Fall 2017 Drawing for Email Subscribers

Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21 Inch Express Spinner Suiter
Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 21 Inch Express Spinner Suiter

I’m pleased to announce a third quarter give-away for my email subscribers in the USA and Canada. Thank you for following my travels and my writing! 

My Fall 2017 drawing will be for a Travelpro Platinum Magna 21 inch Spinner suitcase. Travelpro has a great reputation for making quality luggage, and I’ve chosen it because, hey, I bought this bag myself, and I’ve loved using it!

What do you need to do to enter?

Simply be an email subscriber to my blog: either via the bright green button below, or by clicking Follow Ann Via Email in the sidebar to the right.

WordPress Reader followers will not be included in this drawing. Why not? As I move towards earning money from my life and travel blog, the email following is an important metric for me.

Already an email subscriber? Great — then you don’t need to do anything :-), you’re entered.

I typically publish posts four times a month, so don’t worry, you won’t get over-emailed. Also, I will never sell or give away my email list, and of course, you may unsubscribe at any time.

When is the drawing?

Promotion ends Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. (Central Time (US & Canada)). I’ll conduct a random drawing and notify the winner via email within two weeks of the end of the drawing. Once I’ve heard back from the winner, have a mailing address, and have shipped the Travelpro spinner via Amazon, I’ll publish a blog post announcing the winner. If I do not hear back from the winner within a few days of my email, I will re-draw. See official contest rules for full information. Travelpro contest rules.


Click image to connect to the full set of rules .pdf

John Drew won the summer 2017 luggage drawing for email subscribers.
Terri Schrandt holding a Hartmann Herringbone Duffle
Terri won the spring 2017 luggage drawing.










Ann in Castolon in Big Bend National Park. Photograph, Jim Stevens

Thank you for visiting! 

I’m writing and traveling full-time now, and if you like my work, please subscribe to my blog via email.

Review: Flying Emirates Business Class through Dubai to Africa

Traveling from Houston, Texas, to Lusaka, Zambia, was the longest trip my family had ever taken. We review our Emirates Business Class flight from Houston through Dubai to Lusaka, Zambia.

Arab Emirates plane
We flew Emirates Business Class through Dubai, on the way to our safari in Zambia. Photograph, iStock Photos.

Traveling from Houston, Texas, to Lusaka, Zambia, was the longest trip my family had ever taken.

Regardless of which route we might choose, we would be in transit for around 36 – 40 hours, with the flight and layover times combined. My sister and I looked at flights and carriers for weeks before choosing our Emirates flight through Dubai to Lusaka. We had friends who had raved about their experience flying Emirates to Rome the previous year.

There was no way I was going regular economy on these long flights. Our initial plan was to purchase Premium Economy seats — probably either through British Airways or KLM, but we watched ticket prices, and continued to look at all flight classes.

We were lucky; after watching fares for about three weeks on all airlines, we saw the Emirates business class on this flight fall by $1K per ticket (fall 2016), and we went for it. It was an airfare sale just after Thanksgiving. At that point, it was about $1.2K more per ticket than Premium Economy on the other airlines we were considering, so right at $4K per ticket. Yes, it was still expensive. Business class is.

One way to look at this. If we’re flying for 36 hours, the additional cost per hour to have business class seats on Emirates was $33 per hour, per person, for the trip.

Emirates Business Class Houston to Dubai
On Emirates, both food and service in business class were outstanding. Photograph, Ann Fisher.

While the total travel time was similar to the other carriers we looked at (Delta, British Airways, KLM, Air France, to name a few), it was the only airline that would get us there is one stop, rather than two. We would fly to Dubai, have an overnight layover, and get on a plane for our six hour flight to Lusaka at 9:30 the next morning.

One of the airlines I looked at had a total trip time that was shorter, but we would arrive in Lusaka at 1:35 a.m.! Who wants to arrive at a strange airport in Africa in the middle of the night, I ask you?

Business class is always such a treat! Photograph, Carolyn Fisher.

I’ve flown business class on Delta, British Airways, and KLM to Europe in the last few years. Emirates is in a class by itself. Included in our Emirates Business Class fare: Roundtrip limo service from my home to the Houston airport, hotel rooms at Le Meridien at the Dubai Airport — plus dinner and breakfast, and car service.

