Traveling, post pandemic, is like a game of Russian roulette. You can never be quite sure of the outcome nor of what will happen at departure. There are surprises at every point.
When I booked a flight from LaGuardia to Fort Lauderdale, and then from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, and finally returning to NY, I was expecting the same type of accommodations that I’ve received in the past, that is since the travel ban was lifted, in 2021. But this turned out not to be the case, and I learned something new.
I’ve become somewhat adept at making this 3-way flight. Instead of booking round trip, I use the option for one way flights. When this is done for mid-week, non-holiday travels, the fares are incredibly reasonable. For example, my recent trip would cost slightly over $300 for all three flights.
However, when I realized that there would be an additional charge for baggage, and that I would need to check my bag before departure, the added expense made the cost of the trip less remarkable. In fact, I would be charged $75 per trip/ per bag, adding $225 to the fare. It seems that airlines have adopted this new policy in order to make up for lost time and revenue, during the pandemic. In other words, the amenities that were once included in your price, are now added to the trip. Additions include request for pillows, blankets, all forms of entertainment and of course, nourishment.
What I was not prepared for was an emergency visit to the hospital shortly after booking this trip. Fortunately, it turned out to be a curable condition that I was unaware I had. I was left feeling relieved but concerned about air travel. And so, being the ‘letter writer’ that I am, I decided to inform both JetBlue and Spirit of my condition, while mentioning that waiting for my baggage at my destinations would be difficult.
Within a matter of a few minutes, I received a phone call from JetBlue’s Customer Service exec, assuring me that carrying my bag on board will not be a problem at all, and that due to my circumstances, I will not be charged. This was followed by an email, confirming that notes were added to my ticket to inform the agent of this accommodation. My travel fears and forecasts had been put to rest.
Separately, Spirit Airlines also responded to my request. Their reaction to my situation was less than sympathetic. In fact, they informed me I would still be charged to check my bag and only if I booked the baggage on line would there be a slight compensation on pricing, as opposed to paying full price at the airport.
It appears that the Airline Wars are well underway, with some taking a lead over others. However instead of competing by offering special amenities, it seems they are now competing by charging as much as they can possibly get away with.
In retrospect, I would have preferred paying for baggage than going through the stress of my physical problem. However, in the form of a small ‘medal for bravery’, I received a reward from the friendly skies of JetBlue.