CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- On August 4th, I was returning from Chicago (ORD) to Minneapolis (MSP) on a 7:25pm that was delayed due to inclement weather. The delay was to be expected, and is not the subject of my complaint. I checked in for my flight around 5:30 or 6:00 pm and went to the gate to wait, due to the weather delays, there appeared to be about 3 flights worth of people waiting to fly out of the gate (Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis, and another destination). Because of this, all seats in the gate area were full, and many people were standing around. I checked in at the desk to find out what time the Minneapolis flight was leaving since the sign behind the desk was showing three cities, with the same flight times for all three--they obviously hadn't been updated. The woman at the desk told me the Minneapolis flight was leaving at 9:15. I sat one gate over for about a half an hour (At the time I was 7 months pregnant) and checked back again, to make sure this hadn't changed, and was told 9:15 again. I checked back two more times after that, the last time being about 8:20, and each time was told "9:15". At 8:45 I checked back and was told that the Minneapolis flight just left. I did not ever hear my name called, or any messaging, and since I'd been told multiple times leading up to this point that the flight was 9:15 (with NO indication that this was going to change), I was shocked that the plane had left just 20 minutes after the last time I checked in at the gate. I went to the ticket counter and there met several other people who were on the same flight or other flights for Spirit leaving from that gate, who experienced the same thing: Incorrect information given by your gate representatives multiple times, no effort to make sure passengers in the crowded area were alerted that their flight was boarding or leaving, and the signs at the counter not reflecting accurate destination cities and flight times. The fiasco with the incompetent workers at the gate that caused me to miss my flight was bad enough, but what followed at the ticket counter was absolutely beyond anything negative I've ever experienced in customer service. The amount of time it took for the ticket reps to get myself and the others at waiting in front of someone who could actually do anything was unacceptable, once we finally were able to speak with someone, a supervisor named Diane, who refused to provide her last name or even show us the badge around her neck, Diane was belligerent, rude, unprofessional, and downright insulting to the customers waiting. Diane clearly has no idea how to work in an industry like this. The other workers behind the counter were clearly scared of Diane and all stood back, unwilling to help anyone with questions because Diane obviously had to approve any message they gave. Diane insisted that everyone at the counter was there because of inclement weather, even though everyone explained multiple times, the weather was not to blame for the missed flights. To the contrary, we were all at the gate and checking in regularly about the times, and were all given bad information. By this time it was late in the evening, Diane offered only a refund for the part of the trip that was unused and an option to fly out at 7pm the next night. (Keep in mind that at this point, the ticket counters for other airlines are closing, that is how long this process has taken). Her offer was totally unacceptable; there was no offer of lodging, though the entire reason that I and the others were stuck there was because of the workers at the gate. At one point, I asked if I could have her last name, and she refused, so I asked if she could flip over her name badge around her neck so that we could see her name and she actually said "Come over this desk and get it yourself". I am a business professional, I travel at least twice each month and tried Spirit Airlines because the rates were good. Well I guess you get what you pay for because the experience was a complete nightmare. I ended up purchasing my own ticket on Delta for early the next morning (I did get a refund of $77 dollars from Diane), and spent the night sitting in a chair at the 24/7 Starbucks in the baggage claim area because the long, drawn out process of trying to negotiate with Diane resulted in it being too late for me to get through security to wait the night out in the airport until my early flight. This was uncomfortable, and arguably, unsafe for me, a woman into her third trimester of pregnancy. If my long email doesn't convey the total anger and bewilderment the entire experience caused, I'd welcome a chance to speak to Diane's supervisor and give you more detail. It takes a lot to incite me to take time out of my schedule to complain about a situation or a person, but I felt it was necessary to send this along; I hope someone sees it and would very much appreciate an acknowledgment that someone has read it. I work for a very large corporation, and am tempted to share my story on our cloud with my colleagues. We all have large travel budgets and the option to fly any airline. Believe me, how we are treated absolutely will dictate where we fly.
I also want to add that at the ticket counter, one of the others who missed his flight mentioned that we might as well not even bother trying to contact your customer service department via phone, because we would never get through, so I attempted to fill out the form online and received an error message (screen shot below). Clearly your organization is doing everything it can to avoid dealing with customers both in person, and after the fact, but I hope the story of my experience gets through to somebody.
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- I mailed this letter to all of the executives at Spirit Airlines:
July 11, 2012
Dear sir or madam,
This letter is to inform you of how EXTREMELY disappointed I am in your customer service.