While we all know that the price of these services comes nowhere near the difference between a Premium Economy and Business Class ticket, it’s not chump change either. Roundtrip car service in Houston: $250, with tips. Overnight at Le Meridien is not expensive, $110 per room. Fine dinner and breakfast, $70 per person. I’d say one person could expect the value to be in the neighborhood of $400-$500 if you were traveling alone.

On our flights between Houston and Dubai, our Boeing 777-300ER did have the new lay-flat seats. Between Dubai and Lusaka, they were angled.

Add lay-flat beds on the fifteen hour flight – Houston to Dubai (17 hours on the return flight), then pitched-angle beds from Dubai to Lusaka, and only one airport stop instead of two, and we were pretty gosh-darned happy.

Note for those considering Emirates Business class: All Emirates Airbus A380 flights have lay flat seats in Business Class. Their Boeing 777-300ER have mixed equipment. Additionally, Emirates Boeing 777-300ER Business Class cabins are in a 2-3-2 configuration, which means there are three seats in the center. This is very poor design. I had the center seat, but since I knew my seat mates, it wasn’t so problematic to get out. Otherwise, I’d avoid that seat at all costs.

I dislike angled seats; I find them impossible to sleep in — so this is something to investigate if you have a flight leg on one of their Boeing 777-300ER planes. Check the flight equipment and call Emirates to be sure what to expect.

Emirates Business Class Food
Appetizer: Mezze — small plate of differently flavored hummus. Photograph, Ann Fisher.

The quality of service from every part of our experience with Emirates was outstanding. On the plane, business class service was comparable to my experience with British Airways and KLM, and a step up from my experience with Delta. It is in other ways that Emirates exceeds expectations: the limo service, hotel service, and small things like — rather than loading business and first class passengers first, they want you to relax in the lounge for as long as possible putting you onboard. There was still time for a glass of champagne!

Meal service on Emirates was very good. Better than business class on British Airways, KLM, or Delta? Um. I didn’t think so. About the same really.

The lamb dish I had on one of the dinners was particularly good — probably the best meal I’ve ever had in the air, otherwise, I thought the food was comparable. The soups were great, and my daughter was a big advocate of their desserts. The wines available were outstanding. Presentation of the food: appetizers, cheese plates, and desserts — outstanding. Entree presentation — not as appealing.

The I.C.E. entertainment system on Emirates was the most extensive I’ve ever seen. There were more than 2,500 movies and televisions shows to choose from, as well as a huge selection of games.

Emirates Business Class Bulgari Amenity package
The Emirates Business Class amenity package from Bulgari. Photograph, Ann Fisher.

Amenities package, you ask? Bulgari, thank you very much; one of the nicest I’ve seen. The sleeping mask and socks came in a separate package, so the cosmetic bag was full of Bulgari lotion, perfume, tissues, a nice makeup compact, full-size toothbrush with holder, and a comb-brush. None of this is that important to me — I do use the mask, socks, and toothbrush, but don’t care much about the other things — but I know for some people this is a meaningful perk. Sorry guys. I didn’t  get a look at the male version of amenities :-).

Overall, we were very pleased with our decision to fly with Emirates, and I would certainly do it again. I fly a combination of classes, from regular economy to first class, and I make the choice depending on length of flight and ticket costs. The way I look at super-long flights is this: I consider what I’d spend on a nice hotel, drinks, a good dinner and wine, lunches, breakfasts, and then I look at the cost of the base ticket, premium economy, and business class. And then I make decisions. On our trip to Africa, the 36 hour transit time could have been awful — and instead, my daughter, my sister, and I had fun — we didn’t dread the trip coming home.

Interior of Dubai Airport
The airport in Dubai is modern and well-organized, — very easy for Americans, Canadians, and Europeans to navigate. However, and this is a big problem: the airport has a poor track record of adequate helped for the disabled. Photograph, Ann Fisher.

Who Should Avoid Transit Through Dubai?

Many flights load from stairs on the tarmac at the Dubai airport.

People with mobility problems.

While many aspects of transit through Dubai were very easy, and I would certainly fly through this airport again, I wanted to note what I see as a big problem.

At the airport in Dubai, there is wheelchair service, but many flights load directly on the tarmac with steps. Our flights to and from Lusaka were like this. We saw one woman who’d had a wheelchair in the airport, go by foot on the bus out to the plane, and then climb the steps to board. I am not sure what they do for passengers who are not able to make this climb.

