On January 1 I traveled out of New York’s LaGuardia Airport. I found no difference in security from any of the other times I’ve flown from any airport. Just the typical take your shoes off and put your bag through the x-ray machine. I thought I might get a little bit of attention since I was flying on a one-way ticket without luggage (I just had a book bag size backpack), but no.
The rest of my experience at the airport was really aggravating! I arrived at the airport 2 hours and 20 minutes before my flight. Inside the terminal the flight departure signs only showed flights for the next hour and a half so I couldn’t figure out the gate of my flight. I figured there was one security check point and that I would go through that and by then maybe my flight would be posted on a screen in the gate area. However, each of the concourses had their own security check point so I had to ask a TSA agent, he was pretty sure that my flight was out of gate B5. I walked around a bit and then went through security. Once through security there were NO signs listing the departing flights except for one at the end of the concourse from an individual airline, which wasn’t Spirits. To further confuse me Spirits one desk was at gate B6 and that only listed 2 different Ft. Lauderdale flights that were delayed. I would have asked at the desk except that there was already a line of unhappy people and no one staffing the desk. On top of that the gate was in a crammed little corner and was full of people. I opted to walk around a bit more, and get some food. I asked a TSA agent who was inside the concourse if he knew anything, but he didn’t and his most helpful advice was that I could go out to the main desk but that I probably didn’t want to do that since I would have to go back through security. I decided that I would go find a seat to put my stuff down and try calling Spirit. Spirit’s phone support didn’t know the gate either and it was now a little over an hour before my flight.
My flight was boarding at 10:55 so at 10:50 I got up and went to gate B6 which now posted my flight, I went to the bathroom (these were poorly marked in the terminal to add to the experience) and went to board the flight. Since all I had was a backpack and I knew I was at the back of the plane I figured I would just board late so I didn’t have to fight for a spot on line and sit on the plane forever. I figured maybe I would find a free seat in the plane that I could take instead of the one I was assigned. However, there was a lot of confusion with the boarding. The Ft. Lauderdale flight was leaving a half hour after mine so many people thought the line was for that flight and the announcements weren’t very loud, you could barely hear them at the back of the line, adding to the confusion.
Spirit started with boarding the first class passengers and those who required assistance. Then they called some more people, though I don’t think it was a group, it seemed like it was more rows in the front of the plane. Not that it mattered because the area by the gate was so crowded that you couldn’t get through to the gate if you were called. Then the boarding seemed to have stopped. Then a cop went by, the rest of us got nervous then… Then a stretcher went by, not good. But the roomers were that there was a sick passenger. After 5-10 minutes they finally started re-boarding the plane. They never made another announcement and as the line got shorter people were being turned back at the gate because they were on the Ft. Lauderdale flight .
Once on the plane I found my seat 2 rows from the back, I found the seats to be really tight, when I was slouching in the seat my knees were touching the seat in front of me, and I’m short. But the flight attendant moved me up a couple rows so I could have an aisle seat with no one next to me. That was the highlight of the trip! Spirit charges for food and drink on the plane and the flight attendants weren’t very aggressive about selling. I must have missed my opportunity and even my wallet and credit card sitting on my tray table didn’t tip them off. Good thing it was a short flight and I wasn’t hungry.
My flight only got in about 5-10 minutes late and my whole family – Mom, Dad, sister, brother-in-law and 2 nephews – came to pick me up.
Bottom line on Spirit Airways… I wouldn’t rule them out, but it’s not the first airline I’ll look at either. They were fine for the price, but I’m not sure I would want a 4 hour flight with them where I would be more tempted to check a bag (fee), get myself an assigned seat (fee) and eat and drink (fee for a poor selection).