From Jet Blue coach to Spirit Air coach I quickly discovered the differences in seating space. The flight I was on from the ‘lower 48’ had the most legroom of any standard coach seat I’ve ever sat in. Then it was on to a Spirit Air flight connection in Fort Lauderdale – down to St. Thomas, USVI.
I had slimmed down my normal light weight backpack to my camera and laptop and a few thin shorts and shirts. My plan was to wear all the shorts and shirts onto the plane and conceal my fairly large camera under one of my shirts as I boarded – thus leaving my already small backpack packed to the minimum. The reason for this needless paranoia was Spirit Air’s carry on baggage policy where they charge you to carry a piece of luggage on board.
Upon arriving at the airport I saw two metal cages – one sized for the free carry-ons and the other clearly marked as $100 if you pay at the gate – to carry on a larger piece. My backpack easily fit into the metal cage advertising free carry-on and I didn’t have to resort to drastic measures to carry my items on the plane free of charge.
While on board the Spirit Air flight one of the flight attendants ominously announced that their flight attendants had recently been voted the most rude and annoying on a recent online survey of many of the world’s airlines. As a result he made sure to tell us not to ring our call buttons as we probably would not get a response and in the unlikely event a flight attendant would come over to our seat it would probably not be a pleasant interaction!
I arrived at St. Thomas (having used only my drivers license to leave the lower 48) and was ‘greeted’ by the English language and the American dollar. I was also pleasantly surprised upon exiting the baggage claim to be handed a delicious peach rum and then another one to. This would be nice if every country/territory welcomed visitors this way.
I discovered (via AirBnB) a home perched on one of the hillsides not far from the airport in St. Thomas. Conveniently located to the small port side town of Frenchtown I had no shortage of bars and alcoholic drinks to choose from as well as fresh fish. I made a beeline down the mountain to a small bar called Rum Shandy, a Cabana Bar. Tempted to order my favorite cocktail, the Caipirihna, instead I let the name of the bar guide me and I reached for a Rum with a slice of orange on the rim.
By the time I wandered back up the hill the stresses of the recent red eye flight had melted into the recesses of my memory. I was calmed by the power of the rum, caressed by the warm breezes coming off the bay and eventually lulled into a sleepy state by the monotony of the crickets chirping … all as it should be during my first night back in the Caribbean.