My journey to the Model 3 event: Not paying attention to airlines



I was unable to select seats for the return flight to Philadelphia from LAX when booking, but brushed it off. The adrenaline was still in full force after learning about being selected for the Model 3 unveiling event, and I was in a rush to secure the most affordable flights left. On the way there, my husband and I will be in the middle seats of two consecutive rows. At least we’re not too far back on the plane, as time will be limited between arrival and the start of the event. I hear folks in LA are always late, but that’s not how I roll. My plan is to step onto the Tesla property no later than 6:59pm.

Wednesday evening, I was pondering what to wear to the event. As I started mentally packing, I realized that for being in LA fewer than 48 hours, I’d need very little clothes. Shoes are the problem. One decent pair for the event and one comfortable pair for everything else would be needed. There’s no good way for a woman to get around packing a second pair of shoes. That is, unless she’s willing to wear heels through an airport. No thanks. Even just one carry-on plus our little under seat “trolley tote” will be plenty large for both of us to pack a second pair, despite the fact that a second pair of men’s shoes usually takes up at least 1/4 of the available space in the carry-on.

Thursday morning, I took to Google to see how I could go about selecting seats for our return flights. Spirit Airlines is who that flight is with. I navigated to their website not yet knowing what they were all about. Then it happened: I learned that Spirit is a no frills airline with zero unnecessary services: no drinks, snacks or free carry-on bags. They allow you to take on one personal item each. This personal item can be no larger than 16” x 14” x 12”. Carry-on bags cost $40 each! A checked bag a little less at $35. That assumes you purchase that option before you check in to the flight. Prices rise from there.

As soon as I got home I ran for the tape measure. My beloved trolley tote fits a generous amount of clothing. Whew, it just barely meets the size restrictions. That handles one of our free personal items. The other will need a bag with easy access to the bag o’ liquids, iPad, chapstick, earbuds and the like. Usually, a small tote bag works for this purpose, but now my husband and I are challenging ourselves to make our entire luggage needs fit within the confines of each having one small personal item, so a simple tote bag won’t do.

I went through our collection and found nothing else that worked. Anything that met the size limit was too small to reasonably add clothing to and did not take advantage of the generous 12″ thickness.

Apparently, I’m the last to know about Spirit Airlines. 2 minutes on told me there were plenty of luggage pieces marketed as fitting within their restrictions. Buying new luggage defeats the purpose of trying to save on bag fees. Adding a low quality piece to our collection is pointless as well. The next best option was a very low cost bag – $16 for a simple nylon tote – that took the best advantage of all three dimensions.

But marriage, in a nutshell, is explained by what happened next. I told my husband about the $16 bag during halftime of the Duke game. He said hang on and went to the garage. Our garage is well organized, as is the rest of our home, so I had no idea what he was getting at. It turns out, he recently brought home his fourth company logo bag since he started working there under a year ago: a small duffle. It was in the garage presumably because he was hiding it from me. That bag hadn’t yet made it into the house since being brought home because dear husband knew I’d complain that we didn’t need more “stuff.” Like most Americans, we have too much already. An entire closet is dedicated to luggage, and none of the duffle type bags in there have ever been used. But in this moment, tape measure in hand, I was pretty happy to see that duffle.

I guess I won’t be walking through the airport in heels after all. Besides, Spirit’s self processed “cozy” seats will likely hand me more than enough discomfort for one day.

See recent posts from Electric Jen.

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