On May 13, 2012, my husband and I were asked if we were willing to volunteer our seats from Ft. Myers, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts. We were told that we would receive 2 round trip vouchers each, to anywhere that Spirit flies. We agreed. We were issued our 4 vouchers - expiring on 5/13/2013. We were told that we must make our reservations within 60 days of 5/13/2012. We were given a flier that includes the Terms & Conditions.
Tonight, I attempted to schedule flights on your website. Your flier indicated "A Future Travel Voucher may be booked on the website or Customers may call a Reservation Center at 1-800-772-7117". I signed into the website and tried to find flights for November, 2012 from Boston to Ft. Myers -- nothing was available. I tried January, 2013 for the same destinations - nothing was available. I then tried April, 2013, and was able to find dates that fit into our schedule. I went through all of the screens to book the flights, and then I entered the voucher numbers and received an error message indicating the voucher could not be used for this itinerary, please call the Reservation Center.
I called 1-800-772-7117, and Sally answered the call. First, she was extremely hard to understand, and she didn't seem to understand my request. I told her I wanted a flight for my husband using his voucher, flying out of Boston on November 9, 2012, and flying into Ft. Myers with a return flight on November 27, 2012. Sally told me that I needed to pick another destination since Spirit didn't fly to my destinations. I told her that Spirit definitely did fly to my destinations since that was how I got the vouchers. We went back and forth for a while, until she said Spirit doesn't have a direct flight. I told her that I know that, and I had not asked for a direct flight. She then asked for the dates again. After several minute wait she came back on the line and told me that since it was not a direct flight I needed to use both of my "round trip" vouchers for the one flight down - one voucher for Boston to Ft. Lauderdale, and then the other voucher for Ft. Lauderdale to Ft. Myers. I told her that the information on the flier did not indicate anything about that. She said she was sorry that no one had told me that. I finally said let's just book this. She then put me on hold while she looked up the flight for November 9. Then she came back on the line and asked me again (for at least the 4th time) what the return date was. I repeated again that it was November 27. She put me on hold again, and then came back and told me that there were no flights available. I asked to speak to a supervisor. She asked me to hold.
Floor Manager, Josh, picked up the phone and said he was on the phone with another customer and would be a little while, would I hold. I replied that I would hold. While on hold, I was then disconnected - this phone call took 34 minutes. I called the 800 number again, and was connected to Brenda. I explained that I had been disconnected. I asked to be transferred to Floor Manager Josh. She asked what my problem was. I explained again that I had been disconnected, and wanted to speak to Josh. She insisted that she could help me. I explained again that I was having a problem using my vouchers and wanted to speak to Josh. She insisted she could help me. I then INSISTED I wanted to be connected to Josh. She put me on hold, and when she returned she told me that Josh had left for the day! I told her that I wanted to speak to Josh's boss, to which she said she could help me. I then told her that I was in the middle of writing a 2 page letter to SPIRIT, and I wanted to talk to someone over a supervisor. She put me on hold. When she returned she told me that I would be transferred to a supervisor. Supervisor Andre came on the line. I asked him to take my number in case we were disconnected. He told me that he did not have the ability to call me back. I explained my issue to him, and gave him all of the information. By this time, my husband had already booked our November flights on Southwest Airlines without any issues. So, since our November trip was already booked, I asked Andre to book our April trip. I told him that I wanted to fly out of Boston on April 27 and arrive in Ft. Myers, and return from Ft. Myers on May 12. He looked up all of the flights and then informed me that he couldn't give us a flight down to Florida on April 27, but he could give us April 29, Our flight home on May 12, 2013 wasn't available either. The earliest we could fly home was May 14, 2013. I finally agreed to move our vacation dates to 4/29/13 returning 5/14/13. As he was booking, he was reading the itinerary, and said Boston to Ft. Lauderdale. I said no, not Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers. Then he informed me that he couldn't get us seats on that flight until April 30, 2012. At this point, I told him never mind. This phone call took 21 minutes.
What good are round trip vouchers that you cannot book flights for??? My husband had booked our April/May 2012 flights on Spirit and the whole experience for his flight to Florida was outrageous - he spent 9-10 hours in airports or on planes due to delays, and missing connecting flights. He had taken a half day off to make his original Boston flight, and it ended up being delayed - he didn't need to take any time off - what a waste! Then our return flight on May 13th was a mess. It is no wonder that Spirit is having financial problems!
