View Full Version : Trip Report: Spirit Airlines - LGA-FLL, FLL-LGA

2006-10-14, 12:49 AM
Our cab showed up 10 minutes early at 4:40am (from Four Twos Ė 718-746-2222). The ride to LGA took 10 minutes and cost $15.50, which I think is pretty good for airport service.

Saturday, October 7, 2006. Spirit Flt. 705 LGA-FLL

When Mel and I got into the terminal, the check-in lines were already long, but we got on the Spirit Plus line and only had to wait one minute.

Our one bag was 64 pounds, and we had to pay $25 for the overweight charge, which I thought was silly because if we had split the bag into two bags, it would weigh more in total because of the weight of the second bag. Oh well.

Security was fast, one lane left empty and we coasted through.

We then realized why LGAís Central Terminal Building is less than adequate. The shops are so small, it gets packed with people even when there are only a few in there.

The Dunkin Donuts they had didnít even have doughnuts, so they didnít really have anything to dunk. We then went to another stand and got some snacks and ate near our gate.

Iím now writing this part at 25,000 feet, and my pen just popped, so Iím writing with a new pen.


Boarding was almost 10 minutes late because the gate agent simply was not there, and even the crew seemed annoyed by it, as they waited near the jetway door.

Being Spirit Plus, we were the first to board on Airbus A321 N588NK.

Honestly the seat pitch did seem a little small compared to other biz classes Iíve experienced (Seat 3D &F), if I recall correctly.

When the boarding was slow, I approached the front to ask the pilot, who was standing outside the cockpit, what the registration of the plane was, since it was dark outside still and I couldnít see it. He looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears and I then said ďN numberĒ and he told me 588.

I asked the F/A for a blanket and he said they didnít have any, and added that itís an LCC and ďItís what America wants.Ē He was actually pretty funny. The same as F/A as earlier told us that our flight time would be ďa quick 1 hour and 82 minutesĒ, which I laughed at pretty hard.

I forgot the push-back and depart time, but it went fast. The takeoff was smooth, even though the winds were 30mph in a drizzle.

The F/A was (is) very nice. Friendly, yet stern with passengers that violated rules like getting up early and so forth. VERY kind and accommodating. I ordered a Budweiser (two) and Pringles.

Landing was very smooth, so much that I didnít even notice that we landed as I took pics out the window.

I rate this flight an 8, because I left the plane with a smile on my face. Why not a better rating? Because this is how every average flight SHOULD be anyway. Itís a shame that Iíd even give them a rating above 5 for what should be average service.

Thursday, October 12, 2006. Spirit Flt. 710 FLL-LGA

Though boarding for our 6:55pm flight was to be at 6:15, we arrived at FLL at 3:30. Our goal was to check in our bags, get our tickets and relax a bit while taking pics at the terminal.

Our tickets home were not business class this time, and though we originally wanted to experience both sides of Spiritís product, we ultimately decided to upgrade if the seats were available and the price right.

We walked up to the counter with each station manned with ticket agents, all tending to a customer at each, but there was no line. Mel and I were next and we stood there. But as each customer was finished, the ticket agent left the station on by oneÖ.apparently a shift change. It got more frustrating as the number of open station went from about 6 to 1, with an old lady working incredibly slow on the same customer for about 8 minutes.

After a while, another agent emerged, acknowledged our long wait (we didnít even have to say anything or complain about it) and apologized as she called us over to a now-open station.

We upgraded to Spirit Plus for $45 each. Our checked baggage was given a special tag so that our bags would be off-loaded firstÖ.something we apparently should have gotten on our LGA-FLL flight, but didnít.

We also checked 3 bags, distributing the weight from our 1 original bag to avoid the overweight charges.

It began drizzling as we were taking pics outside, so we came in earlier than we expected. We saw that FLL has a similar problem with shops like LGA does, with only a Nathanís Hot Dog stand beyond security. In fact, they hardly have much BEFORE security at Terminal 4, with a large bar (that doesnít serve food) and a Sbarroís.

We went to Sbarroís and the cashier asked me how I was doing. I told her ďIíll be better when I get back to New York and donít have to pay $3.05 for a slice of pizza.Ē She found it funny, but I kept a stern face.

Once in security, I was asked to get onto a different line, I assumed to even out the crowd. But then I saw that Iíd be going through a ďpufferĒ, one of the exciting explosive material smelling machines!!!

Itís like a metal detector, only deeper and with closing and opening glass doors at the beginning and end. The lady told me to get inside, and that Iíd feel a little air be blown on me. Well I jumped when I felt how it was harder than I expected. My shirt came up a bit actually. Had to be funny for anyone watching. I waited about 15 seconds while it smelled me, and green lights lit up and the door opened. Yay for national security. 

Once we got into the terminal, we grabbed a seat at about 5:00pm. We then learned that our flight would be 50 minutes late, I assumed due to another airportís delays. So, I asked the gate agent why, and he told me that the plane coming from NY would be late. This made little sense to me, because all flights into LGA except for the last one into it (the one we were going to get on) and the first one out (the one we took down here) are A319s, and since we were waiting for an A321, I didnít get why weíd be waiting for an A321 to be arriving from New York.

Shortly thereafter, we were told that our flight would be departing at at least 7:45pm, due to high winds and ATC in New York. I checked LGAís ATIS, and it said wind was 9mph with no mention of gusts, not to mention clear skies. So, I felt I was being lied to, and I began to get angry.

Then we were told that we were delayed until 8:30, blaming ATC in NY, and saying that it WAS NOT due to wind. Also, that our plane was not here yet because itís coming from DTW and due to the rain we had earlier, that it had to divert to PBI for fuel.

