I do plan on telling y'all all about my vacation but first I want to tell you about the horror story of coming home so we can get that horror out of the way and enjoy the rest of the story.
When I booked my flight going to Orlando I booked Southwest because not only is that what I usually fly but I had a $100 voucher I needed to use from when a flight got delayed last year. I do love Southwest and don't think I have ever had a negative experience with them, and if I did their customer service has always been very gracious and helpful.
For my flight back home I choose to go Allegiant Air because they offered a straight flight for a good price...or so I thought. When booking I found out they charge for a few things that I found odd, such as choosing your seat, using a debit/credit cart *okie wonders if it is free to pay in blood*, and of course baggage fee for checked baggage which is standard for most airlines but their fees are higher. I was willing to give it a try for a direct flight home.
I flew out of Sanford, which is a very small airport, even by my Oklahoma standards. I found the Allegiant counter easy enough and thought it odd I had to walk through the ribbon line and make about 12 turns to get to the counter when there was NO ONE in line. Matter of fact the couple that walked behind me even commented about the insanity of the ribbon lines.
Once at the counter the attendant, or whatever she was called, was very hateful. Now I am from the south and a greeting consists of of smile and a "hello" or "how are you today" and her reaction to this was to give me a sigh and frown and say "are you checking a bag". I gave her my info and put my bag on the scale. The weight came up 47.5 pounds. It was at that point I realized you need to read information carefully because Allegiant weight is 40lbs max. She looked at me and said "You are going to have to do something about that or I have to charge you $50". I think my eyes bugged out of my head and I said "you gotta be kiddin me". She gave me a look of disgust that let me know she was not kidding. I moved out of the way o the counter and stuffed some of my clothing in my overnight bag and hoped it would work. She was nice enough to say "if you can get that thing down to 42 pounds I'll let it go through". I put my suitcase on the scale and it came up 42.5 pounds and after shaking her head and pursing her lips she said "that is close enough now move on". I think I mumbled "thank you" and I might have added the thought hateful bitch.
Grabbing my carry-on and overnight bag I got on the escalator where I headed to the next floor up to security. I will say the security people were very nice and I was able to get everything in bins, my shoes off and moved through their little x-ray with no problem. As I got my stuff out of the bins I went to put on my jacket...my jacket...where was my jacket? HOLY SUNS OF BEACHES! One of the officers looked down through the plate glass and as she asked what it looked like and when I told her she said "yep there it is". So of course they informed me that I would have to take my luggage down with me to get the jacket and then come back through security again. I rushed down and told the lady at the counter "that is my jacket" and she gave me a sneer and said "WELL I CAN'T TOUCH IT". I told her "I was just letting you know I was getting it" and she rolled her eyes. Back up the escalator I went, running through the ribbon like I was in the Olympics and wanting to cross the finish line so I could get a gold medal, grabbing bins, tossing of my shoes, emptying my bag and shoving the bin to the x-ray machine. I stood waiting for the officer to tell me to step through the x-ray when he smiled and said "hey, did you miss me so bad that you had to come through again?". He was tall, dark and rather good looking and had I not been in a rush I would have probably given in a flirtatious smile and a few comments but since I was running late I just said "oh sure you got jokes!" and we both laughed.
I took off, walking briskly, to the gate number that was on my boarding pass. I still wasn't sure how far the gate was but wanted to try and get a drink for the plane ride. Once I saw the gate I saw people standing in line for boarding! I looked at my watch and thought "this can't be right, we don't leave for another 45 minutes". Well sure enough the plane was boarded and were were all buckled in 30 minutes before our take off time. And yes, we were told to buckle in. I noticed two of the flight attendants smiled a lot but there was one old hag who wore tons of make up that never smiled and always used a hateful tone.
The seats are extremely small and the leg room is horrible, especially if you have a bag that has to be stowed under the seat in front of you. As you can see from the picture the padding is almost non-existent! The child in the picture had plenty of room but I am no small child, or small anything for that matter. I was certainly glad I paid the extra money to choose my seat and was on an aisle seat however the broad shouldered man next to me probably wasn't too glad since he was a big squished between me and the other gentleman sitting by the window. I was texting my daughter and posting on Facebook that I was going to die in this cracker box of an airplane. Now I will tell you that I am not a religious person but I am a very spiritual person and I believe in prayer and believe me when I say I was praying hard before it was even time to take off!
We continued to wait and there was a guy in the cockpit that reminded me of Sesame Street skits where they say "One of these thing is not like the other" and I wondered if there was a problem. This was probably about 15 minutes after our time for takeoff. I am not sure how long he was there but long enough for me to start asking people on Facebook to pray!
I would say it was about 40 minutes past takeoff time that he told us there was a problem with the computer and they were trying to get it fixed. At no time did they ask if anyone wanted another flight nor did the flight attendant come and ask if anyone needed anything.
Finally about an hour and a half after takeoff time we were ready to roll. My butt was already numb from sitting in the lawn chair seat for two hours and I was ready to get in the air so they would offer something to drink because I was thirsty by this point. We started doing the taxi down the runway thing when all the sudden the plane stopped. I just knew at this point the plane was going to burst into flames or a wheel was going to fall off. The pilot came on the intercom and said "ladies and gentlemen we had to stopped because there is turtle on the runway and they are trying to get him off there now". Being an animal lover I did not begrudge that turtle and I was glad the plane didn't flatten him. Peering out the window I saw a truck driving off and I guess they got the turtle because right after that we started going again and we were finally in the air!
After getting leveled off the flight attendants announced there was information in front of us that contained a price list for beverages and snacks. I figured it meant alcoholic but nope...even water would cost you $2 and they didn't take cash. I ended up paying $9 for a Diet Coke and a snack box that contained a little more than the equivalent of an Oscar Mayer Lunchable that cost $2 at the grocery store. Luckily I had chosen a book to read and was able to immerse myself in literature for the flight and escape the horror of the experience.
When we landed a flight attendant came on and stated "If you would please help us and adjust your seat belts back to their original length as we are immediately returning to Florida and will be flying with a full plane" and I said outloud to no one in particular "I'll gladly do that for a small fee of $35", a few people must have heard me since they chuckled and agreed. Once off the plane and entering the airport area I noticed there were people lined up looking more than perturbed and who can blame them because so far their flight was delayed at least an hour and a half at this point. It seems they don't get in a rush to unload the baggage either as I had to wait much longer than I ever had and I began to wonder if they sent our luggage to Bangladesh or some other absurd location since they didn't seem to be too concerned about anything else. I don't think I have ever seen people get so excited as when the conveyor belt started moving and I know it was because we were all wanting to get out of this group nightmare that had occurred over the last 6 hours.
After getting home I did a little Google search for reviews of Allegiant Air and I sure wish I would have done it before booking my flight as there were very, very, VERY few positive reviews and the majority said they were at least an hour late for takeoff. And with that I give you....
Okie's Top 10 Reasons To Fly Allegiant Air
1. You only take underwear on vacation
2. Paying outrageous baggage fees makes you feel good
3. You love rude flight attendants
4. You like being treated that even the act of breathing is annoying
5. You like arriving at your destination at least an hour late
6. You find sitting in lawn chairs for extended periods of time is stimulating and relaxing
7. You like paying $9 for the equivalent of a toddler's daycare snack
8. You have short legs
9. Dislocating your shoulders to avoid encroaching on the personal space of others gives you a personal thrill
10. All possible modes of transportation including, bicycles, scooters or skateboards are not available!