This installment is Part Two of our adventure on Spirit Airlines. Perhaps “adventure” is not the correct word, but “nightmare” would certainly fit the description.
Wednesday, January 3rd
With smiles and stinky clothes, we hoped that Spirit would have it together, and we would be back to Dallas. We were wrong. When we arrived at the airport in Bogota again, we checked in with little problem and received our connecting flight information. We would fly to Fort Lauderdale, and we had plenty of time to go through security to get to our connecting flight. We waited. Plane was delayed until 1:00. We waited again. My daughter and I knew all the shops in the airport now. There is only so much you can do in an airport. We waited some more. Flight was delayed until 3:30. We had been at the airport since seven in the morning. Once again, Spirit never told us why the delays. Finally, we were ready to board the plane, which had been sitting at the same gate with our luggage since yesterday. However, we first had to board those dreaded buses and travel the long journey to the actual plane. Three buses pulled up to our plane, but the doors would not open. They left us on those buses without anywhere to sit for 45 minutes. Yes, 45 minutes. The few seats, at least on our bus, went to the mothers with the small children and the older passengers. We sat and stood and stared at the plane.
At one point, the captain came out of the airplane and started yelling to see what the problem was. He looked very agitated, and we applauded because at least it was something to entertain us. Finally, we were able to board the plane, and we found out that Spirit was waiting for a flight attendant, who was coming in from the 3:30 flight. The only reason we actually found out why the flight was delayed was because the flight attendant told us. When we asked him why the flight was delayed, he said, “It was because of me.” That was the first honest answer that we had received from anyone at Spirit. No one could be mad at him because he was the only one who was completely transparent about any delays. When we arrived in the States, I think some of the passengers started crying. Even the captain come on the microphone and commented that we were finally in the United States. The passengers applauded when the plane landed, and I think all the passengers were so hopeful that perhaps we would make our connections even though our flight was delayed eight hours. We did not have a chance at all. Like ants or more like zombies, all of us on that plane went through immigration. We had our passports stamped again. We waited for our luggage. We waited a long time. Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktock.
At this point, after our family finally picked up our luggage, we said our goodbyes with a shake of the head in the universal “unbelievable” sign to the rest of the passengers, and they shook their heads with the same response. They had their own own road to travel with Spirit, and I wished them good luck. Our family (Gabe, Anya, Michael, and myself) headed out to the next part of our journey: the connecting flight back to Dallas. We were so hopeful that we actually could make the flight back to Dallas until we hit security. Not a chance. After security, we raced to our gate to Dallas, and it closed right before when we got there. Spirit could not have waited five minutes, knowing that people (our family, as well as others) on that Colombian flight were trying to make that connection to Dallas. My guess was the flight was already sold out, and there probably were not any seats for us anyway. I would not put it past Spirit. We were devastated. We were still in our stinky clothes that were two days old, and it was late in the night, and we were exhausted. Our luggage was on that flight to Dallas. The thought of staying in another hotel in the same clothes again was just insane. I was worried about our luggage landing in Dallas without us and walking away without us. With buried heads, we headed back to the Spirit ticket counter.
Unfortunately, our flight came in right before a big storm in the north was about to slam into New York and all the surrounding areas, and the Spirit ticket area was filled with lots of angry Northerners. The endless lines of angry people looked like one of Dante’s circle of Hell, where those who can never get flights are forever punished trying to get flights. The whole atmosphere was filled with chaos and yelling. It was terrible, and I finally lost my cool. There was no way I was waiting in another long line again when Spirit had royally just screwed us over by closing that door to our Dallas flight with our luggage already on the flight. Yes, I lost my cool. I went up to one of the employees, who was directing the traffic of angry people, and told her what happened and asked for her to help us. Yes, there were tears. Sometimes, hysterics are appropriate. She moved us to the front of the line. We were placed on flights not to Dallas, but to Charlotte and then to Dallas. Those flights were tomorrow, and they were on American. What was really irritating was that they did not place us on flight to directly to Dallas. We had to fly to Charlotte first and then to Dallas. Ridiculous. They gave us hotel vouchers again. Thank God that Gabe’s father lived in Fort Lauderdale. His family took us in around midnight, and they gave us pajamas. We showered, washed our clothes, and ate the best arepas I have ever had. I also had some whiskey, which was much needed. We had to wake up at four in the morning to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Charlotte. At least, we did not stink.
Part Three/The Conclusion will appear in the next installment. It will be a happy ending.