I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been traveling for work and fun. The fun travel was a quick trip home for 4th of July festivities. I few from Dallas to Boston direct on Spirit Airlines’ redeye and when I flew home JetBlue was my airline of choice. As someone who travels a fair amount I wanted to share my impressions of these discount carriers. I wanted to give you some useful information so that you can make an informed decision the next time you fly. Let’s dive right in:
I’ve flown Spirit twice now because they have a red eye (leaving at 1:30 am) flight direct to Boston that remains very cheap even if you book last minute. The best way to describe Spirit is that you get what you pay for. The fair is low but it’s no frills and everything is an extra charge. Carry on luggage, anything bigger then a backpack or laptop bag, is subject to a fee on top of the fee for checked luggage. Both times I’ve flown on Spirit it has been for a short trip so I was able to pack a backpack and avoid any carry on charges. Once you’re on the plane drinks or snacks are an extra charge because they don’t even give you the ‘one free soda’ like many other airlines. Like I said… no frills. The funny thing about Spirit is that they obviously purchased their plane for another airline because the seats have never been re-upholstered. I also took advantage of their offer to pay $50 for seat with more room. When you pay the extra charge you get to sit in the first row (the first class seats on the old owner’s plane) which gives you more leg room and a much larger seat. This is a dream for any chubby boy with beefy arms and shoulders like myself. I also have personal space issues so I don’t like being pressed arm to arm with a stranger. There may be a lot of extra charges but sitting comfortably is a major plus.
Almost everything about JetBlue is the total opposite of Spirit. JetBlue just started flying from Boston to Dallas and they have a fresh new terminal at Logan Airport. When I checked in at Logan to fly home I opted for their $45 extra room seat. After I printed my boarding pass I headed to security. Much to my surprise, paying for extra room also gave me the privilege to going through the VIP security line normally reserved for pilots and crew members. That’s a great bonus. Once I got on the new and modern plane each seat had it’s own personal tv monitor with 40 channels of free cable tv. Like I said before, it’s the opposite of Spirit. They even gave out the standard free soda. All was good except for one thing. I assumed when I paid for the upgrade I would get the same size seat as I did on Spirit. Not so. When you pay for an upgrade on JetBlue it only gives the benefit of more leg room. The actual size (width) of the seat is the same. Therefore for the next 4 hours I sat watching Bravo on my tv with my shoulders pulled in.
Everyone reading this may have a variety of different priorities when they travel so you can make up your own mind. I will also mention that both airlines were courteous while providing a smooth ride and JetBlue’s price was only $40-50 more then Spirit. The choice between the two really comes down to price and the little extras that can make a world of difference. For my part, Spirit has a slight lead only because they offer bigger seats so I can sit comfortably. If you’re skinnier or don’t mind a lack of elbow room then JetBlue is great option.