After doing further reading, it would seem that the airport in Dubai has a poor track record of working with passengers with disabilities, that there are often not enough wheelchairs for people who need them. Investigate further if this is a concern, either you, or someone in your party.

Dubai Airport exterior
Dubai Airport. Photograph, Shutterstock.

The Missed Connection

It happens. If you travel, every now and again, you’re going to miss your connecting flight, and yesterday, my number was up! A cheap airport hotel in Atlanta and a little travel humor :-).

Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport
Missed Connection and an Overnight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Photograph, iStock Photos.

It happens.

If you travel, every now and again, you’re going to miss your connecting flight, and yesterday, my number was up!

I was headed home from an anniversary party in Ohio, and the Delta flight to Atlanta was late arriving to the Akron-Canton airport. We were due to leave at 5:59 p.m., and I was at an itty-bitty concourse bar having a burger and a drink. The bartender knew about the delay first — we were set back to 7:00.

I looked at my watch, then my boarding pass. I was still good — I never fly through Atlanta with less than a two hour layover.

If you feel the need to join Team U*S*A, Drinking Division, here is their official t-shirt. I’m warning you though. If your silver-headed team mate from Detroit finds you, you may never get away!

The group at the bar was fine and companionable until an old woman walked up sporting a USA Drinking Team shirt. It was evident this team member had been training hard earlier in the day. Her speech was slurred and she was loud.

I finished my supper, paid my tab, and headed for the gate — the drunk’s voice seeming to go up another few decibels.

I felt sorry for the person who’d soon be shut up on a plane next to her. Thank god Team USA was heading to Detroit, not Atlanta, and her flight was on time.

When I took a seat at Gate 5, the Delta agent announced our flight time was pushed back to 7:42. That was it — we’d hit no-go. I wasn’t going to make the Houston flight.

Here’s where you have a decision point as a passenger. Re-book yourself now and find a hotel, or wait until you miss the connection and stand in line with everyone else to do the same thing — with fewer seat options. I chose now, no line, and an earlier bedtime. The Delta agent at Akron-Canton got me on a 8:00 a.m. Atlanta-to-Houston flight the next morning, and I got on Expedia to find a room near the Atlanta airport — figuring I’d see whether I could get a room credit from Delta the next day. One way or the other, I was not sleeping in the airport.

With this in mind, I looked at the options. There were everything from flea-bag motels, to Hyatt and Westin, to a Renaissance Hotel on the tarmac in Atlanta with mixed reviews and a high price tag. I went cheap/middle — the Red Lion for $104 — they had a restaurant, an airport shuttle, clean but basic rooms, and good reviews.

By the time our flight was finally wheels-up, it was after 8:00 p.m., and I was feeling self-satisfied about my decision.

I make it to my Atlanta Airport Red Lion hotel room — clean, very comfy bed, but thin walls, and my neighbor’s television is blaring. I settle in to do email and a little social media.

Blam, blam, blam — on my neighbor’s door. She is not pleased. “F*@k you, Tyrone! You go back to your room! I don’t wanna see your ugly f*@+**g face again tonight!”

It’s eleven o’clock. I sigh. Tyrone leaves.

I edit a few photographs, do a little writing, and finally turn off the light around midnight. Thirty minutes later, another loud knocking out in the hallway.

“I done tol’ you, I don’t wanna see your face again . . . go AWAY!”

I look at the clock and consider calling the desk. And I’m thinking, “F*@k you, Tyrone. GO to BED!”

Yeah, the $104 hotel was a mistake, but there’s no whining on Team Fisher.

That wake up call to make the 8:00 a.m. flight came mighty early, but I was on it.

Delta flight leaves Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Photograph, iStock Photos.
Delta flight leaves Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport. Photograph, iStock Photos.

Do Airlines Have to Pay for a Hotel If I Miss a Connecting Flight?

The answer to that question is NO.

I did get $100 credit for use on a future flight with Delta. When I called the following day, the agent put me on hold, researched the reason for the delay of my flight, and then issued the credit to my Delta Skymiles account.

Be aware that airlines are NOT REQUIRED to cover hotel expenses AT ALL, even when a delayed flight/missed connection is considered their company’s fault. 

