Ready to spring out of Chicago? Looking for travel or PR ideas? Welcome aboard! Let's take off with lessons I took away from a recent blogger press tour to Atlantic City. Disclosure: Thanks to Spirit Air, Caesar’s Entertainment and DKC for transportation, lodging and entertainment. Watch for more entertaining coverage. Let's get there first . . .
Our trip started at O’Hare. Spirit Airlines is the only airline with a direct flight from Chicago to Atlantic City. With no curb service or kiosks the check in line was slow and long. People complained, but joked, too.
It was, truthfully, kind of nice to connect with fellow travelers. You never get to do that when the line moves fast like they probably do now that the route is more than a few days old. Soon enough, the line sped up and we were on our way the gate.
On board, Spirit’s leather seats were cushy, large and comfortable. With plenty of leg room and an adjustable headrest we could stretch and relax. I even had a single overhead compartment for my seat.
Altantic City or Vegas aka Sin City?
Although Atlantic City is often compared to Las Vegas, they really are two distinct destinations. But, if your destination priority is gambling and you’re in Chicago, think about cutting your flight time in half by flying east instead of west. The two hour flight went by quickly. It was a pleasure to land in a smaller airport where all the luggage came in on the only carousel operating.
Travel and PR defined as Price Reduced
Ultra Low Cost Carrier
Before I flew on this trip, I'd never heard of an "ultra low cost carrier."
Spirit Airlines is the largest Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC) in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. As the unbundling leader in the industry, Spirit allows consumers the option of paying only for the features they value without subsidizing the choices of others. Its all-Airbus fleet, the youngest in the United States, flies more than 150 daily flights to 44 destinations. The company is based in South Florida and flies directly into Atlantic City from Chicago. Spirit's Chicago, Illinois (ORD) and Los Angeles, California (LAX) starts April 1, 2011. Source: Spirit Airlines
Will Spirit Airlines offer a Chicago blogger press deal for BlogWorld in LA?
We can only hope.
How does your business or organization fit into your industry's pricing spectrum?
Fare Club Member Discounts
It costs almost $60 to join Spirit's $9 Fare Club, which gives members exclusive discounts on baggage and fares.
What incentives would you offer people to pay to join your club?
Spirit calculates fuel charges by answering How much is my fuel?
Spirit flies with modern Airbus aircraft. Spirit claims to be among the most fuel-efficient airlines per seat in the Americas: "For example, our Airbus A319 is over 30 percent more efficient per passenger than a McDonnell Douglas MD80 with 136 seats. We pass these savings on to our customers in the form of lower fares. Spirit’s miles per gallon per passenger is not only among the best in the airline industry, but compares well against some of the most fuel efficient cars on the road today. This allows customers to be green and price conscious at the same time." Source: Spirit Airlines
How can you get better mileage with your marketing and messaging - do you need to switch to a more economical fuel or a new method of transportation?
Upsells and Addons
If you want a drink on Spirit, you'll have to pay for it.
Same with luggage. If you want to bring extra bags, you'll have to pay for them.
Unless you're going to fly out and back, it's likely that you'll be checking at least one bag.
When I flew to Las Vegas in January, I took one big bag. It weighed almost 50 pounds, the airline's limit, at check-in. Not only was it heavy, it gets worse.
When I checked in to go home, my bag had gained 15 pounds!!! I'm glad it was my luggage and not me, but I'll never figure out where the extra lbs came from.
This time I packed a petite bag that came in at 30 pounds, or 10 pounds under Spirit's limit. I had no second thoughts about bringing back a bottle of wine. Spirit Airlines charged $56 in baggage fees round-trip for my one checked bag.
What can you offer as take with or grab and run products or services? How can you manage your project scope so that it fits in a carry on not a super sized steamer trunk?
I thought twice about putting this in, but let's be honest: planes fly through thunderstorms. Ours did. It was bumpy. People were praying.
I thought about how excited my kids were when we went on bumpy plane rides. Because they had no fear, they loved the rocky ride. So, I think back to those times when the plane I'm on is bouncing back and forth.
Throughout the brief episode, Spirit's flight attendants were responsive, caring and calm. After we cleared the storm, the pilot cracked a joke and everyone relaxed.
When do you have to quell turbulence? How do you stay calm?
Photo: Barbara Rozgonyi, from the ACGetaway collection for thesociallens