Day: 24,382: Of Movies, Airplanes & The Theatre
January has turned out to be a month when I’ve been overly conscious of my butt. To be fair, I’ve been conscious of my butt since third grade when I first gained weight from eating too much cheese indoors and not playing enough outdoors due to a school change and farther away friends. But, this latest butt consciousness is different from my normal butt focus. It is about my trials in finding seats of various comfort levels in unexpected places.
Three Seat Experiences
To kick off the new year, I have now traveled on Spirit Airlines to Florida, spent a night at a new dinner-movie theater in Delray Beach, and attended the 25th Anniversary performance of Riverdance at the Merriam Theatre in Philadelphia. Which do you think was the worst seat?
Wrong. It was not Spirit Airlines. Unexpectedly, Spirit has taken the hint from its myriad passenger reviews over the years, and upgraded. Knowing that no one buys food on board, the tray tables were minimized leaving better (not great) legroom for passengers. Sadly, a 6’4″ guy got the window seat in my row going down to Florida, but it wasn’t as bad as it would have been a few years past.
The most expensive seat was in the new IPIC “exclusively yours” movie theater in Delray, where we treated ourselves to a showing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. IPIC defines itself as “The Ultimate Theatre Experience,” and I’d have to agree. We did Happy Hour in the trendy lobby bar, grabbed pillows and blankets for the movie, and were seated in a pod for two that let you recline while indulging in a cash bar martinis and free popcorn.
To her credit, the IPIC receptionist did not laugh in my face when I asked if there was as senior citizen discount. Except for Happy Hour drinks and appetizers, and VIP membership offers, there are no discounts at this trendy venue.
This was the third and most upscale of three different movie-dinner theatres we’ve now sat in, including one in Seattle and an AMC in Philadelphia. But it was vacation, I’m still talking about the experience, and I don’t regret it. It was 5x more expensive than any movie anywhere else, and I had a blast. If you’re going to indulge, however, it better be a good movie because if it had been a klunker, the experience would have been a bomb on more than one level. And, every IPIC is different. As far as I can tell, no two are alike.
The Cheap Seats
The cheapest seat of the month was a $20 ticket to the 25th anniversary performance of Riverdance in Philadelphia. You may remind me that “you get what you pay for,” as we were jammed in worse than any Spirit Airlines seat ever, next to a pole, and up in the nosebleeds. I’m not complaining. I knew we paid for the nosebleeds. Nevertheless, I didn’t know if we could sit like that for the entire two acts of a very fun performance. At intermission, I stood up just to stand and stretch.
There was no place for coats, people (other than grandkids) were dangerously teetering on their way down to seats, and it was fodder for disaster from the gitco.
Looking back , my January tushy trials were a statement of where our culture has gone. As a kid, I wore a dress and dress shoes to get on a plane, dressed up for any live theatre, and only dressed down for the movies. Nowadays you dress down for all three experiences, but only feel special at the movies!
That said, Spirit gets new points for better service, I’m a fan of movie dinner theatres but at a lower cost, and enjoyed Riverdance despite the seats. I’ll continue to recommend Florida for the weather in the winter, look for discount theatre seats in Philly, and will indulge in upscale movie dinners when the movie is a guaranteed winner and there’s no live theatre in town except Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
My January seat review is:
#1. Winner by far — IPIC movies – The most expensive, most luxurious, most fun.
#2. Spirit Airlines- for being better than the worst they’ve been and being conscious that they needed to improve.
Last place #3 . The Merriam Theatre balcony seats. Worse than any prior Spirit flying experience. Dangerous and uncomfortable and showing a complete lack of planning or focus on the customer experience. For goodness sake, at least have a coat room up there!
Three Wishes for the New Year
My January seat wishes for you are that :
- You get to sit pretty for most of this year wherever your travels may take you.
- You’re able to enjoy your sitting experiences without worrying if you’ll make it through to the end of whatever is engaging you.
- You’re not flying by the seat of your pants, and 2020 lets you plan great times throughout the year!
We’ve flown Spirit several times this year and I’ve been raving about the newer interiors. As you mention, the seating has been completely reimagined. Instead of the conventional bulky upholstery (as if three Lay-Z-Boy recliners were strapped together) the new seating is sleek and minimal — more like high-end office furniture –- with brushed aluminum detailing that would be at home in an Apple Store. The result is a more open, airy environment that for me elevates the whole experience. Design to the rescue once again (says the designer)!
Agreed! It was such a pleasant surprise!