I wrote a trip report two days ago about my journey on YX from MKE to RSW. MKE-RSW On YX Non-Rev (by AirTran737 Mar 17 2006 in Trip Reports) This is the account of my return trip. First and foremost I want to say that the new terminal in RSW is simply gorgeous, it has so much room, and looks simply beautiful. Every airline has great looking ticket counters; there are a great deal of places to get food, coffee, gifts, and pretty much anything else that you could want.
Starting my return trip. First of all I should never have come down to RSW; it is the peak of spring break travel season. My first sign was that I received the last seat on YX when I came down, but I chose to ignore it, because dammit I deserve a break. I arrived in RSW on Thursday night, and went to the liquor store and bar immediately. My friend also came down from MSP; he had to jumpseat on NW. Lucky bastard had to sit on the flight deck of a 757-300; he said that it really isn’t that great of a plane to ride up front it. We met up at the place we were staying, had a few beers and then went to bed. On Friday we went to the beach, and let me tell you there were some smoking hot women down there. Being St. Patrick’s Day there was an abundance of alcohol flowing from every beach bar, and every cooler was full. We got decent sunburn, went home, took a nap and decided to find some night life in downtown Ft. Myers. I’m not going to lie, Ft. Myers is not a party town, but we still managed to find a couple decent spots.
Saturday we woke up and decided to go see the Twins and Devil Rays play a spring training game. It was my first time going to spring training, and when we left the ball park the Twins were beating the ever loving crap out of the Devil Rays. We went back to my friends house took a nap, and got ready to go back to RSW and try to find a way home. Every flight out of RSW was full on Sunday, and I was going to get pretty creative with my routing to get home. I have a strict policy against buying airline tickets, and was bound and determined to keep that policy intact. Before we went out Friday night I went to RSW and I booked my self for Sunday on FL, and it was going to be a long day home. I was slated to travel RSW-BWI-BOS on FL and then jump on YX from BOS to MKE. It was a hellatious routing, but you do what you have to do to get home. My preferred method of travel would have been the non-stop YX flight on Sunday night, but it was weight restricted to 130 of 147, and booked to 130, not good odds. We left the airport, and I still wasn’t comfortable with the routing I was going to have to take. I finally decided to buy a ticket on WN to IND, and I could jump on YX from IND to MKE, the YX flight had 12 open seats. So we went out, had a good time, met some new people, and came home. I had made up miy mind, and I was going to buy the ticket on WN, but I went to bed instead.
Saturday morning I woke up to my cell ringing. My buddy who we were staying with called to tell me that he was able to get me a pass on NK via a local agreement, and that the NK agent said that I’d have no problem making it on. I was thankful for this new option, because that meant that I would travel RSW to ORD and take the bus to MKE, a much simpler, and cheaper option. My only issue was that I had always sworn that I would never fly Spirit. The first time I had to deal with Spirit was when I worked for an F.B.O. a few years back, and a NK MD-80 diverted to GRR because the number two engine had literally ate itself, you could look all the way through the engine. It took Spirit over seven hours to get a representative from DTW to GRR to calm their passengers down, as well as get them a new aircraft. That is why I had a negative opinion of them.
Getting back to the original topic, my return flight home. I got to the airport at 1800 for an 1845 flight. I am a horrible non-rev and usually show up at the last minute, so being there 45 minutes before departure was pretty good for me. There were about five people ahead of me in line, but the line was moving unbelievably slowly, I looked at my watch to verify that I still had some time to make the flight. I got up to the front of the line, and was given a pleasant greeting. So far so good. The young lady couldn’t complete my check in, so she had me move to the next gentleman down. I was told by my friend that this was the gentleman that had issued the pass for me. He told me that there were still a few seats, and that B9 would be my departure gate. I thanked him for getting me home, and then proceeded to the gate.
