Rookie Mistakes: The Vacation Series

I should know better. I’m not a rookie. This wasn’t my first time flying Spirit. This wasn’t my first time flying with children. This wasn’t the first time that I over packed. Yet, there I was, six a.m. last Friday morning, checking in my luggage, watching as the scale read forty seven and a half pounds for one bag, fifty-two for the other. In case your wondering, the limit for checked bags is forty pounds. It’s one thing when one of your bags exceeds the weight limit, they’ll let you tear apart your baggage on the floor and transfer clothes from one bag to the other. Been there, done that, more than once. But when both your bags are overweight and your carry-ons are packed, well, you’re screwed.   Nineteen and a half pounds cost me fifty dollars! Fifty dollars!   I could have prepaid for a third bag and it would have cost me eighteen dollars.  So much for discount airlines.

In my defense, I was pretty sick leading up to our day of departure. Sick for most of the trip.  I am still, not completely better.   Yet, I should have remembered to weigh the bags! Always weigh your bags!  Or else, the day before you’re due to fly home, when you should be at the beach, you’ll find yourself at Wal-Mart looking for the cheapest duffel bag you can find so that you can pay eighteen dollars to check a third bag, not fifty to check-in two overstuffed ones.

Second mistake (well, it was half a mistake since it only happened on the return flight), not prepaying for our seats. It is ridiculous that I must pay for my ticket, pay for my luggage, (I mean really, is it even possible to travel without luggage?) and then pay for a specific seat or else risk having my family peppered throughout the plane. If I buy five tickets at the same time, shouldn’t those five tickets be together? I didn’t decide to take the flight the night before. I bought tickets when there were still plenty of seats, before Spirit ran their nine dollar special that I missed out on by one day. Yes, I really could have flown all five us back and forth to Florida for $272 had I waited one more day for a red light special. But, I didn’t wait, because there are no guarantees that they will run a nine dollar special and even less of a guarantee that I would book fast enough to get that deal. But this time, I could have gotten that deal. However, when I tried to call the airline to change to the nine dollar tickets, they happily obliged me and informed me that my new total would be over a thousand dollars.  It’s one hundred and fifty dollars to make a change to your ticket.  I told them to just keep the reservation the way it was.

So, on the flight home, they had my husband, my three young children and me scattered throughout the plane. It was a “full flight”, the woman at check-in told us. She then advised me that when I got to the gate, I was to go straight to the counter to find out if there was anything that could be done. Turns out there wasn’t much. They managed to seat me and the little lady together, four rows in front of my two boys, who are seven and five, and three rows behind my husband, who was, get this, seated by himself. Are you kidding me? Let’s just forget about the whole why did he get to sit by himself thing which is annoying in and of itself, and get back to the fact that my two young sons, one with a life threatening food allergy, were left to hang out by themselves in the last row of the plane. Who was watching them? Who was going to secure their air masks in the event of an emergency? Who was going to help usher them out in an event of an evacuation? The stranger sitting next to them? He had his own family across the aisle to attend to. And while were on it, is it me or is it odd that they have the rows in threes? Are their an abundance of threesomes traveling. What happened to two and four? Or even two and three? Three just seems so odd to me, but I digress.

Thankfully, at the stewardess’s request, a man separated from his wife and sister-in-law to let my husband sit one row in front of the boys, but still, if you’ve been reading this blog, then you know my children. The last twenty minutes was pure hell for the poor bastard that got stuck next to them. I could hear them fighting four rows up and there was not a damn thing I could do about it. And don’t get me started on the guy next to me. I asked if he would mind switching seats with my husband (so the boys and him could sit three together), an aisle seat for an aisle seat, just a few rows up. I would have thought that it would have been a lucky score for him, especially at deplaning time, but no, he couldn’t do it, just couldn’t do it, he told me.  He wasn’t traveling alone, he was with his wife who was across the aisle, who get this, he never spoke one word to the WHOLE entire time!  Bastard!  He slept, he read, we made him get up a few times to use the restroom, he had to listen to little lady and I banter, her crying because she had to poop, he had to watch her choke on her gum, and yet he never, ever, even looked in his wife’s direction.  I know, he wasn’t obligated to move, whatever, but come on, do the right thing. And he didn’t pay for his seat either, or he would have been sitting next to his wife…I think.

So, why didn’t it happen on the way down, well, I have a little confession. After talking with some friends of ours, whose children had been separated from them on a plane, I decided that I would pony up the extra fifty dollars or so to ensure that we were all put together. However, when I went online to modify my reservation, I saw that Spirit, seeing that we were travelling with three children under seven, did the right thing and placed us five in a row in the back of the plane. So, I checked in online, printed out our boarding passes and we were good to go. I assumed the same would happen on the way back. Here’s where I made my mistake. I didn’t check in online. I didn’t have a printer at my parent’s condo and was too tired to walk to the clubhouse to use theirs, so, I reasoned, what’s the big deal?  We’ll just check in when we get there, we have to check our bags either way, so what’s the difference?  Here’s the difference.  They gave away our seats to the other cheapos who also didn’t want to pay for their seats, but got to the airport before us. So, what’s the moral of the story? If your traveling with three small children and are too cheap to pay for your seats, check in online a few days before, or else you’re at the mercy of your fellow travelers, and we all know how that can go.

By the way, in the picture above, the little lady looks like a seasoned traveler but she did not want to get on that plane.  Then, half way through the flight she told me she wanted to get off.  She wasn’t happy when I told her that wasn’t possible.  She spent the rest of the week reminding me that she was “not getting on that plane again,” and had to be forced on once again.  Between you and I, I was beginning to worry that she knew something I didn’t know.  Thankfully, she did not, and thankfully, she enjoyed the majority of the flight home, declaring happily at the end, “I like this car, mommy!”

Happy Weekend! Pictures to come.

One thought on “Rookie Mistakes: The Vacation Series

  1. I forgot to ask you about the luggage story. What happened to the good old days when you could stuff your luggage so full you had to sit on it to zipper it? What happened to the onboard meals (ok, they weren’t so great but then where’s the cheaper ticket for not feeding everyone).

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