Recently I had a business trip to Las Vegas. It was to be a very quick, in on Wed, out on Thursday. Due to an extended meeting I had to change my return flight, that is when things started to unravel!
In changing my return, weather hit, and my flight was delayed, then cancelled. I was told there we NO OTHER flights out until Saturday… I thought, oh geez, I want to get home, so I started making calls and the only seat I could find was on spirit airlines. I have never flown them before, (and you can guess by the title, I will never fly them again!) I got a text at just after 3am that this flight had been delayed, so I reset my alarm and went back to sleep, I then continued to get text messages that the flight was delayed even further, but not saying why. I got out of bed at 530am and attempted to call Spirit Airlines….hmmm they say on their website they have 24/7 customer service NOT… I kept getting a recording saying I had a less than 1 min wait, and no one ever picked up. I finally hung up and proceeded to dress and pack. I then called them back after 8am and OH MY GOSH.. yes I got a real live person!
He was very kind, and courteous and asked me if I would like to get on an 11am flight, of course I snatched it up! I then hurried to the airport, and got to the gate,, it was cram packed, no seats. After about a 10 min stand, I finally saw a seat and grabbed it. a few moments later, now mind you, I am surrounded in the waiting area by several young men, all seated, and looking at their phones. A woman with a crying baby, just a few months old went up to a seat across from me and asked if it was taken, the woman said, yes my husband is sitting here. NOT ONE OF THE OTHER PEOPLE ATTEMPTED TO OFFER HER A SEAT. So I offered mine so she could feed her baby. The guy sitting next to me felt put out that now he had to sit next to a mother and child… I did not tell him off, but wanted to!
It came time to board, I waited for my group to be called, then proceeded to board the plane. I found my row and the first thing I noticed is how cramped it was attempting to slide to the window seat. The seats are so close together you cannot step into your seat, you must scoot. I sat down and realized even tho I am only 5’5″ my knees touched the seat in front of me! The next thing I noticed is just how darn hard the seats are. more like sitting on concrete than a cushioned(less) seat! The next thing I notice is there is no seat back pouch. there is simply two stretchy bands to hold the reading material. The next thing I notice is the seat in front of me is plastic and about 1″ thick with NO PADDING.. I was thinking to myself at this point, I am glad this is only a 4 hr flight…. I had no idea what the next 4 hours would be like at that point!
The plane was full, not one empty seat, my knees are touching the seat in front of me, the girl next to me cannot get comfortable either. We get up to cruising altitude and they announce refreshments will be coming thru. I just want water, and the gal next to me says, oh, you have to pay for water on this flight… WAIT.. WHAT???? I looked at her and asked if she was joking.. NOPE! so when they came by our seat, I asked, “do you offer any complimentary water” the stewardess looked at me and stated, “our water is $3.00” I was gobbsmacked! now, mind you.. I am stuck in a window seat, they charge for water, for seats, and yes for carry on baggage. the small computer bag I brought on was two overheads in front of my seat.. so there was no way I was going to be able to get up and get a “card” to charge 3 lousy bucks on. The stewardess finally offered a glass of ice, she probably saw the puzzled look on my face.. so I took my plastic cup with 5 ice cubes and thanked her.
Still in disbelief of what just took place, the gal next to me asked if this was the first time I have flown Spirit air, I shook my head yes and at the same time stated “AND LAST” I would rather walk than go thru this again! I then explained to her a few facts about airline travel.
You see, as I see it, Spirit Air could actually be putting people at risk of a DVT. read about it here DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS
I fly often, it is very important to stay hydrated for lots of reasons. It is a proven fact that people that sit for long periods of time, in cramped airplane seats, or a car, or train, are at a higher risk for DVT
When seated for long periods of time without moving, your blood tends to pool in the very deep veins in your legs, thighs and groin. Adding to this, dehydration and it could be a recipe for disaster. Airlines, in an attempt to make more profit on each flight, tend to cram seats closer and closer so there is no room to move. Couple this with the fact that on Spirit, there is NO CUSHION to the seat, and they charge for water, so if your not aware, or have never flown them, or don’t want to spend $3.00 on a .50 bottle of water, then you could be at risk for a DVT. THIS ARTICLE by stop the clot is very enlightening, even talking about what has been dubbed “Economy Class Syndrome”
Air Travel – Deep Vein Thrombosis & Pulmonary Embolism
Don’t let cramped conditions put you at risk of DVT. Keep your body moving – even when traveling by airplane. Take proper precautions to reduce the risk of “Economy Class Syndrome.”
When I am on long overseas flight, they actually come on the loud speakers and have everyone move their arms, legs, toes, neck. The encourage you to stand up and move around every hour or so and they constantly are offering beverages.
In closing: Some people may fly spirit because they think its cheap. Is it tho? I mean, you pay for your ticket, your checked luggage, your carry on luggage, your seat, your food, your water.. they may even charge for the restroom, I do not know, I stayed in my seat! By the time you pay for all of this, you actually are in about the same price range of other airlines that treat you more like a human being. I will NOT recommend Spirit to anyone, not so much because of all the costs, but the fact that they charge for water, something every person on every flight should have free access to for hydration. Of course they did not help themselves with the very uncomfortable seats, and the snarky attitude when I asked about complimentary water.. It was clear to me they have had lots of complaints and the staff are just tired of answering.
Not everyone can fly 1st class, however, you can find other airlines that will at least give you free water and have more cushion on their seats. If you are at a higher risk of DVT or PE, take seriously all precautions. At the very least, everyone should stay hydrated, move around, even if seated and get up and stretch if possible.