D.O.T. (Department of Transportation): 

  • Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers waiting in the airport terminal.
  • There are no Federal requirements regarding these amenities or services.  If you are delayed, ask the airline staff if they will pay for meals or phone calls.  Some airlines may not offer amenities if bad weather or something else beyond the airline’s control causes the delay. — from the D.O.T. web site

You must refer to a specific airline’s contract for carriage (also called conditions of carriage) for accurate information concerning what that company will do in the event of a flight delay. Policies vary widely. Delta’s domestic contract for carriage is over fifty pages long. You might want to read your airline’s contract — so that you understand exactly what their policies are.

Links to Airline Contracts of Carriage
Alaska American
Air France Alitalia
British Airways  Delta
Frontier  JetBlue
Iberia  KLM
Luftansa  Qantas
Southwest  Spirit
United  Virgin Atlantic
Minute Suites in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.
Minute Suites in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. An option when you want to crash for a couple of hours.

Parting Thoughts

Stuck in the airport, but not long enough to get a hotel?

I did see an interesting option at the Atlanta airport on my way to Ohio called Minute Suites: The Traveler’s Retreat. At Minute Suites, you can rent a room with a daybed, a pillow, and a desk for as little as an hour. I was intrigued, and stopped to chat with the man at the desk. Currently, Minute Suites are only in three airports: Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Dallas-Fort Worth, but they are expanding to others.

This is not an inexpensive option, as you’ll see if you click through to the Minute Suites website (Minute Suites Pricing). The first hour will run you $42, and then another $10.50 for each fifteen minute increment. Eight hours? That’ll be $160, please.

My $104 overnight at the Red Lion, even with soundtrack by Tyrone and Friends, is looking like a bargain. After all, I did get about 5 hours of quiet sleep, once the ruckus was over :-).

But you know, when you’re dead tired, and you only have a couple of hours — a solid nap can be priceless . . .

Can You Travel If Your ID is Lost?

US Driver's License. Photograph, Hal Bergman - iStock Photos.
US Driver’s License. Photograph, Hal Bergman – iStock Photos.

Your wallet and identification are GONE, and you have a plane to catch. What are you going to do?

My cousin came to visit for a week, and was due to fly home yesterday afternoon. Before we left for an early lunch, Peter discovered that his wallet was missing — the last time we’d seen it was in a restaurant the day before.  After looking, re-checking, re-looking, calling AND visiting the restaurant, we knew the wallet was gone.

Replacing your credit cards and driver’s license is always a hassle — but if you are about to get on a plane, can you still travel? We weren’t sure . . . I didn’t know whether I’d have a house guest for another week while we waited for a replacement driver’s license to get here.

After making some calls, we discovered — if you are a American citizen traveling domestically within the United States, the answer is YES — if the TSA is able to confirm your identity.

Peter’s ticket was with Alaska Airlines, and they printed a boarding pass and checked his bag with only his confirmation code and his ability to answer several questions — but they would not guarantee that TSA would let him fly. We weren’t sure if we would have to go right back to the ticketing counter and cancel his flight.

black and white graphic of airport security checkpoint
Airport security is not fun even at its best. Be sure to bring your patience and best manners if you have lost your picture ID. Image by A-digit, iStock Photo.

If TSA cannot confirm your identity, you will not be allowed through security.

When we got to security, the TSA officer called her supervisor. Peter was passed through security after answering a series of questions and providing a magazine that was sent to his home address.

Things that the TSA asked us for yesterday:

  • Copy of driver’s license and/or passport
  • Prescription medications
  • Mail with your home address on it
  • an expired form of ID with home address

Getting through security took us an extra thirty minutes, so if this happens to you, plan for security to be much longer than normal. Depending on how busy the security checkpoint is, our wait could have been longer. Anticipate this. Be calm. Be polite. Be patient. Realize that they do not have to let you through, so this is not the time to turn into an entitled ass.

This is a great reminder for all of us to be sure to have copies of identification with us when we travel. I always keep a copy of my passport when I travel abroad — but I have to admit, I don’t do it here in the USA. Effective immediately, I’ll add copies of my driver’s license and passport to the list of things I travel with domestically.

This is a link to the TSA blog with their post on Traveling without an ID.

Photograph of US passport on a map.
If your passport is lost or stolen while you are traveling abroad — you will have to get it replaced to be able to travel. Photograph, Michael Quirk, iStock Photo.

