May 22, 2021
Travel. A retirement perk hub and I enjoyed prior to the pandemic, and hope to resume in the near future. We took our first trip in months when a family occasion summoned us to the sunshine state. We didn’t want to drive the long distance from New Jersey to Florida.
So…we ventured into the world of air travel once again.
We masked up as we entered the Atlantic City (ACY) airport, and did not remove face coverings until exiting the Palm Beach (PBI) airport hours later. Safety trumped comfort. My observation: folks in the airports wore masks. I did not notice any unmasked passengers, except a couple of infants and toddlers, on the plane.
We often fly from the AC airport because it is located less than half an hour from home, offers easy and quick (usually) baggage check and passage through security, and infrequent crowds. On the other hand…
Spirit is the only airline offering a roster of regularly scheduled flights out of AC, most to various Florida cities.
Spirit has become renowned for advertising low fares but piling on additional fees. Regular customers learn the ropes quickly, but first timers must watch for creeping costs. As a consumer scrolls through the Spirit website screen after screen, verifying information and checking boxes, it is too easy to miss a SKIP or NO prompt.
Spirit customers pay for: (most of the time – some fees waived during the pandemic)
- Overweight baggage. Most airlines allow bag weight up to 50 lbs. Spirit – 40 lbs.
- Checked bag fee.
- The luxury of choosing a seat
- Carry-on bag fee (small personal item allowed).
- Cancellation fees.
- Flight change fees.
- Fee to book over the phone (no charge to book online).
- In-flight Internet access.
- Water and other beverages.
Not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea…and sometimes cheap is not so cheap when comparing prices with other airlines. The takeaway: beware and be careful.
The Spirit low-budget model’s proven success launched copy-cats, the most recent Breeze Airways, which began operations this month. Breeze offers low-cost fares but, like Spirit, charges for a variety of extras, like baggage and seat assignments. The airline offers nonstop service to ‘underserved’ markets in the east, parts of the midwest and south, as far west as Texas.
Am I complaining? I admit I am whining. Hub and I choose convenience and cheap, and we live with the consequences (tight seats, no frills).
We loved seeing family in Florida, and travel proved hassle-free. This week mask and social distancing requirements eased, and I eagerly research future trips to places far and not-so-far away.
Let the travels begin!