Month: April 2015

Deal or no deal?

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Sometimes a good deal isn’t always a good deal. I found out the hard way on a recent trip to Georgia. I opted for an airline that would save me $30. Thirty dollars might not sound like a lot of money, but my family of seven drinks that much in milk very quickly. So, 30 bucks is 30 bucks.

I was checking in for my flight the night before and was surprised to find out I had to pay for a carry-on bag. It was actually cheaper to check my bag for $80. The airline also tried to have me pay an extra fee to select a seat. I’m not talking first-class. I’m talking a coach seat. I thought surely my original ticket price of $220 included a seat. Where did they plan to put me, on the wing? I couldn’t even bring myself to hit send on my computer and check-in. It was the principle of it all. I told my little girls, “Mommy is going to lay down. I just need a few minutes.” I decided to wait until my husband came home. He would make it all better.

At my husband’s suggestion, I did an online search for “hidden fees” for this airline. Turns out there were several. One site suggested the following: Print out your boarding pass at home. (It costs $10 to print at the airport.) Wear all your clothes layered on your body instead of packing a suitcase. They do not charge for this. (At the airport a carry-on costs $100 one-way!) The site also suggested ordering a cup of ice and waiting for it to melt because even water cost more money. There would be no peanuts, no soda, no nothing. It was all for real. So, I could pay $80 more (I refused to wear all my clothes), or I could cancel my ticket and pay $120 cancellation fee. My husband convinced me to still go.

It got worse and a little weird. The passengers boarded the plane and I noticed we were all in the last few rows of the airplane with the exception of maybe six passengers. Obviously they decided to pay a little more and pick their seat. That was dumb. We got to move once the plane took off. Ha! I took up a whole row. Oddly, the pilot told us we were all in the back of the plane to distribute the weight evenly for take-off. Hmm. The engines are in the middle, we were seated in back, and there were two pilots up front. I am not a physics major by any means, but I still have no idea how we took off. And what about the landing? Would we all need to rush to the front of the airplane and sit in the front rows?

At my layover I headed immediately to the first Starbucks I could find. (Another $5 to my already $300 tab.) Things just kept getting worse and costing me more money. On the way home, all passengers boarded and then we sat on the runway for almost two hours. The pilot said we were waiting for a one-page report to print and the printer was broke. He kept giving us updates and finally said, “You’d think they could just find another printer.” In the meantime the natives were getting restless. I was stuck in a window seat next to someone sleeping. Perfect. Of course I had a connecting flight that I would surely miss. And, no, they did not offer anything to drink for free to make up for the delay. On the positive side, the pilot said they would try to hold the plane in Dallas. If they couldn’t, we would be put up in a hotel overnight. (That meant without my luggage, toothbrush, etc. Fabulous.) By the time I got to Texas, I was tired. It turned out there was no need to hold the connecting flight because the flight crew didn’t bother to show up.

I was done. I called my husband and said, “I’m getting my money back.” He said, “You won’t get your money back. These things just happen.” I knew he was right so I said, “Fine. Then since I’m stuck here I’m going to get a margarita.” He thought that was a splendid idea. He knows me well. I stomped off to the nearest restaurant/bar.

While thoroughly enjoying my drink, that cost a fortune, (by this time I really did not care), I nearly missed my flight. Although it left really late, it wasn’t the time the customer service agent had announced. The surprises just kept coming.

I was relieved to have a humorous flight attendant. (I was afraid of the ones on the earlier flight.) I thought he had some really funny jokes, although it could have been the tequila. So, no more good deals for me for a while. I’ll just spend my $30 on milk next time and stay home.

Compliments of the Atchison Globe.

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