I used to call Spirit Airlines a Greyhound with wings, but I realized I was being too unkind to Greyhound. Mrs. D_Odds and I have had several (very) minor arguments over my refusal to ever fly Spirit again, regardless of the price. Long ago, we were able to book Spirit business class seats for less than their coach seats (how is that for stupid pricing algorithms?); I let her have that win even though I really, really didn’t want to fly Spirit. Well, Spirit business class is still worse than most non-discount airlines cattle class. Never, ever again. I’d rather stay home than fly Spirit.
I’ve always had good experiences with Southwest, and I fly with them by far the most. I actually like the free-for-all seating, which IME is often much more organized and orderly than assigned seating on other airlines. You get two checked bags free, and they’ve yet to lose anything of mine. I’ve never had a flight cancelled for non-weather related reasons and they are almost always right on time.
On the other hand, the “big boys” Delta and American Airlines have fucked me over one way or another almost 100% of the time. Bullshit fees, lost luggage, arbitrary cancellations, delays for no apparent reason, I will not fly with them unless I absolutely have no other choice.
Not to hijack this plane thread (ha!) but I’ve ridden Greyhound multiple times and it’s not too bad for what it is. Traveling across the country for 2 days on a bus is going to be miserable no matter what but they didn’t do anything to make it worse. We had reasonable stops at convenience stores and diners along the way for food and such. If you can’t afford a plane ticket (and in my younger days I certainly couldn’t) it’s not the worst way to travel.
(I don’t mind, I love me some hijack)
If you want to really see the country instead of flying over it (or driving past on a freeway), Greyhound or Amtrak is the way to go.
Even before Covid, I was trying to avoid planes (and the demeaning TSA/check-in/seating experience) , and trying not to put any more money in airlines’ pockets. I even turned down far-flung conferences in favor of ones I could drive to.
But I’ve found that when I drive, I don’t get to just stare out the window like I’d prefer, AND the quickest route is around cities on generic-looking freeways.
But bus and train stations are often in the more colorful parts of town… or at least the more industrial (in which case the color is rust). I loved taking the train cross-country and seeing a lot of cities “from the backside”.
And now I’m spoiled since I started taking the bus to Chicago on weekends… or sometimes bussing as far as Harvard, IL and grabbing the train (Metra line). See the city, no worries about wandering then having to get back to the car… and hey, no crazy parking fees!
When I was little, my parents would put us on a Greyhound bus from SoCal to San Francisco every summer, to stay with my grandparents.
And we’d usually get a new brother or sister the following spring, for some reason.
These days we have Netflix and chill, I guess back then they had Greyhound and pound.
This my parents we’re talking about, so ew.
The Alco bus?
Spirit Airlines! The flight is a steal but then: “Oh, you are taking clothes on your trip and you need a seat assignment?! Oh, well then …”
While budget airlines do nickel and dime you for basics, you can avoid most of them with planning and preparation. The real big difference is that a major airline will make a significant effort to get you to your destination in the event of missed flights, mechanical failures, or weather. They have agreements with the other majors to put you on whatever flights are going. The budget airlines won’t put you on another airline, and will often simply cancel flights and refund your money, which is small consolation when stuck in Tulsa.
Yeah, I really should grow up and choose comfort and convenience and dependability over The Cheap Adventure.
I’ve taken a lot of trips I really couldn’t afford by rolling the dice and taking a chance. I used to check sites like Priceline for “bargain basement refurbished take-me-somewhere-near-Europe rates” where they don’t tell you what carrier or layovers you’ll have until you pay for the flight.
One time I flew to London via Midway/Charleston (7 hr layover at night)/JFK/Gatwick. But it was 800 RT… WITH 5 nights’ lodging (at a to-be-revealed-after-we-get-your-CC-number hotel).
And months from now, I’ll probably do it again…as soon as I know I’m not carrying some weird USA Variant around the world. “Any time next week, no specific destination, everything in one carry-on”. And yeah, I’ll choose some mystery flight on a plane with thin fiberglass seats (last Frontier flight had those… and they didn’t recline!).
Damn, i’m pushin’ 70, you think I’d’ve learned by now.
Youz guyz are just making my point - I was being far too kind to Spirit Airlines by calling them a Greyhound with wings.
This is pretty much my experience with Southwest, although they don’t quite fit in the same category with Jetstar and Spirit. Southwest is a budget airline, but not a bare-bones airlines like those ones.
I will sometimes fly United if the prices are good, because I’m still on their frequent flyer program, with enough miles built up for an international flight, and I’ll occasionally book one of the other legacy carriers if they’re the only options out of certain airports, but I’ve flown Southwest far more frequently than any other airline over the past ten years or so.
I love their free checked bags policy, because I hate lugging a suitcase onto the plane unless it’s absolutely necessary. When I’m in the waiting area before a flight, I like just having a small satchel with my tablet, a newspaper, and some snack. The 15-minute wait at the carousel for my bag after landing is a small price to pay for traveling light on the plane.
About my only criticism of Southwest is that, given their free checked bag policy, I wish they policed the size of cabin luggage a bit more. Some people drag fucking massive suitcases onto the plane, and it sometimes delays boarding, especially because some people are fucking idiots when it comes to boarding efficiently anyway.
I had a long distance relationship for a while, and I flew SW a ton. No problems ever. And pleasant cabin crew, too.
I’ve taken the train a few times up and down the state (CA), and it can be a nice trip. A lot of the time you’re near the coast, so the view is nice, as well. However, I can remember one time taking the train home to L.A. from Sacramento, and we went through most of the “backside” of towns we passed through. Stockton was especially dispiriting. Does Stockton have a good side???
Yeah, they do not really police this at all. In fact I frequently see the flight attendants come over and help them shove and move other people’s stuff around, and only if that fails do they make them check it, which I’ve only seen happen a handful of times. While I appreciate that they’re not dicks about it, I do wish they would be a bit more conscientious about obviously too big bags at the gate.
I wonder if the fact that you had to book you grandson separately got him entered as an unaccompanied minor even though he wasn’t actually traveling alone. Those generally have extra fees associated with them that are in the ball park of what you were asked to pay.
The two sets of people on Earth who never have sex: your parents and your children.
Just whatever side is visible in the rearview mirror.
If you’ve never flown Spirit, this is what it’s like. I’m 6’ tall. Fortunately, the seats don’t recline.