Replacing Passports

If you are overseas, you will not be able to travel until you get your passport replaced. You’ll visit the local American embassy or consulate, and work through the process to get a new passport. When you read the following list of required documents, it’s easy to see that a copy of your passport should be number one on your list of things to pack.

“The following list identifies a number of documents/items you should take with you to the embassy/consulate. Even if you are unable to present all of the documents, the consular staff will do their best to assist you to replace your passport quickly.  Please provide:

For citizens of the United Kingdom, here is information for getting an emergency passport replacement.

For my Canadian readers, your emergency passport instructions are here. And Australian citizens will find passport replacement information here.

Last year, I went through replacing my lost passport. I was not traveling, but at home when I discovered my passport was missing — about ten days before my cruise on the Royal Clipper in the Caribbean. I was a panicked mess. The cruise was paid for — and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go. I had a very good experience with the service Rush My Passport; while it was expensive, that passport expediting service did exactly what they advertised. I followed their instructions, FedExed the required forms and materials to them, and I had my replacement passport within the advertised time. I hope NEVER to have to do it again, but it did work.

Peter’s lost wallet is a great opportunity for all of us to improve our travel habits. Be sure to store your passport in a secure place at home. When traveling, bring copies of your driver’s license and passport with you, keeping them separate from your main identification. It’s always smart to keep some cash and one credit card separate as well — because you know, you never know when it will be you.

Ann Cavitt Fisher in Castolon, Texas. Photograph, Jim Stevens.
At Castolon, in Big Bend National Park, Texas. Photograph, Jim Stevens.

About Ann

I grew up in Mississippi and New Orleans, have lived in both Seattle and Manhattan, and finally moved back to Texas in 1990’s.

I have a darling teenage daughter who heads off to university in the fall of 2017. I have been divorced and am now widowed. Finally, I am a colon cancer survivor.

I am now writing and traveling full time — what a wonderful thing!

This website is a forum for many things. I want to talk about life, in all of its rich, wonderful and terrifying forms. I want to share my travels, my thoughts on life, and my experiences as a woman and a mom. I want to talk about the nature of reality and the meaning of life, and to celebrate being alive.

Thanks for coming to visit!

I’m happy you’re here — For other articles on life and travel, browse the home page:



Winter Give-Away

20" Hartmann Herringbone Weekend Duffle
20″ Hartmann Herringbone Weekend Duffle

Thank you for a great first year!

On January 1, 2016, I completed my first full year blogging! As a thank you to all of my blog subscribers, I’m doing a Winter Give-Away drawing for a Hartmann Herringbone Duffle bag.

I chose something that I would enjoy having — beautiful luggage is a pleasure when traveling.

I will to do a random drawing and will contact the winner on February 28, 2017, to get shipping instructions. If I do not receive an email with shipping instructions within two weeks, I will re-draw for a winner. I’ll announce the winner once I have a return email notification.

What do you need to do to enter? Find the email subscription box on the sidebar or footer of my web site, and sign up. I don’t sell my email list, and I typically post articles two to four times a monthly, so you won’t get many email notifications from me.

Already a subscriber — either via email or the WordPress Reader? Then you’re entered already.

There is only one entry per subscriber. If you are a WordPress Reader subscriber, you will need a contact form on your web site so that I can notify you if you win.

To view all Give-Away rules and legal language view the image below:

Hartmann Duffle Give-Away rules - click to enlarge.
Hartmann Duffle Give-Away rules – click to enlarge.


Thank you for visiting — for other articles on life and travel, browse the home page:


The Truth about Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines Airbus A321
Spirit Airlines. Photograph from 123RF stock photos.

There are things you should know before booking a flight with Spirit Airlines.

So, you need to book a flight, and you want to know how it is to fly with Spirit Airlines.

I’ve taken my first Spirit Airlines trip, and it was an experience.

There’s a lot not to like about Spirit. Who is Spirit Airlines? If Spirit were a person, its personality would be a lot like Ben Baldanza, who was CEO of the airline until January 2016. He had quite an attitude and was was very in your face. Basically, if you don’t like it the way we do business, well, f*@#k you. It will be interesting to see whether  the new CEO, Robert Fornaro, brings a different outlook to the company.

