Sunday, February 27, 2011

half the fun is getting there... right?

who doesnt love vacations, right? after coming back from a vacation earlier this week, i have become a firm believer in taking a (SUN-FILLED!!) vacation around this time of year, every year. you know what i mean, right? it's about that time of year where the snow is no longer winter wonderland-esque and the cold is no longer "oh i so love and appreciate the four seasons!-esque". rather, the snow is just ridiculous at this point and the cold is... well, just plain cold. no ifs, ands or buts about it.

while my vacation to mexico and elsewhere (minor details, really) was simply delightful and adventurous and sunshiney happiness, half the fun (or misery) of any trip is getting there, right? therefore, this blog post is solely devoted to SPIRIT AIRLINES.

and how you should SO NEVER FLY THEM.

yes, i know. pessimism and animosity is so foreign to the maliyacular. but i consider it my duty as a citizen to formally alert my audiences (at home and ABROADLKJSdfklajds! i love my international blog audience!!!) of this airline.

alright. so, let's begin with my flight to cancun. please note that my route to and from mexico was as follows:

chicago --> ft. lauderdale --> cancun... and vice versa (obvi) on the way back.

chicago --> ft. lauderdale - i have never been on a JUNKIER plane. there were some seats that had the covers slightly worn and/or RIPPED. i mean, wtf. im not even particular about all that kind of stuff but are you serious? common courtesy, people. oh, and no leg room. NONE. im not even a tall person and i was all squinched up in my seat. while i typically like to curl up into a ball on flights (didn't bode so well for my darn sprained knee but whatever), i still appreciated the fact that there was absolutely zero leg room. see? you tall people are always in my thoughts. you're welcome. whatever, it was early- i could have just been grumpy (even though im a morning person... but whatever. just trying to show that i CAN give spirit the benefit of the doubt, as necessary).

ft. lauderdale --> cancun - while all the stuff applies (ie: no food or beverages unless you pay... even for water... but whatever, that's kind of typical for all airlines except my beloved southwest, thank you very much), i think the kicker of this flight was as follows... so we're flying into mexico, right? so obvi, we have to fill out the immigration and customs forms. so there they are, handing out the forms, when one of the stewardesses gets on her little microphone and is like "here at spirit, while you must fill out your immigration and customs forms prior to deplaning, we do not offer pens or pencils"...

UM I KNOW RIGHT. to be honest, this little stewardess actually sounded PROUD of this little fact of airline cheapness. W. T. F. i was appalled. and i didnt even have a pen! i had to actually borrow one from my neighbor. it was all very sad and ridiculous.

alright, whatever. i wasn't ready to totally blast spirit airlines after the above. i mean, whatever, it IS a cheap flight so i guess they have to cut costs somewhere (even if it IS in PENS... omg. i still cant get OVER that).

however... get ready for my trip back...

cancun --> ft. lauderdale - okay, so i get to the airport my requisite two hours early for my international flight (ever-vigilant citizen that i am). i get up to the ticket counter and the little stewardess lady is like "are you checking any bags?" and i was like "hell no! do you know how much you have to pay to check your stuff on this thing?!" (okay. i didnt exactly say that. but that's what i was thinking.) anyway, she takes a look at my little triage tote bag (i pack light... what?! bathing suits, tanks and flips dont take ALL that much space!) and is like... "okay.. that'll be $33". i just blankly looked at her. i mean, what part of "im not checking my luggage" didn't she understand? apparently, she thought my triage tote was too big to fit under the seat so, if i was going to place it in an overhead compartment, i'd STILL have to pay. at this point, i got frustrated (well, for me. in a foreign country. i didn't want to get TOO hoity toity... i wasnt going to be 100% at ease until i was safely back on american soil) and politely (with a slight edge in my voice... but a huge smile to soften the blow... and likely confuse the lady, but whatever) indicated that i hadnt had to pay a fee when i flew on over here from the US. anyway, long story short, she made me go shove my bag into one of the "test baskets" to verify the size of it. she was rather surprised to see that it fit in the smaller bin, indicating i wouldnt have to pay, so at least i didnt get ripped off for THAT.

that was just the start. now, i realize that the security in the mexico airport is AIR. TIGHT. which i fully appreciate, trust me, i do. however, we'd gone through the standard security and whatnot when i finally make it to my gate- an hour prior to my departure. it was at the gate that i learned that they do a full onslaught pat-down and luggage check right before you head onto your plane as WELL! considering the flight before mine was still going through this process when i entered the area, i was privy to just how... LONG of a process this thing was. i mean, i appreciate thoroughness and all that, but these people were moving at. a. snail's. pace. whatever, security and all that. howEVER, this is clearly an ongoing process- not something that was just recently sparked... so spirit airlines HAS to know how LONG this whole mess takes. so here's a hint, spirit. how about you START this two hour long security check process sometime... well, BEFORE a half hour before our plane is scheduled to depart?

dude, it. was. a. mess. we were an hour and a half late leaving cancun...

anyway, whatever, thankfully id met some very lovely people in the cancun airport, while we were waiting that 1.5 hours to get patted down and whatnot (a bonding experience, really). it was actually quite adorable and so maliyacular sunshiney goodness. id been sitting next to this couple from michigan in the airport and Karrie (the wife of the couple) and i totally bonded over our relaxed state in the midst of all the stress in that airport (i mean, really? what CAN you do at that point?!). anyway, i also met this adorable little colombian family (a mom, dad, and daughter) who totally reminded me of the movie spanglish (ie: the way the mom and the daughter interacted... adorable)... only augmenting the situation was the fact that the colombian family mom was totally hungover (and openly admitted it to us)... NOT a good situation for this kind of mess of a flight, but humorous nonetheless. you'll understand why i brought them up a little later on down... ah, always a purpose, my friends, always a purpose to the storytelling o' the maliyacular.

