Consider this a Public Service Announcement: Avoid Spirit Airlines at all costs. News broke today that Spirit Airlines will be charging $45 each way for carry-on luggage that doesn’t fit in the seat below you. Roller boards be damned! Yes, this is rather ridiculous, but if you have ever flown with Spirit you would probably rather be stuck in a phone booth with an alligator than live through their travel nightmare.
Let me tell you where I’m coming from here. I am a thrifty traveler. I have spent the night in airports, traveled for hours on buses in 100+ degree heat and slept holding my luggage in sketchy hostels all in the name of a good deal. The idea of a $12 airline ticket is not lost on me, yet I would rather do any of those things than fly with Spirit again. Last year I traveled from LGA to FLL (NYC to Ft. Lauderdale, FL in airport code) using Spirit because they offered the best rate, roughly $300 for booking a couple weeks ahead when other airlines were charging $550. My Friday evening flight was supposed to leave around 5 p.m. and didn’t take off until 11:30 p.m. Delays are to be expected at LGA, so that’s not what bothered me. Rather, the waiting area looked like a zoo, literally. There were children running around screaming and parents clad in animal prints looking at, yet not tending to, them. Luckily a few drinks at the airport bar softened my hearing sensitivity, but when it came time to board there was no outlined process, just a free-for-all. People were climbing over seats to get to the front of the line, which was really just a mob. I didn’t understand the rush to be first until it became clear that everyone was trying to stuff their carry-ons in the overhead bins. Roughly half the people had to gate-check their baggage but didn’t realize this until they had boarded (because the overhead bins didn’t fill back-to-front there were people in the back of the plane that needed to gate-check and couldn’t get back to the front to do so).
Once on board another set of problems arose and the moronic flight attendants couldn’t handle any of it. The credit card machine to purchase snacks and beverages (even non-alcoholic) broke, yet they still wouldn’t accept cash. The person seated next to my friend went vomitron on everyone. The woman behind me apparently had no idea how to handle her toddler and 30 seconds before landing started screaming, “My kid is going to piss on everyone and these seats if you don’t let me up to use the bathroom!” It’s a miracle Federal Air Marshals didn’t storm the plane when we arrived. Never. Again.
If my story doesn’t scare you and you want to pay $45 for a carry-on with your cheap ticket then that’s your prerogative. I understand that airlines are struggling given rising fuel costs and fewer travelers, but I don’t expect charging for carry-on bags to become the new industry standard. If extremes is the next step, what would make more sense is charging each person based on weight since that is what is seemingly so valuable. It doesn’t make sense that I should have to pay $45 for a carry-on if the guy next to me weighs 350 pounds. If I take myself and a 30 pound bag on the plane, I would still be net 195 pounds lighter than the guy next to me!
If this isn’t bad enough, you should also know that RyanAir is charging 1 euro to use their restroom on board. It’s just a matter of time before some cheap-ass tries peeing in a cup and things really get out of control. If these practices become commonplace I’m either banking on the government’s Amtrak subsidies to continue or some scientist to perfect Harry Potter’s wizarding world so we can all travel via floo powder!