Thursday, November 2, 2023

Visiting the Sunshine State

Last week we traveled to Florida to visit some friends from the neighborhood who purchased a condo in Port Charlotte last year. Originally this trip was supposed to take place in January of 2023, but they got sick and we had to cancel our trip.

At their suggestion we had purchased tickets on Allegiant Air, which flies out of the Concord-Padgett Airport (as opposed to Charlotte Douglas) directly to Punta Gorda, Florida. It is a discount airline, which I have always tried to avoid. But the pricing was quite decent on it, despite bucking up for checking a bag, picking a seat and Priority Boarding. The package deal also gave us cancellation insurance, which we ended up needing in January.

What they don't tell you about the insurance is that all taxes and fees are non-refundable, and the price of the insurance is deducted from the credit that goes onto your account. So needless to say, you are not made whole on the deal. But at least we were able to rebook the tickets.

We were dropped off at the airport on October 23rd, and were very grateful that we had Priority status. The regular line was quite long, but we only had a couple of people ahead of us so we got through quickly. I was amused by the fact that if you needed to charge any devices at the Concord airport, there was a fee for that as well.

On the plane we found the seats to be fairly spacious, if not the most padded in the industry. There are no frills, however. No snacks or drinks are provided, though they were offered for sale. As the flight was less than an hour and a half long, it was no big deal to us.

Being picked up at the Punta Gorda Airport was a breeze, and we were quickly off to begin our Sunshine State adventure with our good friends. We played a LOT of pickleball, both in their community as well as the Pickleplex in Punta Gorda, which has 24 courts. Wow! 

We also visited their community pool, went out to dinner with their friends, and played some rousing games of Mexican Train. But the thing I enjoyed the most this trip was going to the Peace River Gardens. It was a beautiful day to walk through the botanical gardens and see not only the plant material but also the wonderful sculptures they had on site. 

Peace River Gardens
We flew home on Friday the 27th, and were again thankful that our status enabled us to skip the long, general check-in line. It is certainly the only way I would consider flying this airline again.

It was another fun trip, but I am happy that we don't have any others planned for 2023. It's time to stay home for a bit and enjoy life here.

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