Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bring on the Half and Surfboards on Spirit!

2-part blog here folks!

When I started this blog I aimed to write about my real passion in life, SURFING, but recently I seem to find myself writing more and more about running. What to do? I'm sure that over time the post subjects will vary between surfing and running like the ebb and flood of the tide, but today here's a little tease of both subjects!

On the Running front!

This Sunday is the 2nd Annual Daytona Beach Half Marathon.
The course sounds like an amazing race as it starts on the Daytona International Speedway, does a loop around the 2.5 mile track, goes to the beach and back finishing on the actual finish line of the race track. The list of swag they are giving away along with the prizes and drawings are killer! I've never raced anything bigger than a 10k. The past few weeks I've seriously questioned my ability to run the Daytona Half, not because of training and being able to run 13.1 miles, but because of a nagging Achilles tendon injury that doesn't seem to want to heal 100 percent. I've been down. I've been down right depressed about it and I'm sure it's shown on this blog. Heck, I haven't even posted anything in 5 days just because I didn't want to sound negative. But, as in many things in my life right now, I'm over it. I'm officially over it people! One of many quotes taped to my computer monitor and desk here at work reads, "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting '... holy sh*t ... what a ride!'" George Carlin said that once upon a time. After reading that quote again this morning, having a wonderful conversation yesterday about it with Morgan (Caution: Redhead Running) and reading a comment on a previous post from Melissa H (I Don't Need Excuses) who will be running the same race with her own injuries, I've decided I'm over it, screw it, I'm running it.

That's right, consider my "resting" on the Achilles injury a 4 week taper for a Half Marathon! I'm not going to race it, but simply fun run it (maybe bring my camera along). I might even get dressed up in some sort of Halloween costume. You have to run at least a 16 minute pace or be DQ'ed. I think I could crawl faster than a 16 minute pace. The ultimate goal is Disney Marathon, but this Half is important to me as well, so I'm going to run it even if I slide into the grave sideways doing it! I just purchased the November issue of Runner's World to get me pumped up for it (I have subscriptions to every surf magazine, but yet to subscribe to any running publications.... any suggestions?) . Stay tuned for an interesting post race recap next week!

On the Surfing Front:

If you're a surfer and a traveler like myself you know about how airlines like to rape traveling surfers over surfboard bags. With all the negativity in my life right now (work, recession, injuries, etc.) I would like to make a quick and cheap trip to Puerto Rico for a few days in November. Spirit and Jet Blue Airlines both have cheap flights to Aguadilla. I'm talking $50-$70 each way. Only problem are their policies regarding baggage fees for surfboards. I've already flown Jet Blue to Puerto Rico twice this year. They charge $50 per board each way regardless of if the boards are in one bag or two bags. I travel with two surfboards, which equals $100 each way or the price of two tickets in some cases. I might as well buy my surfboard a passenger ticket and bucket it up in the seat next to me! There is one exception that involves a little trickery that I happen to be good at, but it makes me feel guilty and bad. To lie and flirt with the ticketing agent. This works sometimes until they physically search your bag and find two surfboards and charge you for both.

I recently noticed that Spirit Airlines have competitive rates (same price basically) as Jet Blue, but their baggage policy on their website is confusing and left open to interpretation. They basically say there is a flat rate of $75 for sporting equipment (surfboards fall into this category), but fail to acknowledge if they charge you $75 per bag or board? So I called them out on it in email. Here's how it went:

Spirit's first response to my question:
Thank you for writing to Spirit Airlines inquiring about our sporting equipment fees. Yes, a flat fee of $75.00 each leg will apply for all sporting equipment (surfboards, scuba tanks, bicycles etc.). Please keep in mind, surfboards will be accepted as checked baggage for an additional charge. One item of surfing equipment consists of: • One surfboard When packaging a surfboard, keels and/or kedges must be removed or crated in such a manner so as to prevent damage to other baggage. A release form will also need to be signed by the customer. Thank you for choosing Spirit Airlines.

A pretty clear response, except for the fact that they copied and pasted from their baggage policy as if I'm an idiot that can't read it for myself. The failed to directly answer my question of if I will be charged $75 for each board that is in my one bag?

So I called them out on it again with:
Bluntly put: If I have one surfboard bag, but there are two surfboards inside the one bag will I be charge $75 or $150??? Thanks, TallGuySurfing

And Spirit's reply:
Thank you for your continued correspondence with Spirit Airlines. As per our policy, yes you will be charge for each surfboard $75.00. However, it is up to the airport discretion if they will charge you for a bag with two surfboards or for each surfboard individually. Thank you again for contacting Spirit Airlines.

Hmmmmm, thanks Spirit Airlines for trying to pass the buck to the individual airport! Airlines are making bank on baggage fees, especially on surfers. It's funny that some airlines do not charge for baggage items such as golf clubs that weight a ton more than surfboards. The difference between bringing one surfboard or two surfboards for me is 7 pounds. The width difference in the bag is less than 3 inches. You can't tell me that size and weight difference justifies an additional $75. You can tell me that it's to cover liability cost of when the surfboards are damaged due to the airline's negligence, but if you read the fine print in most of the airlines policies for damaged baggage compensation there is usually a minimum amount they will reimburse for said damages that will not cover the replacement cost of an average surfboard.

Sorry Spirit Airlines, I'm going to have to stick with Jet Blue since your rates are the same and the cost difference boils down to baggage fees. However, I really wish I had that last email correspondence from Jet Blue Airlines to bring with me to the ticketing counter. There would be nothing better than putting that in front of the ticketing agent's face and saying, "So tell me, are you going to be an A-hole about these baggage fees or make my traveling experience a pleasant one, it's your call, not the policy?" At least then the agent couldn't blame it on their policy. It'd be on them. Hmmm, maybe I will give Spirit a try?


  1. Whooo hoooo! Maybe we should figure out a way to find each other, and run it as a 3 legged race. I'll tie my piece of crap knee to your pain in the ass... err... achilles and we'll beat them all! Muahahahaha!! :-D

    Seriously, what is your "injured" pace? Email me at mhose@stetson.edu and maybe we can figure out a way to meet up.

    Re: the surfboards. Is it possible to ship them to yourself at the hotel (and then ship them back home)? Would that be cheaper? Just a thought. I am clueless about surfing; gimme a break, I'm originally a NY girl. Not a whole lot of surfing going on in Syracuse.

  2. Aw you love running now. I wonder if it is going to try to steal you completely away? I think it's challenging the Surfing. It's jealous that way. ;)

    I think that Daytona half looks awesome. Take lots of pics.

  3. We charge $75 per surfboard bag. Your allowed to carry two boards per bag. So a roundtrip res, will cost you an extra $150, if you want to carry one-two boards. Sorry if you were not given the correct info the first time. If you like you can contact us through our website, so that we can notate your reservation. This way you wont have any problems at check in.

    Spirit Airlines

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    Fish Surfboard & Maya Gabeira