Spirit airline customer
Who is the Spirit customer? Young and hip, older with limited income — they serve a wide range of people. Photograph, Ann Fisher

Spirit glories in its reputation for cheap, you pay for everything way of doing business.

I’ll tell you a little secret — their target market doesn’t care. Or more accurately, it won’t stop them from flying Spirit.

Who is their target market? On my flight to New Orleans, I saw a lot of young, über-hip fliers. There was a delightful, young couple with their baby who sat next to me. Baby Annabelle and her parents were headed for spur of the moment weekend get-away in NOLA. I saw working class middle-agers. And I saw the elderly. In other words, Spirit serves a lot of people who probably couldn’t afford to fly on regular carriers. At least not very often.

It’s important to have low cost airlines in the transportation mix. Years ago, Southwest Airlines played this role. There used to be something called the Southwest effect, described by Vinay Bhaskara as “when low cost Southwest Airlines entered a market, fares tended to drop and market volume tended to increase.” This isn’t the case anymore. Increasingly, Southwest Airlines charges as much as all of the other carriers. There is a place for Spirit in the air market.

To offer the incredibly cheap fares they advertise, Spirit’s services are completely unbundled. And that means you pay for everything separately. EVERYTHING.

Spirit airlines sign $100 carry on bag policy
Thought you’d avoid bag charges by taking yours onboard? Man, you are SCREWED.

If you’ve never flown on Spirit before, I warn you — read carefully about the extra charges. Carry-on luggage? If it doesn’t fit under the seat in front of you, you will pay for it. If you pay when you buy your ticket, it’s not too bad. The longer you wait to buy the bags, the more it’s going to cost you.

And if you think you’ll somehow avoid paying these fees and try to board the airline with your suitcase — well, that will be $100, please.

So what are the bag fees? You’ll find an example from a flight from Houston to New Orleans below.

But hey, it also means that if you just want to fly somewhere without luggage, you have a very cheap flight.

Oh, and they charge for everything else, too. Want a counter representative to print your boarding pass? $10. Would you like a snack? How about some mixed nuts . . . $4, please. Like a cocktail? Have two and save 3 bucks. Want to pick your seat? Pony up. One of the larger seats in the front? Oh, big spender, you are speaking my language. Want to reschedule your flight? Okay, bend over now; and if you want lube for that, you guessed it — that will be EXTRA.

Personally, I didn’t have a problem with the charges. I knew about them; I thought the website was very clear about what to expect, and I had no surprises. I booked the flight three days out, and Spirit, even with the extra charges, was less than half the price of the other airlines.

Example of Spirit Airlines extra charges.
Example of Spirit Airlines bag charges.
Spirit's menu
Spirit’s refreshment menu. Photograph, Ann Fisher.

I find Spirit’s graphic design and ad choices fun. Perfect for the cheap and cheesy way the company does things. But, um . . . they stole them.

It’s a great advertising story from 2015. When Scoot Airlines (Asian market) realized that Spirit’s new graphics and branding brazenly copied theirs, they turned it into a media campaign of their own.

Highly entertaining marketing and public relations slap! Spirit remains impervious to the criticism . . . remember this is the company that posts “State of the Hate” videos.

Scoot Airlines CEO calls out Spirit Airlines for copying their branding.
Scoot Airlines CEO calls out Spirit Airlines for copying their branding. Scoot turned it into an advertising coup, making fun of the theft. Link to the Saatchi site to watch the video.
Cheap, cheap Spirit airlines seat.
Spirit Airlines seat. The “tray” looks like a pocket notebook. Hey, and don’t even think about storing anything in the seat back “pocket”.

Next up is seat comfort. This is the cheapest looking and feeling seat I have ever seen. Tightest legroom imaginable and the seats do not recline. Spirit sold this idea by telling you that it’s “pre-reclined.” I like it. They can spin anything. I’m not a tall person, so handling this for a short flight isn’t a problem. If you are tall, please look at the picture of the hip young man above. There is no room for long legs.

Spirit Airlines Biggest Problem?

If you care about getting somewhere on time, you don’t want to risk flying Spirit.

According to Fortune magazine, Spirit Airline’s rating shows they have the worst on-time performance record of any airline in the country. Only 49.9% of their flights arrive on time. My experience is right in line with that — on time to New Orleans, 45 minutes late back to Houston.

