Originally posted on May 25, 2015
Surviving Long Flights in Budget Airlines
Surviving in budget airlines is considered as a rite of passage for many travelers to prove themselves to the world. I understand why people complain so much about flights and travel. I seriously considered joining one of those lounge things that airports give you a decent place to sit.
I’ll detail a few of the good and the bad about an international trip from Los Angeles, California, to Cusco, Peru.
Arriving at Los Angeles Int’l Airport
I had my flight booked with Spirit Airlines, which has this thing called Bare Fare, where you purchase your ticket for you and a tiny carry-on. If you want an actual carry-on, it is around 25-100 US Dollars, depending on when you decide to purchase it, and if you pay for their membership. Actual luggage is extra. And so is water on the plane.
I’m surprised they didn’t have a quarter machine thing on the lavatory door. The attendants seemed to be a bit new to the job, and even the check-in guy asked me to go straight to the gate otherwise they’d charge me $10 if they printed out my ticket.
But my flight was international, so they needed to scan my passport.
I asked if I would be charged, and he had to check in order to give me an answer. I didn’t have to pay anything extra.
Security at LAX is always an adventure, and I received a “alright all y’all, everything, and I mean everything out of yo’ pockets!” upon entering. The security guy was really funny and made the process a little easier. I was really hoping my backpack would count as a paid carry-on and wouldn’t have to be checked because it exceeded the size by two inches height-wise.. but it was all good.
Las Vegas, Nevada
The flight to Las Vegas was short, and the flight attendant had a laugh attack while announcing their welcome message. It was funny and unprofessional, but I don’t care about professionalism very much, its cool to have fun on the job I guess.
The plane arrived around 3:00pm in Las Vegas and my next flight was at 9:45pm. Bring on the time killers! The airport there has slot machines, but I didn’t play anything.
They had a Starbucks, where I bought a tea and sat there for four hours after spending a ridiculous amount of money for a chicken sandwich at Burger King.
After reading a few printouts of techniques on back linking and other blogging stuff, it was finally 9pm and I headed over to the gate, preparing for the red eye flight.
I sat next to a high school kid who offered me M&Ms, so that was cool. It was in exchange of taking a picture for him of the MGM Grand that I had a clear view of through my window.
Flying to Lima, Peru
My flight out to Lima was scheduled for 4:45pm, and I arrived at Fort Lauderdale, FL, at 5:00am. One funny thing that I noticed was that people were lining up for the restaurants to open at 6:00am. Where they really that hungry, or did they have nothing else to do so they decided to wait in line? Can airport food really be that good?
And so I made a little bed by the vending machine near the gate where I arrived, and after failing at falling asleep for even an hour, I decided to try the Cuban restaurant in there, called Casavana Cafe.
I know, I know, it doesn’t look very good… but it actually was. If you’re a fan of onions (before a flight) I’d highly recommend it. As a matter of fact, I came back to the same place for their burger, which was actually very good. Fries not included.
After a terribly long wait there, I started questioning everything. I didn’t want to be in the airport anymore. I was tired, with a huge headache, and needed to find a place to poop.
There was no way I was going to spend another day in an airport. I was to arrive in Lima, Peru, at 9:45pm and then fly to Cusco, Peru at 8:55am. Spending a night at the airport! Blah. Without thinking much about it, I booked a bed at a hostel in Lima (1900 Backpackers Hostel), for $9, and ~$30 round trip ride from the airport.
After a long wait, I finally headed to gate and boarded toward Lima. The flight seemed much longer than I thought it would be, but I actually got some sleep. I actually discovered a little technique that helped me out tons, I just grabbed my backpack and put on my lap, and used it as my pillow. It feels like sleeping on a really soft table that numbs your legs. If you try it, be sure to close your mouth and try not to drool all over your things.
Upon arriving in Lima, going through customs was a breeze and it took like 15 minutes because the airline didn’t have the immigration form for us to fill out. The taxi lines for Taxi Green were long! I ended up going outside and got a S/. 40 ride to the hostel, at around midnight.
The stay at 1900 Backpackers Hostel was nice, it was quiet, and clean. The drive there, however, was an adventure. These guys don’t obey traffic lights, they enjoy honking, and getting super close to each other. The drive back had me a little worried when I was asked to step out of the taxi on my way back to the airport, but it was just so that they could put gas (like.. gas form gas) in the car. All was good.
I checked my backpack after it got sniffed by a dog, and I went to the waiting area. It was 7:00am. Again, way too early. But according the first taxi driver, traffic on the way to the airport was going to be particularly bad and it was. I ended up waking up super early anyway, so it worked out.
Flight from Lima to Cusco
The scenery was just amazing, but I can’t find any of the bad photos that I took from my stained window on the plane from Star Perú. It was a small plane though, and I got to try Inca Kola… a yellow sugary drink that people here absolutely love. When I asked for water, they asked me if I was sure, and that if I wanted with or without gas.
They looked at me funny when I answered “Um, agua.. normal?”
Anyway, after a long trip and three days spent in airports and moving around, I’m finally at my destination. Villa Magica, as part of Aldea Yanapay, a social project.
I received some information in a small meeting with four other volunteers, and started a few hours after that. I slept like a baby that night though.. a full nine hours of sleep.
So that was my adventure. What is the longest time you’ve spent in airports and such? Do you believe it is worth it to upgrade your flights and pay for airport lounges?