One glorious day a few weeks ago, the airline Gods took favor upon me and gave me a half price ticket from Atlanta to Montana. Flying across the country can do a number on the travel budget and this discount made my heart beat a little faster. Even my flight times were convenient for my drop off and pick up people. No Atlanta rush hour to sit in or sunrise airport drop offs to be had. It was now or never and I needed to scoop up this deal while I had it. Sometimes we need a little Carpe Diem in our lives and this was my moment.
Yes, I had to fly Frontier, a budget airline, on the way out west, but it really wasn’t bad. Honestly, flying on a budget airline was a nice reminder of needs vs. wants. Do I want to fly my beloved atlanta based Delta all the time and rack up some sky miles? Absolutely. Do I need to fly delta? No. When it’s a $300 difference it was an easy choice to make.
Here’s how frontier rolls, you pick and choose what you want and if you want to pay for it. Think Titanic and social classes on this one. Want to secure the seat of your choosing? There’s a fee ranging from a few bucks to more than a few bucks depending on legroom and front vs back. You can skip this fee altogether and wait to get on the plane and get a seat assigned to you at the gate. Let’s be honest, we all want first class seats, but that’s just not going to happen. What you need is a seat on a plane getting you from point A to point B. What we want is a seat with extra legroom and not in the middle of the row. If you’re picky, pay the fee and pick your spot.
Then there’s the whole, they only give you water thing. News flash! Flying leaves you dehydrated and you need extra water. You are also welcome to bring a water bottle to the airport and fill it up once you’ve cleared security. You need water, You want a soda. Besides, they only give you 4 ounces of soda to drink and it’s just all around dumb. If you really want those 4 ounces you can pay for it. I’ll stick to my free water. Just like the soda, Frontier doesn’t do snacks on short flights unless you want to buy some. Unlike liquids and spreadable substances (Learned that the hard way), you can bring all the food you want. Bring a whole picnic if you’d like. I packed a few snacks for my day of travel and was good to go. Besides, most of the snacks offered are junk food and I preferred to stick to my healthier options.
While some airlines offer movies and cable tv to entertain you. Budget airlines save money by not offering in-flight entertainment or wifi. I know this is shocking to some of you, but you don’t actually need movies and wifi while flying. You get enough of that on the ground, so take your flight time to chill and read a book. Those have been entertaining people for centuries! It’s also better for your brain.
A few years ago, the airlines decided we were pack rats and charged us for checked bags. More weight on a plane results in more fuel used and last time I check fuel was expensive. Most airlines require some bag fee of some sort or it’s just included in your ticket cost so you don’t really notice it. I’ll admit I wasn’t crazy about paying for a carry-on but after some research, I realized it was cheaper to check my bag compared to paying two carry-on fees (one per plane) and you get one personal bag for free. I took my 2-gallon Northface daypack with me. There was no fee for this bag as it fit under the seat. While I needed my suitcase for this trip, I could easily see myself fitting all I need into my backpack for a simple trip and avoiding all bag fees.
Each leg of my trip was all of 2 hours. I can sit and sip my water while I read my book for two hours. I don’t need 4 ounces of soda and a B list movie to keep me entertained. My layovers were just long enough to visit the restroom, walk around a bit and grab a bite to eat. In Austin, this meant I got to grab a texas taco from Salt Lick and this pretty much justified the whole trip for me.
If the question is would I fly Frontier or another budget airline again? Yes, I would. I’d rather go on a few trips versus one because of flight cost. I’m also saving for an international trip TBD and saving a few bucks here and there matters right now. Am I still loyal to my native land’s precious Delta Airlines? Absolutely, but when it’s a matter of $300 I have to temporarily part ways.
Maybe one day I will be able to just book a plane ticket regardless of price, but I don’t need that. I want it, but I don’t need it.
So for now, I’ll play the airline game of discount tickets and get to where I need to go without making my credit card wince with pain.