One plus is that the plane that showed was Airbus A321 N586NKÖ.the only one in the fleet with the older white scheme from the MD-80s. Iíve been a big fan of this plane for a long time, and I got to fly on her! 

We finally boarded at 8:35pm, and took-off at 9:22pm. Our pre-flight drink was just served water, with no option like our previous flight, but I assume thatís because we were late and in a rush.

Once in the air, we didnít get any attention from the F/A for a full 40 minutes. Why did I pay extra for business class? IN FACT, the people in coach were tended to before we were. At this point, my overall feeling on the flight became very negative, moreso than the 3-hour delay.

The cabin lights still seemed pretty bright, and it made it tough to rest and maybe get some sleep.

I ordered a Beringer Cabernet and a ďfiesta packĒ, which consisted of tortilla chips, nacho cheese and salsa. The portions of the three were VERY fair actually, and quite tasty.

We finally landed at midnight, and it took us 40 minutes to get our bags at the claim, too (that priority bag tag apparently meant NOTHING). We grabbed a cab and we were home by 1:00am.

I rate this flight a 3.

Overall, I think Spirit is decent. Their service has potential and some of their employees were friendly. But ultimately, I was displeased with the business class service on the way home. I also felt I was being fed bull by staff at the terminal during the delays. Spirit offers passengers some good prices and deals, but the experience is nothing to write home about.

I'll make another post later talking about the spotting/photography side of it all.


2006-10-14, 12:51 AM
Just to add a few things to Phil's report, without being too redundant:

Security was much smoother than I anticipated, though I was not sure what to expect when it came to the liquids and gels rule and what sort of discrepancy in rules there might be. As it turned out, there was a "pre-screening" for liquids/gels before they even checked my boarding pass and ID. With me I had a small lotion, contact drops and some lipglosses (along with umpteem chapsticks, which I learned don't count). The TSA agent inspected my items and just instructed me to send them through security seperately. Lines were non-existant and I had no problems at all (I'm usually the one who gets pulled aside for 2nd screening no matter WHAT, but I guess I got lucky this trip!).

We headed to Hudson News and picked up several magazines and after locating our gate and checking out an ATA 738 out the window (it was still dark) went to Au Bon Pain to get "breakfast." They wouldn't even toast my bagel, which at 5:15am, didn't make me very happy.

Spirit Plus was well worth it, and on this particular flight, they were very accomodating. Phil pretty much summed up the flight, so I'll try not to repeat anything. I did think that while the seats were obviously bigger in size and width, the legroom was a bit cramped, considering.


Departing was pretty fun.....off 4 and we whizzed by our house! The sun had just come up and I could literally see our front door right before we banked. The sky was beautiful and the moon was still out - I went a bit crazy with the camera and took way too many shots like this.


The F/A was very nice. At one point I asked him if I could "bother" him for a bloody mary (since just minutes before I declined a drink), and he told me that it wasn't a bother. He later joked with me about when else I was going to bother him. The bloody mary was very good - Skyy Vodka and the "instant mixer" in a can.



The flight home was less than exciting as Phil explained. It was one delay after another....


The only thing that made me smile was learning that we were flying on N586NK!

My biggest pet peeve was seeing the people in coach class being served their refreshments not only before we received ours, but before we were even acknowledged! The cabin lighting was another annoyance, as I am accustomed to this being dimmed or shut off on night flights, though it was extremely bright and offensive. I could not rest at all. Overall, it wasn't a bad trip...I'm very glad we upgraded and would definitely do so again.

2006-10-14, 09:16 AM
We then realized why LGA’s Central Terminal Building is less than adequate. The shops are so small, it gets packed with people even when there are only a few in there.

Perhaps someone should read my editorials more often! hehe :wink:

Phil and Mel from your experience it sounds like Spirit has some operational issues to contend with, but its cool to try new airlines to see what they offer. However based on your trip report I think I'll stick to the three airlines I use most often, AA, WN, and US. No blankets in biz class is just plain stupid and waiting 40 mins for the FA to begin service on a 2 hour flight in biz class shows you Spirit is selling only real-estate and no real biz class level of service.

One of the problems with Spirit and this is going to catch up to them soon is their lack of equipment, they were in a rush to dump the MD-80s now when one plane goes MX it really screws their dispatch abilities.

USAF Pilot 07
2006-10-14, 11:04 AM
Nice trip report! I've never flown Spirit, but have always wanted to try them out. If the price was right I probably would, but all things being equal, I would probably stick to the "legacy" carriers, especially if I was flying up front. The first class service in CO and UA is actually really nice (and they have blankets ;)).
So was the extra $45 worth it to upgrade? Was the seat width/legroom a noticeable difference?

2006-10-14, 12:50 PM
I think the legroom and space is always worth it for under $50 extra. Just the ability to change positions while sitting there makes for extra comfort.

Art at ISP
2006-10-14, 01:00 PM
Phil and Mel,

First of all welcome home.

The CEO and VP Marketing of Spirit are good friends of mine--would you like me to share your comments with them? If so I would be happy to do so.

My problem with so called LCC's is that if there are problems you have no choices as you are restricted to staying with them--they have no interline agreements at all.

Again welcome home and let me know if you'd like me to share.


hiss srq
2006-10-14, 01:35 PM
I noticed flight attendants are not the nicest me and the ex did San Juan-Orlando last summer a few times on the 321's and each time we had delays of 2 hours or worse and another time it was dispatched as a 321 and a 319 showed up so they have some defineate operational issues going on within. FLL was a mess the one time I used them from there to TPA