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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

Spirit Airlines

Dear Readers, 

While I’m traveling in Antarctica for a few weeks I’ll be reprising some of my most popular posts from the past three years. This post — now updated — originally ran in June 2013. 

Spirit interior cabin -- photo by Spirit Airlines

Spirit interior cabin — photo by Spirit Airlines

Cut-rate Spirit Airlines has developed an interesting marketing approach. They’ve traded in customer service and comforts for ultra-low fares, and are charging extra for everything from rolling carry-on bags ($35-$55) to water ($3 a bottle), and printing a boarding pass at the airport ($10). Can pay toilets be far behind?

Spirit hypes what it calls its “bare fare: No’free’ bag. No ‘free’ drink. A ticket with us gets you and a personal item from A to B.”

For “personal item,” think average purse size or a small backpack. Measurements are stingy — 16” x 14” x 12” — and if you don’t pay… Continue reading

Tuvalu will become a center for Climate Change Tourism. Photo from Timeless Tuvalu

Tuvalu will become a center for Climate Change Tourism. Photo from Timeless Tuvalu

Peering into my crystal ball for 2016 — which due to budgetary concerns is more like fiberglass this year — I foresee the following top ten developments in the ever-changing, sometimes wacky world of travel:

Try to pare this down to wallet size, please.

Try to pare this down to wallet size, please.

  • A 747 will be diverted from Omaha to New Orleans overnight because passengers in seats A and B get into a spat over who can claim the middle armrest. Oddly, none of the hundreds of passengers aboard complain as they gobble down their jambalaya and beignets.
  • Spurred by the success of a tour agency named “Toodle-oo Tuvalu” and a boutique hotel called “Sinking Along With the Breeze,” Climate Change Tourism will be huge, in which ghoulish travelers will journey to low-lying Pacific atolls soon to be inundated… Continue reading
Is this you at packing time? Photo from graylinealaska.com

Is this you at packing time? Photo from graylinealaska.com

I admit that I have a packing problem. I tend to overpack, forcing me from bringing only a light carry-on size suitcase to lugging a large, heavy one I have to check on a plane or haul on and off a train.

Shoes are the main culprit. If I’m going on a trek or major hiking trip, I have to pack heavy hiking boots. If I’m going anywhere near a beach or even to a warm-weather destination, I need sandals. Then there are the comfortable urban walking shoes, which I can wear on the plane. But all bets are off if I have to pack dress shoes for some occasion as well.

I also have a tendency to want to bring a shirt or two for every possible type of weather. And so on. Along with all my electronics and gear… Continue reading

Seats don't recline on Spirit Airlines -- a possible solution? Photo by Spirit Airlines

Seats don’t recline on Spirit Airlines — a possible solution? Photo by Spirit Airlines

You’ve probably heard about the recent spate of airline seat reclining wars.

One passenger wants to recline his or her seat. The passenger sitting behind the first passenger doesn’t like the intrusion into his or her space — or possibly getting hit in the knees, head, or having a beverage spilled all over him or herself, or being unable to comfortably work on a laptop.

Tempers flare, and heated words are exchanged. Various rights are invoked — “my right” to recline versus (in the case of the other passenger) “my right” to have what little space the airline allots me to myself, without having your head practically lying in my lap.

Sometimes gadgets are employed. In one recent case, a “knee defender” — which prevents the person in front from being able to recline —… Continue reading

Spirit interior cabin -- photo by Spirit Airlines

Spirit interior cabin — photo by Spirit Airlines

Interesting piece in today’s New York Times on the marketing approach employed by cut-rate Spirit Airlines. They’ve traded in customer service and comforts for low fares, and are charging extra for everything from rolling carry-on bags ($35-$50) to water ($3 a bottle) and more. Can pay toilets be far behind?

Meanwhile, Spirit’s on-time arrivals record is well below the industry average, there are no onboard movies or Wi-Fi, and seats are crammed in, offering less legroom even than the already legroom-deprived other airlines do. What’s more, the seats don’t recline – which, considering that someone reclining a seat in front of you may end up in your lap in these sardine-can conditions, may be a good thing.

So far the approach seems to be working. Spirit’s profits are growing, stock prices are up, and a fleet of new planes is planned for… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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