At this point, I guess I will use your vouchers for toilet paper - I certainly can't book any round trip tickets that I am interested in or can arrange into my schedule. And I can assure you that I in the future I will not fly SPIRIT. My husband and I work in a VERY large public utility company that has facilities worldwide. He and I will be sure to share our very bad experience on our company's Internet bulletin board to ensure that our coworkers never have to have the VERY bad experience that we have had.
Also, by the way, your website doesn't have any contact information. I guess that's one way to avoid getting letters or emails that let you know your customers are dissatisfied.
Very truly yours, Nancy E. Brennan
Posted to my3cents.com
So I guess my message to users of my3cents.com is:
DON'T FLY SPIRIT AIRLINES!!!!!!!!!
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- June 26, 2012
Mr. Ben Baldanza
Chief Executive Officer
2800 Executive Way
MIRAMAR, FL 33025
Mr. Ben Baldanza:
I am writing to voice my concerns about the horrific customer service I received following a cancelled Spirit Airlines flight between Chicago O’hare and LAX on Saturday, June 23. I would sincerely appreciate you taking couple minutes to read my concerns, which I believe are shared by many of your customers.
While I was unhappy about the cancelled flight, I realize this happens from time to time. What I would like to specifically bring to your attention is the lack of empathy and customer service mindset amongst the “manager” level employees I dealt with at Spirit. Given, agents/customer service representatives have limited decision making authority, I requested to speak with “managers” after each interaction I had with Spirit representatives, and each time I spoke with a manager, I was utterly disappointed; and thus my suggestion that providing better customer service training at Spirit is warranted. I would like to provide you with a brief context of my recent experience with Spirit.
Upon arrival to Chicago O’Hare on Saturday evening, June 23, 2012 to catch a flight to Los Angeles, I was informed by the check-in kiosk that the “flight has been cancelled – see agent”. There were approximately 80 customers waiting in line and only five customer service agents working at the Spirit counter. During the approximately 55 minutes I stood in line to reach the customer service agent working the front desk, there were no announcements made about the cancellation, which added to the anxiety of those passengers whose flights have been cancelled but had no idea as to the reason nor whether they would be able to get on another flight.
There were many irate customers bypassing the line all together and going directly to the front desk agents, which added to the waiting time for customers such as myself who waited in line to speak to an agent. Furthermore, there were no notices via email nor text message of the flight cancellation, despite the fact I am a Spirit member and my contact info, including my email and cell phone number, is stored in its database.
After 55 minutes of waiting in line, I was able to speak to a front-desk agent (Ben) who informed me that the flight was cancelled due to weather and that all Spirit flights from O’hare to LAX were booked for a week. The options offered to me were to look for a Spirit flight to LAX after a week or to get a refund on my purchase. Given that I had taken the week off and planned these vacation trip months in advance to visit my parents who leaves in Asia and had flown to LA for the week to visit my sisters and me, rescheduling to another Spirit flight the following week was not an option. Thus I had to reluctantly ask for a full refund with the hopes of finding a flight on another airline. The agent sympathized with my situation and offered to refund the full amount and provide me with a $100 voucher for a future travel on Spirit (as a side note, I was not successful in finding reasonable priced flights on another airline within the next couple days, as the lowest priced round-trip ticket was around $800+. Thus I was not able to make the trip out to LA to visit my parents and sisters).
After four days, I still hadn’t received a refund nor the $100 voucher. Thus I called Spirit customer service to inquire about the status of my refund and voucher. The customer service representative (Leo) informed me that neither the refund nor the voucher was recorded in the system. And after looking into my itinerary, he informed me that he could provide me with only a refund and not the voucher. I asked Leo to connect with a manager. After 20 minutes on hold, I was able to speak with the manager, Ashley.
After explaining to Ashley my situation, she informed me that the refund had already been issued (which was just processed minutes earlier after I complained for the second time that it had not been) and that I would not be eligible for the voucher given it was not Spirit’s fault that the flight was cancelled. Rather, she insistently blamed the situation on the weather and given that it was not Spirit’s fault, she would not be offering me the voucher (which had earlier been offered to me).
I was disappointed by her response and handling of the situation. In no way was the $100 voucher going to make up for my missed opportunity to visit my parents and sisters. Nevertheless, it was a small token of sympathy which I thought Spirit had offered to alleviate my anxiety. While Ashley’s response and handling of the situation was unsettling, I removed the emotions and try to explain to her rationally and logically from a business perspective why taking away the previously offered voucher was a bad business decision (just having graduated from business school a week earlier, I felt compelled to present the business case).
