Hi & Welcome to this short series of flight-reports that would only contain two flights; the other one with American Airlines and this one with Spirit Airlines. Unfortunately, Spirit Airlines isn't preferred by most customers due to their ultra low-cost business model, but they provide decent service compared to the fare.
So, the routing for this trip would look like this;
These reports would be also posted in French, which could be found in the French section of this website.
As I was going to head to Los Angeles the weekend before Thanksgiving holiday fares were higher than usual for Friday evening departures and Saturday morning departures from IAD and DCA had similar prices to those flights on Friday evening so I have found a smart deal on Spirit Airlines which was fitting to my itinerary and still cheaper than the other airlines after adding the carry on fee and the exit row seat fee. While returning, I decided to fly American as I could use my oneworld privileges and the price difference between Spirit and American was less than $20.
Route Overview ( BWI-LAX )
3 airlines operate this route. These are Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. Spirit and United has only one flight every day and their schedules are similar as they both depart from BWI early in the morning and the they both only offer Red Eye flights on the way back. Southwest has several flights during the day but most of them has short layovers that includes a short wait inside an aircraft while new people are boarding, while others are leaving.
Pax for this flight
Whole aircraft: %65-70
Most of the middle seats were empty during this flight.
There were mostly young students studying in Maryland returning back home for the holiday week.
I have completed my online check-in 24 hours before departure. As I had already paid for my seat and my carry-on luggage, online check-in served me to save my boarding pass to my phone.
The evening before the flight an e-mail came from Spirit Airlines that BWI security checkpoint was crowded than usual during this period of time so they advised passengers to come to the airport earlier than usual.
Even though, I had already booked my train ticket from Washington Union Station to BWI Train Station so this mail didn't effect my arrival time to the airport.
The Northeast Regional takes 26 minutes to BWI from Washington Union Station. An interesting fact is that the train also stops at Newark Airport (EWR).
The train was comfortable and the seats were better than I expected.
The train also had a safety card
The train arrived to BWI train station on time, now it's turn to take the shuttle bus to the terminal
The shuttle bus runs every 10 minutes during peak hours and stops at each concourse at the terminal for a more convenient journey.
Spirit Airlines operates from concourse D. A quick note that concourses A-B-C are connected to each other, also as concourse D is connected to concourse E.
Even though I was in the regular line and liquids were separately inspected, the security checkpoint took 10 minutes to clear.
I had time after being passed the TSA checkpoint so I went to Concourse E ( International ) to take a shot. There were almost no-one at that time.
It's interesting that this concourse only serves 2 departures a day.
Now it's time for sharing the FIDS for concourse D
Our gate was close to the checkpoint so I took some shots of our aircraft at that time.
Then I had done a short walk to the other end of the concourse and came back.
Today's gate was gate D3 and there were enough seating areas around the gate. Also the gate was positioned across the mini art gallery at the concourse.
Some shots of our aircraft
While I was sitting in the gate area, this Delta 737 was pushing back for its flight.
And, this DL MD88 was parked at the gate getting ready for its flight to Atlanta
40 minutes before scheduled departure time boarding had started with group numbers being respected. I was one of the first ones to board the aircraft within Group 1. Families with small children were allowed to board the aircraft before anyone else. By the way, I had a small conversation with ground staff at the gate. They were polite and friendly towards passengers.
I was welcomed by the cabin crew while boarding the aircraft.
The seat was better than expected. Despite the legroom in the emergency exit row, the legroom in the regular seats were also decent for passengers.
The tray tables are installed inside the armrest and they are in the half size of a regular aircraft tray table
I don't like the windows on A319/A320 exit row seats because they usually have two many scratches and I also find them too blurry
We had pushed back on time and the safety demo was done manually by the cabin crew as Spirit Airlines aircraft doesn't have entertainment screens.
While heading to the runway, this Delta 737-900 was getting ready for his flight to Detroit as DL1737
Other part of Concourse D
Southwest 737-800 taking off
WN4624 to Oakland was just behind us at the runway line.
And another Southwest 737-700. BWI is one of the focus cities of Southwest Airlines.
And it's our time to take off. A JetBlue Embraer is visible at this time
Concourse A - serving Southwest
Here we go for a ride which would take 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Just after takeoff
And we are over the clouds
I can't name this section IFE this time because Spirit Airlines doesn't offer any IFE content including an inflight magazine. But they have a flyer promoting their credit card.
And, an inflight menu is present
At the rear page of the menu, a route map is present
Don't think I've forgotten the safety card, they provide one at each seat
I had a sleep during most of the flight and when I woke up we were flying over the Glen Canyon
I also had a visit to the restroom during this flight. Surprisingly, it was clean and the size was OK.
Mt San Antonio
West Covina, CA
East Los Angeles, CA
And more photos prior to landing
Just before landing
We're almost there
And we had arrived to Los Angeles 20 minutes before scheduled arrival time.
This LATAM 787-8 was waiting for his flight to Chile at the apron
All gates at TBIT were occupied so B-16703 was parked at a remote stand, preparing for its flight BR5 to Taipei
Such as this Copa 737-800 utilized a remote gate for boarding before taxiing
VH-OQG had arrived from Sydney that morning and N854NW waiting to be pulled to the gate for its flight to JFK. After passing these aircraft we were hold by the tower due our parking position was occupied at that time. 10 minutes later we continued taxiing.
C-FISO - Air Canada 737-8MAX getting ready to fly to Montreal
And this Alaska 737-800 would head to Honolulu this morning
More Alaska aircraft in Terminal 6
And we had parked to gate 54B next to this NK A320 which would head to Las Vegas.
A last shot of our bird from the gate
Even though the journey came to an end at this point, Spirit Airlines sent my a customer satisfaction e-mail in the following hours after my flight which I wouldn't expect from a low cost carrier.
Now it's possible to end this report and thanks for reading.
Hope to see you in another report.
(+) Easy access to the airport
(+) Quick and efficient checkpoint
(+) Boarding started on time with priorities being respected
(+) Comfortable seats and decent legroom in regular seats
(+) Clean lavatory
(+) On time takeoff and landing
(-) BoB options
(-) No inflight entertainment, not even a magazine ( This is the worst thing of Spirit )
(+) Short walk to the exit compared to other US airports
(-) Hold at the apron
Even though Spirit Airlines isn't successful on onboard buy on board or inflight entertainment, their seats were comfortable and decent for a low cost carrier. The crew was also nice to passengers and they had made some waste runs during the flight. In the future, if Spirit continues to offer low fares like this flight, I would continue to fly them especially on red-eye flights which I won't look for IFE or something to eat.