oh well, back to our delayed flight... considering there were 28 people from my flight who had a connection in ft. lauderdale to ANOTHER spirit airlines flight within 45 minutes of landing (if we were landing on time), i figured- okay, it was the same flight and (i think) the same aircraft, so it was likely that they would just hold the aircraft for us. i mean, you cant take off with like half your plane missing if it's your own airline's darn fault that these passengers are late to begin with.

one would think.


so we land in ft. lauderdale, and everyone's all stressed and rushed and whatnot. i dont get all that stressed out when travelling because, honestly, in this type of situation, what can you really do? it's not really in your control. ah, the voice of reason, that is so what i am. hahahaha. i just laughed aloud at that. anyway, so we have to not only deplane, but we also have to go through customs... and immigration... and security... and recheck baggage (if you checked baggage) before being able to get on our next flight.

yeah. laughable, really. i mean they're an hour and a half late and they expect people to make their connections with all THIS stuff to get through as well? of course, they don't make accommodations for people who have to make their connections to get off the plane first or anything. i mean, WHO are we kidding here? and to top it all off, the line at customs was simply NOT MOVING. i mean, this is the U.S.! don't we pride ourselves on efficiency?? well, we certainly shouldn't pride ourselves on thoroughness, that's for sure. i get to my customs agent (a young gentleman i would peg to be in his early 30s), all ready to be business at the customs desk (i always get so nervous with customs agents, for some reason... they're intimidating!). anyway, so he asks me where im coming from and i dutifully respond with "cancun, mexico" (totally made eye contact to validate my response and everything) to which he nods firmly and looks at my passport again. and then he's like "so, you cause any trouble while you were in cancun?" and i laughed kind of awkwardly because well, if he knew me he would right off the bat SO KNOW that cancun is SO not my scene and causing trouble there (the "cancun kind of trouble", at least) is just laughable to me. so i just am like "no..." when im really thinking "hurry up and gimme my passport! i have another flight to catch!"... and he just kind of laughs and stamps my passport and is like "sure you didnt", *smile*, *wink*, *hands me the passport*.

um. this dude is CUSTOMS. is that all it really takes? just be friendly to a customs agent and you are SO IN the u.s.? well, whatever. there was no time to question the workings of the us customs system. haha. i quickly scurried along...

since there were no spirit airlines agents helping us navigate where to go to catch our connections, we all kind of had to self-direct ourselves. i accidentally made a right turn and ended up in baggage recheck even though i had no bags to check. well, THANKFULLY i made that wrong turn. there was no line, so i just went up to the desk to verify where i had to go to catch my connection. the lady asked for my boarding pass and i gave her my ticket stub (because the airlines had indicated that would suffice to get on the next flight since it was the SAME FLIGHT)... and the lady was like... um, what the f is this? anyway, she thankfully quickly pulled up another copy of my boarding pass on her little computer and printed it out for me... so i JETTED on over to security after THAT fiasco. again... wtf. but whatever.

it's as im standing in security, waiting to put my stuff on the belt, that i hear them calling my flight as the "doors were closing". i nearly flipped OUT... i was so CLOSE and if i were going to miss this flight, i'd have to wait another three hours in the darn ft. lauderdale airport. it was at this point that i politely, yet slightly firmly (for me), asked the three people in front of me if i could just sneak in front of them to get through. you really have to applaud the integrity of people- they were so accommodating and did not remotely hesitate to let me go in front of them (either that, or they were quite frightened by my frenzied state... but you know what? oh WELL.). i truly believe it's thanks to these people that i made it home... ON TIME.

that's right, people! after jetting through security and trying to run (which was a joke, since my bag was kind of heavy and i cant really run with my sprained knee still) to my gate, i made it on just in time... and so did my new friends from michigan (we'd stayed pretty close together through the whole security check mess). not only that, i board the plane (which had a lot of disgruntled passengers who'd been waiting for the past hour and a half to LEAVE) and... sigh. my little colombian family spots me and applauds when they saw me and the michigan couple. SIGH WARM AND FUZZY HAPPINESS ALL AROUND, RIGHT?!?!? talk about TOTAL BONDING TIME in times of distress!

anyway, it turns out that not all were as lucky as we were. it was just lucky that we'd had seats near the front on our flight from cancun to ft lauderdale (we had been in row 8), so we were always near the front of the lines for the security checkpoints, per our deplaning method. i can safely say that there were certainly some people from our cancun flight who did NOT make their connection and i am over-the-top grateful that i did. but seriously, what kind of ridiculous nonsense is this airline? they dont hold flights for their own airlines even though a significant chunk of their passengers are from another SPIRIT AIRLINES FLIGHT which was delayed BECAUSE of spirit??

omg, dont even get me STARTED (again). i get so fired up, it's not even funny. i mean, it's just common COURTESY for a service-related company to be... well, accommodating! and i understand cost-cutting and cheapness, believe you me, i do. but PENS? really? PENS.

ft. lauderdale --> chicago - nothing significant to note. this post has been long enough already.

1 comment:

  1. Spirit just sounds ghetto in the name. Not trying to ride Bunk airlines to Mexico after this post. Love that maliyacular.