Security was a breeze; I was in and out in five minutes. I usually never show my boarding pass when going through, but this time for some reason I did, thankfully there were no SSSS to hold me up. I got to gate B9 and they were boarding zones 1-5, I waited at the counter, and soon the gentleman who checked me in came and issued me a seat. I was given seat 23C, an aisle, my favorite. I looked out the window to see what type of plane we would be on for this evening’s flight. I was relieved to see that it was an MD-80. I have a pretty strict no Airbus policy, and was glad that my virtue would stay intact. I boarded my plane, and was greeted by two male flight attendants. I stowed my bag above row 11 and found my seat in row 23. It was a packed flight to say the least. There were quite a few spring breakers returning to ORD, and I was in the middle of their pack along with a little old red headed woman. I took a moment to look at my surroundings. I have to say that I am not at all impressed with the condition of NK’s MD-80’s. I know that they are retiring them soon, but these old girls could use some TLC. Maybe I’m just used to flying on the YX and DL MD-80’s and have gotten used to their condition, but this old girl needed some help. The aircraft was extremely hot inside because the A.P.U. wasn’t on yet, and it had that slight urine odor to it. “Oh well,” I told myself “at least it gets me close to home.” Soon we pushed back from the gate. Finally when both engines were started I noticed a change in cabin temperature.
The flight attendants began their in-flight briefing, and this is where I became annoyed, with not only Spirit, but all airlines in general. The man giving the briefing was a young Asian who hadn’t quite mastered the English language, I can’t stand t when a flight attendant doesn’t clearly speak English. There are a couple like that at FL as well, so don’t think that I’m picking on NK. We were number one in line for take off, and looking out the window I would see a Frontier A318 rotating for its trip back to DEN. We proceeded out to Rwy 24, and did a position and hold. After ten secondes of waiting we began our takeoff roll. It was a hot evening, and it took about forty seconds for us to get the mains airborne. We climbed out quickly and turned north, we had a great view of the Gulf of Mexico, and a great sunset. When we passed through 10,000ft I got my laptop out and watched Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. During the movie the crew began their beverage service, I was given a full can of Mountain Dew and no cup of ice. I’m a non-rev so I am not in a position to be complaining to the crew. What led to my further disappointment was the fact that there was no snack given to the passengers. This was a three and a half hour block time, and no snack? I was severely let down by this, but what can you do? I hope that they were out of catering supplies, and that normally they give their coach passengers a snack, but I’m sure that I will find out that this is just another “cost saving measure.”
Our routing for the evening was as follows JOCK LAL CTY J91 ATL J89 KURTZ VHP OKK
OKK1. We had an assigned altitude of 30,000ft with airspeed of 451kts. It took approximately 21 minutes from take off until we reached our cruising altitude. We maintained FL300 for approximately 2hrs 26 minutes and then began our descent. It took 42 minutes from the beginning of our descent to touchdown, quite a while. The landing was pretty smooth; we came in on Rwy14R, and taxied to Terminal 3. We parked at a Delta gate in the L concourse. I had always though that NK operated in and out of Terminal 5 in ORD, but I stand corrected. After we parked it took about 15 minutes for the passengers to deplane in front of me. Standing up felt so good. I had a fat lady in front of me kept trying to put her seat back during the whole flight and being 6’5” I wasn’t to keen on that. I had to dig my feet into the floor to keep her from crushing my legs, but eventually she gave up. Once I was off the plane I had twenty minutes to catch the train over to Terminal 5 so that I could catch the Wisconsin Coach back to MKE. I ran to the train and made it to the bus stop just as the bus arrived. I paid the $23.00 for the fare and climbed on. I tried to finish this report on the bus, but my battery was dying, so I am finishing it up at my apartment.
Overall I was not impressed with NK whatsoever. The aircraft was dilapidated, the lack of a snack is unacceptable, the flight attendant poor English is a safety concern and the overall quality of the airline was not very good. I will give good marks to the customer service agents in both ORD and RSW. The CSR’s gave quality service to all of their customers, and appeared to have a thorough knowledge of their jobs. I hope that Spirit works to improve their overall image. I’m sure that the Airbuses that they have are in good shape, but the MD-80’s are garbage, and will continue to earn them negative marks. Bottom line, as long as NK has MD-80’s and don't serve a snack in coach, I would not recommend flying on them unless you can guarantee an all Airbus trip.