I arrived at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) Terminal 3 at 6:40AM for my 7:50AM scheduled flight to Ft. Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to visit a friend attending the University of Miami at Coral Gables for the weekend. Upon entering the terminal, I found myself directly in-front of Spirit's ticket counter with a line consisting of about 30 people, with 5 agents checking passengers in. The line moved constantly and I only waited about 10 minutes. Upon reaching the ticket counter, the friendly agent asked for my destination and ID. I chose a window seat and checked one bag. After about 2 minutes I was handed my boarding pass and informed that my flight would be departing on-time from gate L9 and that boarding would begin at 7:15AM. I thanked the agent and proceeded to the security checkpoint.
As I approached the security checkpoint, I noticed that the line was quite long and moving slowly. To my surprise, a very kind TSA agent informed me of another security checkpoint down by the American Airlines ticket counters that had no waiting, I gladly accepted his offer and was on my way down the terminal towards the American Airlines ticket counters and security checkpoint. The TSA agents working the security checkpoint were very friendly and explained the procedures. I placed all of my belongings into a container, placed them on the x-ray belt and stepped through the magnetometer. It was my lucky day, I didn't beep and (again to my surprise) was thanked by the TSA agent as I walked to the container with my belongings.
After passing security, I proceeded down the L Concourse towards gate L9. Spirit uses the Delta gates in the L Concourse as well as Delta performing their ground handling (baggage, De-Ice...). People had begun to gather at the gate, and I was satisfied that I had enough time to head to McDonald's and order a Big Breakfast with an orange juice. Upon returning to gate L9, I noticed a Delta 727 (ex Western) pulling into the gate at 7:15AM. Puzzled, I proceeded to look around for a Spirit Airlines agent, with no luck. Now, figuring that there had been a gate change while I was at McDonald's, I asked the very polite Delta agent about my flight to FLL and I was informed that the new gate would be L3. She then took the time to make a gate change announcement, even though she wasn't employed by Spirit. Way to go Delta customer service! I, along with about 20 other people proceeded down to L3, where pre-boarding (7:20AM) was beginning. While waiting for my row to be called, I finished my Big Breakfast, found my boarding pass and ID, and when rows 20 and higher were called, headed up to the door marked L3. I was notified that I was selected for additional security, again a pleasant experience with the TSA agent explaining what he was doing as he was doing it. He then escorted me to the door, thanked me, and off I was down the jetway.
As I boarded the aircraft I was greeted with a smile from the lead flight attendant and I made my way down the aisle to row 22, seat F. The seating arrangement is 2x3 and I was in the window seat on the 3 side. Being one of the last to board, I noticed that the flight was full, except for the middle seat, 22E. I sat down, buckled myself in and began to hope that nobody would sit in 22E. With luck on my side, that seat would remain empty for the flight. As I was waiting for push-back to begin, I noticed the de-ice truck spraying Glycol, the whole process lasted about 10 minutes, during which the flight crew came over the intercom and informed us of our flight time, 2:20, and the weather in Ft. Lauderdale. After about 10 more minutes of shuffling around by some fellow passengers, the flight attendants asked for the attention of those passengers sitting in the exit rows 20 and 21. The flight attendants gave a separate briefing to the passengers sitting in those rows, and then asked each passenger whether they were willing and able to assist the crew in the case of an emergency. Each passenger responded "yes" individually and upon the completion of this separate briefing, the general safety briefing began as push-back commenced. We taxied for about 15 minutes, where I found us number 1 for departure on runway 9L. Takeoff roll was about 45 seconds, with an immediate left turn on-course.
