What's Essential for Summer Vacation Travel – Toilets? Luggage? Grading the Airlines

Your latest travel news roundup includes a couple of “unusual” stories:

Spirit Airlines Says, You Don’t Need to Pack a Bag

The CEO of Spirit Airlines (you know Spirit, with their wacky fees and even wackier ads) says, bringing luggage on vacation is “not essential”.

I suppose that’s his way of saying his airline’s bag fees – up to $45 for a carryon – are not such a bad thing. He’s got a point: you don’t have to pay a dime if you don’t bring a bag at all!

Find Summer Vacation Flights (With or Without a Bag)

And yes, Spirit also charges for checked-bags, but they do not charge if you can squish a small bag under your seat. I don’t know about you, but I can barely fit my purse under there.

And say you do manage to stuff something in your “foot space” – what do you do with your feet?

Perfect for Clothing-Optional Vacations

Okay, so according to Spirit, a bag is “not essential” for vacation. Let’s see – I suppose that’s true if you’re planning to visit a NUDIST COLONY. Otherwise, you will probably need to bring a bathing suit, a tooth brush, a pair of jeans – you know, something. I would love to see what Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza packs when he goes on vacation. Who is he kidding?

By the way, Mr. Baldanza – somehow JetBlue and Southwest manage without charging a fee for a first checked-bag (for Southwest, make that two bags) – as you would know if you looked at our bag fee chart.

Grade: F

I suppose it could be worse; you could be sitting on a Spirit flight with your feet tucked under you (no other place for them), when suddenly you learn the lavatories are out of order. That actually happened this week on Air France.

Airline Turns Back as Onboard Toilets Fail

An Air France flight from Rio to Paris was almost 3-hours into the trip when the pilot decided to turn around and head back to Brazil because six of the plane’s lavatories were not functioning. Had the pilot kept going, it would have meant another 8-hours in the air – and a lot of uncomfortable passengers.

Find a Flight to Paris or Other Cities in Europe (Complete with Working Toilets)

Still a lot of those passengers were pretty angry, since this meant they lost nearly two days of travel all told, but I think the pilot did the right thing.

It would have been even better, though, had someone figured out the toilets weren’t working before take-off.

Grade: C-Minus

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Published: July 15, 2010