Wednesday, May 31, 2023

No Frills

So, I decided to make a last minute trip to Los Angeles.  My beloved Denver Nuggets were in the NBA Finals with the Lakers.  Why the Nuggets you ask?  Here’s why.   Plus, my son Josh and daughter in law Shelby are staying there for about a month.  So, that made the decision easy.  I wouldn’t need a hotel and I managed to get a ticket to the game.  However, the flight was another issue.  Given, that it was the last minute, flights were very high.  So, I might the decision to use one of the low-cost, no-frills airlines - Spirit.  I was able to get a reasonable price out of Louisville.  So, I booked my ticket.

This difference with these type of airlines is everything costs extra.  It costs for both checked and carryon luggage.  You can bring one personal item – a small bag of purse but they are very strict that the size is below their requirement.  If you want to choose your seat, that costs too.  You can see how if you are not careful, you can start to approach the cost of a  full fare airline.  I went ahead and paid for a carryon (I was glad I did later) and got an aisle seat (which I prefer).  The cost was still much less than full service flights.

I headed to Louisville.  About 45 minutes in, I get an alert from Spirit that my flight was going to leave a couple of hours late.  That meant I could take a more leisurely drive.  I stopped at Clarkson church of Christ to worship that morning.  I made a planned stop at the city park in Elizabethtown.  I ate the lunch I had brought.  As I prepared to leave, I get a new alert from Spirit.  The flight wouldn’t leave til after 10:30pm now!  I called their support.  The issue was the original crew had now exceeded the number of hours they could work.  So, they had to bring in another crew.  I wasn’t going to go sit at the airport for hours.  So, I hung out at the park reading.  Then, I went to a couple of stores.  I had dinner at the Culvers there and finally went to evening services at Elizabethtown church of Christ. 

I then headed for Louisville.  I arrived at Muhammed Ali airport.  I’d never flown out of there before.  An interesting thing is just about all its parking is within walking distance of the main terminals.  It’s also about half of what it costs to park at the Nashville Airport.  I have PreCheck, but there wasn’t much of a line so we were all herded into the same line.   I got to my gate and saw it was going to be almost ELEVEN before we were to leave (on what would be a four hour flight).  Spirit had sent me a voucher to buy food.  Unfortunately (with it being Sunday and later), nothing was open.  I did have the forethought to bring snacks.  There are several areas throughout the terminal where you can sit and plug in all your devices and set up a laptop or tablet.  I did that and watched some of the Heat/Celtics game.  The new crew finally arrived and I got on. 

The seats seemed a little smaller but it wasn’t awful.  I tried to sleep a bit and managed to.  There is no in-flight entertainment or chargers.  You even have to pay if you want a snack or soda or water.  Keep that in mind.  We arrived about 1 AM. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been out that late.  Since I just did carryon, I could head right out to the pickup area.  Even though it was that late, it was still bedlam.  Josh and Shelby pulled up and I threw my stuff in their car.  I got to their Air B&B and crashed out.

My return flight went much better.  One other thing you can do with Spirit is put in a bid for either what they call “The Big Front Seat” or an exit row seat.  I bid on the exit row seat and won!  The flight was on time and that exit row seat made all the difference in the world in a much more relaxing flight home.   I’m a tall guy and could easily stretch out.  I got to the airport and had an uneventful flight home.

What did I learn?  One, Louisville is another option to fly out of.  It was only about an hour further than the Nashville Airport.   Two, I might try Spirit again.  I’d sure bid on an exit row and I might not fly so late in the afternoon just in case of a delay.  It’d have to be a lot cheaper than the full fare airlines for me to do it again though.