Advice to golfers: Check out Spirit and Southwest airfares
Now that U.S. Airways and American Airlines have merged, air travel choices in the United States seem to be dwindling. There is, however, airline travel beyond American, United and Delta. You just have to look a little harder.
These recent mergers seem to have opened up some room for the little guys (who aren’t so little anymore) to compete and they’re doing just that. First, Southwest Airlines has introduced service to Mexico and is offering more non-stops than ever to major U.S. markets. And now Spirit Airlines is moving into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, offering non-stop service to Chicago and Dallas.
What does this mean to golfers? Well, Southwest is significant because it’s still about the only airline that doesn’t charge for bag fees. And that means your clubs get to travel for free. If you’ve got status on one of the other airlines, you’ll get a free bag anyway and with a carry-on that part of the deal is often a wash. But for those without status, the savings can be significant – $70 or more on bag fees alone.
Spirit, on the other hand, seems to be offering some really low fares, but the company makes up for it by doing the opposite as Southwest. Not only does Spirit charge for checked bags, but they charge for carry-on bags as well. My trick of putting a few things in the golf travel cover and taking a light carry-on on Spirit wouldn’t work.
Still, the fares are cheap. Checking on a flight to Myrtle Beach, S.C. – which isn’t easy to fly into with the major airlines – was only $218 roundtrip from Houston. It stops in Chicago, but there are several markets that offer direct flights to Myrtle Beach. On Spirit, for example, you can get there from Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and New York’s La Guardia.
You won’t find these flights on Travelocity or Expedia, by the way. You have to check out the individual Web sites. It’s a little more work, but probably well worth it.
|« New 'Get Your Golf On' book helps grow the game||Labor Day golf fun: Rock on the Range at Eagle Crest Resort in central Oregon »|