First, it was something that had been offered to me. And taking away something that had previously been offered is offensive and dishonest.
Second, a $100 voucher is a tiny investment, and likely a good ROI. I informed Ashley that the $100 doesn’t replace my missed opportunity to visit my folks in LA. Nevertheless, it’s a small token that shows Spirit still values my business.
Lastly, as a relatively new public airline, it may have positioned itself as a “no frills” airline, competing on price. However, if it neglects customer service, it will not be able survive just by competing on price in the long run. The industry as a whole has gone the way of becoming a provider of a commodity, and airliners will not be able to compete on price alone. Spirit’s prices will have to move up and / or other airlines will be able to further lower their prices given improved scale given industry consolidation.
After presenting my case, Ashley was still firm on not granting me the voucher, as she replied “No, I will not be granting you a voucher. Again it was not “our” fault”. It felt as though Ashley was adding insult to injury and it was clear that she didn’t care about losing me as a customer.
Ashley could have done a much better job addressing this situation and alleviating my concerns had she for one instant thought about me as a person, not an adversary. Not once during our conversation did I feel she was listening to my thoughts/concerns. She provided no suggestions nor other options. It was clear she had set her mind that the voucher will not be issued given that it was not “their” fault. Had she been a little more open to thinking about the customer and how to retain me as a customer, I think a mutually beneficial outcome would have been likely, and I could have concluded my call feeling better about Spirit.
Unfortunately, because of her lack of ability to sympathize with customers, she has turned away a customer and Spirit will be generating significantly less revenue from me in the future. I would never fly Spirit for business. And on personal travels, I would only consider Spirit for last minute travel and only if the price difference is greater than $125 relative to another airline on a one-way flight.
Prior to this experience, I felt Spirit performed satisfactorily. However, this incident brings to light that Spirit needs to better hire and train “managers” to deal with customers more effectively. While it’s important to focus on the operations and process to make sure things operate smoothly and seamlessly, it’s just as important to provide managers with better training on addressing contingency and customer service issues.
Specifically, I believe the following approaches could have been taken in this specific situation to reduce the anxiety amongst those passengers whose flights were cancelled and would have likely resulted in a better experience:
1) Send email, text message, or voice mail to passengers if their flights are cancelled.
2) Have a floor manager at the airport communicate to the customers at the airport so that they are aware of what’s going on
3) Create a separate line for customers whose flights have been cancelled (alleviates bottleneck for other travelers) and have a dedicated agent address these customers
4) When multiple flights are cancelled, have the manager in charge make staffing decisions to increase staffing on the floor (while obvious, this did not seem to be the case on Saturday)
5) Follow through on execution/promise. When informed that refunds and vouchers will be given, process them immediately. Delaying the process decreases customer satisfaction, and ups the amount of inbound customer service calls. The slight decrease in working capital as a result of paying out refunds to customers later compared to when it’s promised creates additional complaints and increases the need for these customers to speak with customer service agents. Furthermore, additional complaints decrease the likelihood of these passengers choosing Spirit for future air travel.
I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my concerns and hope you will take actions to address them.
