I’m Breaking Up With Spirit Airlines
I’ve gone on two solo trips by myself in the last year, and both trips I flew Spirit, the super millennial, budget airline. My trip to Boston was pretty great. Nothing remarkably good or bad happened which is just what I wanted.
That was not the case for my trip to Los Angeles. The flight home was pretty ok, but it was a red eye so I slept through most of it. My flight out of BWI was scheduled to leave around 7pm. So, like we do, my mom got me there two hours early, we went to Pie Five for dinner and then she escorted me to the security checkpoint and we said goodbye. Magically, my flight was boarding 15 minutes after I got to my gate, so I didn’t have a lot of downtime. We boarded early, everyone thought it was great, and then we didn’t take off on time.
Around 7:30 the pilot says maintenance is just finishing the pre-check stuff and we should be good to go in about ten minutes. No problem. Well, after the pilot said “ten more minutes” 6 or 7 times, he tells us that the plane is deserviced and we have to get off the plane.
Huge shout out to the two guys sitting next to me for answering my dozens of questions about what happens when this happens. He said they would hopefully give us ticket vouchers for the next flight. Unfortunately, spirit fly’s on a schedule that stays the same every day. So it would be 24 hours. Anyways we slowly get off the plane and back to our gate.
Me, having not the brightest moment, didn’t get water before we boarded the plane. I take medication at 6 every night, and I realized right before we boarded I hadn’t taken it. No, we did not get to order food while we waited for the plane to take off, so I ran at full speed out of our gate to starbucks and ran back.
I come back, not even five minutes later and we are boarding the plane. The same plane. The usher goes “sit in the same seat, sorry about the mix up” I wasn’t really upset. I texted my parents and my friend I was visiting that we should be leaving soon. We get back on and the pilot says something about the hydraulics failure being a false alarm and it’s fine.
If you know anything about planes, the major plane crashes that kill everyone on board are almost always due to hydraulic failures. Which I knew, because I’m obsessed with planes. Now I’m a little nervous.
We FINALLY start moving (from our gate), lights dim, everyone’s ready to start this 5 hour-long flight and we get to the end of the runway and stop. I’m thinking, ok, we’re just waiting for the go ahead to take off. A plane lands. That must be why we had to wait. Then we turn around. I don’t know if you’ve been in a plane that turns around, but you can tell what’s happening. It’s very obvious. Nobody says anything. We head toward the gate, not the one we came from. I tell the guys next to me there’s a firetruck and ambulance by a gate, so maybe we had to wait for whatever was happening. When we stop we all realized that the emergency vehicles were coming for our plane. Then a flight attendant asks if there’s any medical professional on board. The woman directly behind me is a nurse (good to know). Eventually we get word that someone had a seizure up front. So we get the person off the plane, they clean up the area and we have about a half-hour (more) delay before we finally take off.
During this whole situation a man across from us was terrified. He was visibly worried, the flight attendant tried to console him initially before we had any delay. We head for takeoff between the false-alarm and the medical emergency and he harasses the flight attendants for free food or drinks for the trouble. Then the person had a seizure and he makes rude comments about how inconsiderate it was to have a seizure before we were in the air (because any of that was a choice). So while the flight attendants are cleaning up, security takes this man off the plane. I felt bad for him initially when he seemed anxious, but that quickly disappeared.
I haven’t had much experience, but this was not a good one. And I know part of it was out of their control. Like, of course, an airline can’t cause a medical emergency. But they need to communicate with one another much better. Everyone I have told this story to has told me that spirit should never be used for flights longer than an hour. Lesson learned.
When we finally took off, everyone clapped. The nice guys next to me offered their snacks. I finally got my water. I ordered the one gluten free food item they served and they were out. Thankfully I was prepared with snacks but popcorn sounded great. Those Buzzer ball things, you know what I’m talking about. The alcoholic ball-shaped drinks they have on planes. Everyone wanted one, understandably after the three hours we just endured, but they had NONE. Not one. Why did the flight attendants not restock during our three-hour delay?
Anyways. That’s my experience with Spirit Airlines. I really don’t think they’re bad, but this was not a flight I ever want to relive.