If you are making a multi-leg trip where making connections is key, hhmmm. Flying Spirit is not a great idea, because there is a high probability you could miss your connecting flight.

In his blog, View from the Wing, Gary Leff puts it this way, “The biggest issue is that they [Spirit] don’t have a big, redundant route network. That’s at the heart of their business model, it’s how they make money. But it also makes them less reliable . . . When a flight cancels or faces a significant delay there aren’t a lot of alternate ways to get you to your destination.” It’s not surprising that Fortune magazine also reports that Spirit Airlines has the most complaints of any airline in the U.S..

Did I enjoy flying Spirit? No, not really, but it wasn’t bad either. Would I fly Spirit again? Yes. But only a direct flight to places where an on time arrival isn’t a big deal.

Let’s put it this way. I won’t be getting rid of my Delta Skymiles American Express card anytime in the near future.

By the way, the Fortune article listed Delta Airlines as having an over 82% on-time record.

Update: Overweight Bag Charges

I flew Spirit in December 2016 — a cheap flight from Orlando to Houston, even with paying for a checked bag.

One thing I did NOT realize: Spirit has a 40 lb. limit on their checked bags! All other domestic carriers in the USA have 50 lb. limit. So, if you are thinking you will carry a larger suitcase and not take a carry-on, which Spirit charges for, think again.

This caught me unawares. I always pay attention to my bag weight. My suitcase is a standard checked-bag size — not over-sized, and I never have a problem going over 50 lbs. — but it never occurred to me that Spirit had a lower weight limit (okay, it should have occurred to me, but it didn’t). My bag weighed 42 lbs. – so, that will be an extra $30 please — Cha-ching! Just another thing to be aware of and to plan for if you plan to fly Spirit.

Spirit Airlines: Overweight Bag Charges
41 – 50 lbs. (18 – 23 kg) + $30
51 – 70 lbs. (23 – 32 kg) + $55
71 – 100 lbs. (32 – 45 kg) + $100
63-80 linear inches (158-203 cm) + $100
Special items over 80 linear inches (203 cm) + $150

Another note on my December trip: the flights were on time, and at the Houston airport, Spirit had added an additional employee at the ticket counter to assist passengers with the self-service kiosks. Customer service at the counters on both ends seems to have improved from my first experience last March.

My take-away again: If you are going to fly Spirit, do your homework. Be VERY aware of their extra charges for everything. Be wary of planning trips with connecting flights, since Spirit’s on-time record is the worst in the industry.

April 2017 Update: Spirit Airlines is Shrinking the Size of Personal Items Allowed Onboard. Yes, that’s right — pony up, big boy. You’ll be paying more for bringing things onboard. Read the Travel and Leisure article for full details: Your Baggage Allowance on Spirit Airlines is Smaller


Ann Cavitt Fisher in Castolon, Texas. Photograph, Jim Stevens.
At Castolon, in Big Bend National Park, Texas. Photograph, Jim Stevens.

About Ann

I grew up in Mississippi and New Orleans, have lived in both Seattle and Manhattan, and finally moved back to Texas in 1990’s.

I have a darling teenage daughter who heads off to university in the fall of 2017. I have been divorced and am now widowed. Finally, I am a colon cancer survivor.

I am now writing and traveling full time — what a wonderful thing!

This website is a forum for many things. I want to talk about life, in all of its rich, wonderful and terrifying forms. I want to share my travels, my thoughts on life, and my experiences as a woman and a mom. I want to talk about the nature of reality and the meaning of life, and to celebrate being alive.

Thank you for visiting! 

I’m writing and traveling full-time now, and if you like my work, please subscribe to my blog via email.

I’m happy you’re here — for other articles on life and travel, browse the home page:


Other articles on Spirit Airlines

Bhaskara, Vinay. “Has “The Spirit Effect” Replaced ” The Southwest Effect?” – Airchive.” Airchive. N.p., 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

Chew, Jonathan. “These Airlines Finished Last in the Latest On-time List.” Fortune These Airlines Finished Last in the Latest Ontime List Comments. 11 Aug. 2015. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

Elliott, Christopher. “A Tale of Two Airlines.” National Geographic Travel. Jan. 2013. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.

Leff, Gary. “Why I Won’t Fly Spirit Airlines – View from the Wing.” View from the Wing. 12 July 2015. Web. 18 Apr. 2016.