After departure, we climbed through the overcast layer (some bumps) up to our cruising altitude of 33'000ft. The flight attendants began their inflight service, which consisted of a drink and either pretzels or animal crackers. The flight was VERY bumpy the entire way, even causing the cabin crew to discontinue service. After about 2 hours, finally, word from the flight deck. They informed us that we were about 20 minutes out and would be in the gate in 25 minutes, a little behind schedule (no big deal). Descent over Eastern Florida, over the Everglades, with a very smooth landing on runway 9L using FULL reverse and brakes. Upon exiting the runway, taxi to gate H5 was about 5 minutes. I noticed a JetBlue A320, some USAirways A319's and various other airlines. As I exited the aircraft, I was again thanked for flying Spirit by the lead flight attendant as well as the Captain. I proceeded up the jetway to baggage claim, a very short walk actually. We waited about 10 minutes for our luggage, I called my ride, and I was on my way for a weekend of fun in the sun in South Florida.
All in all, I was very impressed with the whole experience. I have flown Spirit in the past, but this time was a definite improvement. I was very surprised how much better security was at O'Hare with TSA in control now, they were kind and courteous. The Spirit customer service agents could have handled the gate change a little better, but worse things have happened. The flight attendants were EXCELLENT, answering questions and talking with the passengers. I wish the flight crew would have kept the passengers up-to-date with the progress of the flight, but the only communication was on the descent, oh well. Leg room was more than adequate (I'm 5'7"), but it was definitely noticeable that the seat was worn, as the padding was minimal. I'm glad I didn't have to sit in that seat for more than 2:20. Overall, I would definitely fly Spirit again. The price was awesome and the service was right on track.
Hope you enjoyed, as this is my first Trip Report!!
Kearnet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 211 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (11 years 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5126 times:
From reading other trip reports, I'm under the impression that the customer service training the TSA agents recieve seems to be working, as I have yet to read any form of complaint about it (actually all feed back seems postitvie). I just hope this continues. But what shaocks me is thinking back on all the articles and news stories about the lack of customers service pre 9/11 I'm shocked that the Federal goverment has been the group to solve the problem (at least on the ground) post 9/11 (no easy task!) My hats are off to all the TSA agents who are making air travel friendly again.
I only hope I get to fly again before my "student/child of a employee" benefits run out, so I can experience this first hand.
USAFHummer From United States of America, joined May 2000, 10685 posts, RR: 53 Reply 3, posted (11 years 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 5042 times:
I had my first experience with the new TSA agents as well and I have to say I was very impressed with them...much better than the McDonalds rejects previously found at US airports...I actually had a sense of security in an airport for a change...
Great Report...I was down in FLL this weekend too (my US flight got in about 3 hours after your NK flight)...how did ya like the storm on Saturday
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
MrLineGuy From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 115 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (11 years 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4992 times:
Talk about a WET Saturday. I was having dinner at Mango's on South Beach when it began to rain, and it didn't stop. I had to walk to catch the bus, with streets completely flooded. We were soaked by the time we reached the bus. South Beach was awesome though!
ScottysAir From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (11 years 2 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4916 times:
This is really nice trip report and did very good flight on Spirit Airlines out of ORD-FLL. I did remembered were there into the L concourse in Chicago-O'Hare Airport. And for the TSA were getting much better at the checkpoint and made improved with the screening of passengers. I will have a warm welcome for you into FLL with sunshine of South Florida. If you go to see with the new terminal 1 with Continental/Northwest/America West/Jetblue into the C concourse, too. If you are come back to Chicago for Spirit Airlines into FLL. Hopefully, that you will have a great time with the your friends. Well, catch ya later!!
NiteRider30 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 150 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (11 years 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4795 times:
That's interesting about the flight attendants giving a separate briefing to the passengers in the exit rows. I don't think I've ever heard of that happening. It's a good touch though, I think I'd feel safer as a passenger knowing that the exit row passengers confirmed that they could assist in an emergency. Great trip report by the way.
MrLineGuy From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 115 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (11 years 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4663 times:
The plane was fitted with Spirit Plus, I'm not quite sure what the upgrade cost was (more than the $35 AirTran charges). The seats were leather, and looked to be new. Only 3 rows for a total of 12 seats, I thought they would have more. I'm not sure what the seat pitch was, but again AirTrans' business class appeared to be better IMO.