In that post I wrote, “Here at DansDeals we don’t do buses.” It’s become a common expression and even the signature of some members on the DansDeals Forums. Let’s just say I had enough nightmare Greyhound stories as a high school student in Pittsburgh going back home to Cleveland to keep me from ever stepping foot on one again.
I also don’t fly ultra-low cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit. I don’t like their nickel and diming to reserve a seat or get a drink of water. I don’t like their lack of legroom, their lack of a carry-on allowance, or their lack of useful miles. I don’t like that they don’t participate in Priceline’s “next day at 11:29pm” refund policy.
But I really don’t like what happens during irregular operations. They don’t have agreements with any other airlines and they don’t have the capacity to handle problems. When things go wrong they often can’t get you to where you need to go for an entire day, or even days.
I’d rather use miles or hunt for a better fare than be subject to that and that’s why I very rarely post deals for travel on the ultra-low cost carriers. Though when I do it’s about how to beat the Spirit pricing system with strategies like going to the airport.
Obviously, plenty of people have good experiences with the ultra-low cost carriers. If you are single, don’t need to travel next to anyone, don’t need to travel with any luggage, and don’t need to be somewhere at a critical time, then it can make sense. But otherwise when you include all of the fees you get hit with later and the risks of something going very wrong, I don’t think it will typically make sense.
As Daniel K said on the DansDeals Facebook Group, “Spirit is cheap but I will never fly it again….Spirit is everything wrong with flying.”
Case in point:
A friend of a friend of mine flew on Spirit flight 440 from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland this past Monday. JetBlue and United also fly on that route and managed to make it to Cleveland, but the Spirit flight was diverted to Detroit.
Diversions stink, but they stink worse on Spirit. They were too cheap to fly them to Cleveland, so they put them on a bus.
And then hilarity ensued.
OK, maybe not quite for the people involved.
The Spirit chartered bus then broke down on the side of the road and passengers didn’t get home until the wee hours of the following morning.
You can’t make this stuff up. Read about the full story here and think twice the next time you want to save a few bucks by flying Spirit.
HT: Sam K.