days has been $19.90 or so on routes like FLL-TPA. Obviously you'd want the discount to apply to even the lowest advertised fare, probably on a Tuesday-Wednesday sale.
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Old May 25, 13, 11:50 pm
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I've been thinking of taking them to MGA (Managua) for a late-summer vacation because their fares are rather good. (btw, what the he** are they doing flying to Managua? I mean, does their target market actually *go* there? But I digress...)

The big problem is that I'd be bringing a carry-on suitcase because I plan to travel for two weeks. So the all-in cost might end up being the same as a real airline.

I should just take someone else, shouldn't I?
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Old May 29, 13, 7:47 pm
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Mission accomplished! I flew BWI-MYR this morning on N614NK. The plane was clean and was about 50% full. I wasn't paying a dime more than what I paid for the ticket so Spirit assigned me seat 26F.

Yeah, the seat pitch is brutal but for one of the shortest flights in the Spirit route system, I could deal with it. I now know I would never want to be on a Spirit A320 for any longer than 60 or 90 minutes. We left exactly on time and arrived 15 minutes early.

My original plan was to walk the 1.7 miles to the beach but yesterday, I found an Alamo rental car for $21 including taxes and locked in on that deal with a code giving me 150 Alaska Airlines miles for the 4.5 hour rental. I almost always rent mid-size or standard cars but in the spirit of being frugal for my one day adventure, I went with the sub-compact and got a Chevy Sonic. Actually, wasn't a bad little car and allowed me to venture a little farther away from the airport.

I spent about an hour on the beautiful beach and another three hours visiting two different resorts and discretely crashing the pool areas to enjoy their pools, whirlpools and lazy rivers.

Return flight was also on N614NK and this time I got 23F. Plane was about 75% full. Once again, flight left on time and arrive 20 minutes early. While boarding the flight, I did witness a kind act of goodwill/customer service. Ahead of me in line to board was a very large man - probably close to 400 pounds. The gate agent pulled him aside and issued him a new boarding pass. On board, I noticed he was sitting in one of the Big Seats in the first row.

I never witnessed anyone complaining about the baggage fees and while I am opposed to fees for carry on luggage, I must admit, I've never seen a plane of this size empty out so quickly as the overhead bins were hardly loaded with any baggage at all. I never realized until these flights how the retrieving of overhead luggage caused so much delay in deboarding.

Flight attendants weren't particularly friendly but they weren't rude or disrepsectful either. They sure do like pushing the credit card apps on everyone and mentioned it twice over the PA system on both flights.

As Spirit offers limited route options out of BWI, I think it may be a very long time until I fly them again - especially since I would only be interested in a short route.

Lastly, I spent $8 on some food and had a certificate for a free day of parking near BWI. So, adding in the fuel used to get to and from BWI from my home in Virginia, the total for my one day trip to the beaches and resorts of Myrtle Beach cost me $102. Terrific day, back home 13 hours after I left, I feel incredibly relaxed and all the sun has made me sleepy!

Last edited by MileageAddict; May 30, 13 at 10:16 pm Reason: fix typo
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Old May 30, 13, 10:44 am
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Nice report, thanks! ^
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Old May 30, 13, 2:38 pm
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I think the biggest and probably real issue for Spirit is that when things go wrong Spirit is worse than most other airlines with respect to people and resources for rerouting/re booking. And of course there is no elite customer service line on an airline club to make it easier.
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Old Jun 2, 13, 11:28 am
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Yes, the 1x a day flight can mean that when the plane is out of service, NK will put you on a flight the next day or just refund the ticket and make you pay the difference.

NK times the ACY-MYR flights where it's possible to do a same day trip in MYR as well.

I suppose most like spending atleast one night at a hotel. However, one has to book well in advance to get a low r/t fare on a SAT AM to SUN PM from ACY in the Fall and Winter when it's colder up here and worthwhile to still get some warm weather in MYR. I haven't checked out fares on same day trips.

ACY also didn't get the second daily flight this summer. Instead PHL got it, and there is 1x ACY-MYR and 1x PHL-MYR, although the PHL-MYR flight times are different.

Last time I flew Spirit, I paid $25 for the big front seat. I was still disappointed that my seat didn't recline and there was no tray table. I flew out of Chicago on a 6:30am flight, and I was tired, with the idea that I'd pay $25 to get some sleep. I couldn't fall asleep even with the big front seat.

Last I heard is that ACY's travel is down. The airport is blaming Sandy, but I think it's because of Spirit maybe adding flights to PHL instead, loss of AirTran maybe, and Frontier emulating Spirit but using TTN and soon ILG. I do like flying Frontier better, but to MYR, Spirit is the way to go.

Last edited by rtalk25; Jun 2, 13 at 11:37 am
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Old Jun 2, 13, 1:15 pm
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Travel section in today's "New York Times" has an interesting article about Spirit.
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Old Jun 7, 13, 3:50 pm
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In the latest issue of Consumers Reports, Spirit was rated the lowest, which means the worst of all the airlines in the US.

In all 6 categories, check-in ease, cabin-crew service, cabin cleanliness, baggage handling, seating comfort and in-flight entertainment Spirit was on the bottom of the list.

I also read someplace that Spirit has the highest percentage of customers who will never fly Spirit again after their first flight, yet they continue to make money so as long as they do I am sure Spirit’s management will continue with their business plan because obliviously they don’t care about customer satisfaction.

Mr. Elliott.

Last edited by Mr. Elliott; Jun 8, 13 at 8:15 am
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Old Jun 11, 13, 6:58 am
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Originally Posted by Mr. Elliott View Post
In the latest issue of Consumers Reports, Spirit was rated the lowest, which means the worst of all the airlines in the US.

In all 6 categories, check-in ease, cabin-crew service, cabin cleanliness, baggage handling, seating comfort and in-flight entertainment Spirit was on the bottom of the list.

I also read someplace that Spirit has the highest percentage of customers who will never fly Spirit again after their first flight, yet they continue to make money so as long as they do I am sure Spirits management will continue with their business plan because obliviously they dont care about customer satisfaction.

Mr. Elliott.
We finally have the American Ryanair. The people on FT generally are not the same crowd as people who will do whatever it takes to get the absolutely cheapest fare bar none, so it's hard to get an accurate representation here. I'm trying them out for the first time next week. I decided to make a pleasure trip out of a short business trip so I'm going with Spirit to get a cheap fare to bring the wife. Since my job pays for my checked bag fees, it works out to be no more than face value for us. If the seat pitch is as brutal as they say, I can't imagine I'll try it again, but it seems worth it in order to save a couple hundred on a weekend.
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