TRAVEL THERE: A $120 LESSON FROM SPIRIT AIRLINES
So, on a Monday morning in May, I woke up with the knowledge that I was going to Club Med Punta Cana at the end of the week – the trip we had won from CTC Travel. I had no idea whatsoever of what I was taking with me.
The Resort Life
I am the Museum Girl, not the Resort Girl. I know what to take on cruises. I’m great at packing for a road trip. However, I didn’t know what to take to a resort, because that hadn’t been my life up to that point.
So I imagined a really casual five-day cruise without any ports of call and no dressing for dinner. My wardrobe began to form in my head. Swimsuits, sundresses and shorts. I scratched my head a little more and tried to dream up every eventuality. Maybe I’d need jeans? What about some slacks? I stood around in my closet gathering up things I might need. Something to sleep in, lingerie, sandals, sneakers. The items began to pile up. In the end I took a lot more than I needed, because I just didn’t know.
The Baggage Thing
So, if you travel at all, you know what Spirit is famous for – no frills, but a fee for everything. I looked online for all of Spirit’s baggage fees and thought I was pretty clever. I was sure we’d be able to get by without the additional cost of carry-ons, because I’d managed to fit us into one suitcase for five days for our cruise. Of course, since we drove to Galveston, the weight didn’t matter, but I was certain I could fit everything into two suitcases – and I did.
We weighed the suitcases with our handy dandy suitcase scale and put the them next to the door. The alarm would be going off at 3:30 AM the next morning, because our flight was at the ungodly hour of 6 AM.
The Other Baggage Thing
We parked our car at Park & Fly, like we always do, and were delivered to our terminal. As we stood near the Spirit Airlines acclimating ourselves to their procedures, a very nice lady came up to us and offered to help. She was happy to see the confirmations proving we had checked in online. Then she grabbed a bag and set it on their scale. I didn’t have a worry in the world. Both bags were under 50 pounds – the magic airline weight limit. Or at least that had been the magic airline weight limit the last time I had flown on a real airline.
I should have worried. The weight of our bags brought a frown to our friendly helper’s face, but it was nothing compared to the one on my husband’s face. We were going to have to pay an additional $30 per bag each way. $120!! The weight limit for Spirit Airlines is 40 pounds!
My stomach dropped to somewhere near my shoes. We’ve had vacations ruined for less than $120 in unexpected fees. Bill is no fan of traveling and he hates fees – they’re like paying interest, only much more careless. I waited for my dressing down, but it never came. We’d both been looking at the Spirit website for days. I’d emailed him a reminder of the permitted size of his personal item. We’d both weighed the suitcases. He wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t in trouble.
We finished getting our boarding passes and got in line to begrudgingly pay our first round of $60 baggage fees. (BTW, CTC was in no way responsible for our frustration at the gate. They didn’t book our air and I didn’t ask them about luggage fees!) There was a wait by the gate and then we climbed on board Spirit Airlines. Come fly with us next week.