I’ve never flow Spirit Airlines in the US but it’s everyone’s favorite airline brand to hate. After flying Czech Airlines Economy Class, I think I can imagine that this is how people often feel when they fly Spirit. And it’s not a compliment.
Traffic was extra light so we arrived at the Budapest Airport a little over 2 hours before departures. I wanted to have some time explore a lounge plus we had bags to check. But we quickly earned that check-in desks do not open until 2 hours before departure time…..at the earliest. We waited for the departures board to assign a check-in desk and about 1 hour and 45 minutes from departure, a check-in desk was finally assigned.
As Czech Airlines only has a couple departures a day at most, they do not have their own staff at BUD. Contract staff is utilized for Czech Airlines check-in and gate agents. Fortunately this was small plane to so there line was somewhat short. However, the agents moved painfully slow and went into overdrive on regulating all the rules. Nearly every passenger had to reallocated their bags. The staff wouldn’t let you squeeze by one extra ounce, Fortunately, this isn’t our first rodeo and our bags were just fine. By the time we checked our bags, an hour had passed and there was no time for a lounge so we grabbed a snack and headed to the boarding gate.
We hung out around the gate for a short time and it was time to board. The same agents at baggage check were also at the boarding gate. We were utilizing a bus for boarding so we boarded the bus and headed out to the tarmac. It was quite the warm day so we were already baking on the tarmac but boarding took a good while. The tarmac staff was requiring any bag larger than a personal backpack to be gate-checked which added more time to boarding. By the time we were on board, I was sweating. To add more insult, there was no air flow on the plan and the air conditioning hadn’t come on yet.
The seating on this Bombardier Q400 was quite packed. It barely tolerable for a 40 minute flight. The on-board crew didn’t speak much English and there was no in-flight service for this 40 minute flight so I can’t even attempt to gauge the service level. But most uncomfortable was the fact that the air conditioning never really came on. It was quite the sauna onboard.
After 40 minutes we finally descended into Prague. We received another bus gate, which is expected for the aircraft size. We were ferried back to the gate and I was elated to be in the chilled terminal.
I can’t say that we had a disastrous experience with Czech Airlines but I wouldn’t call it pleasant. A colleague of mine warned that the service was poor and she wasn’t wrong. But for a nonstop flight between Prague and Budapest for fairly cheap, I’m not going to say it was the worst.