Joo Y Park
HURRICANE, UTAH -- I am writing to you and anyone else that will listen regarding Spirit Air. First of all, I booked a flight to go visit my grandson after saving for months. I am disabled, due a terrible car accident so I don't get to travel much any more. For years before I was in the accident, which destroyed my new Volvo but saved my life, I traveled constantly, working for FEMA and other organizations helping survivors of disasters. Several days before my flight I broke my foot and 3 toes and was told by Spirit that in order to change my flight it would cost me $110or I just had to forfeit the ticket. I made the mistake of buying another ticket from them for August 28th and have not healed enough to walk, in fact, I just found out that I will need several operations to fix the problem. Not only will Spirit not let me change the date of the ticket, they have told me, once again I can forfeit or pay another $110. I have waited to see my grandson for over 2 years. The Worst Part is they signed me up for their $59 program that I didn't want. I called them immediately and had them cancel. They tole me they cancelled and that I would refund the money to my account immediately and it would show up in 5 to 7 days. I called 8 days later and they then said it would be 10 days. I called at 12 days and they said 15 days. I called again and asked for the refund. I spoke to them again on day 15, 20 and 23 and have been given the same run around. Everyone I talk to tells me to wait just a few more days, in fact, on day 2o, the individual I talked to told me it would take 15 days, so I counted the days with him and showed him we were at day 20. It has now been 24 days and no refund. I have not been allowed to talk to any supervisor or manager. I have been searching for any information on Spirit management and found your site. I have given up on getting any exchanges for the tickets to see my grandson, however, I will not give up on the $59.95 which was Spirit's error, which they admitted and which they told me that they refunded to me immediately. It is bad enough that I missed my grandson, cannot walk, will need several surgeries and have paid for 2 tickets that were wasted - rules can be adjusted for true emergencies if there is even an ounce of compassion - but to not refund the $59.95 and continue to lie to me about it is flat out mean, cruel and dishonest. That $59.95 has kept me from buying prescriptions, going to the doctor and getting food. But Spirit doesn't care about anything but their bottom line, no matter whom they have to cheat or how they have to do it. I feel they owe me the money for one of my tickets back at the very least, and definitely the $59.95 they charged me in error. According to every person I have talked to since August 3rd when I tried to change my ticket and asked for the $59.95 fee they charged me back, the fee has been refunded and there is "no possibility" that it could have been a mistake on Spirit's part nor could it have gone to someone else's account. There are no "managers or supervisors" to talk to and I am out of money, food and gas. I spent about 1/3 of a month's income on this trip and it's sad enough that I am in too much pain and I can't use the ticket and they won't let me move it to next month. I helped raised my grandson and I am afraid that even if I don't see him before these operations I may not be able to see him again. You figure the odds - 5 operations - the chances are high that something could go wrong. So, regardless of how bloodthirsty Spirit air is about giving a person who got hurt in an accident - so they have nearly $200 of my money for that (that seems to be how they make their money - sell seats and then make it impossible to change them in an emergency - they still haven't paid back my $59.95 and I am still getting the runaround. I have $10 in the bank and can't pay for medicine, food or gas because there is not enough money because that Spirit still has my refund, which I have been told that was processes August 3rd and would be in my account by August 8th - August 10th at the latest. If there is anyone who can help me with this in any way I can't tell you how much I would appreciate it. It is bad enough that these people do this to others who can afford it and don't really care that much. For them to do this to people like me who have had a serious accident, had to postpone being with the only family I have and depend on every penny to get by is not only shameful but illegal. Please help me! Once this is settled, I will never fly Spirit again. So far they have over $250 of my money, non of which has been able to to be used because I have not been allowed to talk to a manager, none of their front line people have any authority or care about anything but Spirit's rules and a paycheck and Spirit takes your money without authority and they lie about refunding it. I used to teach customer service and corporate change from the top down for many major companies and government agencies. At least at that time they were willing to try. Spirit Air is the worst company I have ever come across in over 25 years. I never thought I'd be in this position. Please, please help me if you can. Thanks for letting me vent. I hope to hear from you soon.
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- You should read reviews about this airline before you purchase. I will NEVER, EVER FLY Spirit Airlines.
I’ve not heard about Spirit Airline and I purchased a package through Travelocity. I made a BIG mistake, I should have read the reviews first. This has to be the worse airline EVER.
I bought our vacation package a month ahead. I log-on to the Spirit website and find out they charge for everything, (i.e. talking to them on the phone, using the bathroom, bags, seats). I prepaid 2 round trip ($30 each) check in bags and 3 round trip seats ($25 each), FREE if you let Spirit choose the seating for you.
Departure: we arrive 2+ hours prior to boarding with our boarding pass (already printed). Arrive at the gate, waited, we were delayed for 30 – 45 minutes because we had to wait for the air plane to arrive; unload people and their luggage and for them to clean the plane. We boarded the plane and it was dirty.
Return trip: departure time was 5:40pm out of Oakland, CA to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX. We arrived at the terminal at 2pm with boarding pass already printed, get to the counter to check-in our bags, and we were told there was a mechanical problem and they had to switch planes; departure was now 9:50pm. I’m still okay at this point (but we’ve been there since 2pm) so I was getting a little annoyed.
When the plane arrived. Again, we had to wait for the people and luggage to unload and cleaning. We get to our seats, it was not what I expected, it was seating area was so small (NOT what I paid for). It was really late, I was tired, so I kept my frustration to myself. We arrive at DFW and we were told to go to baggage claim 32, as we were walking to 32, there was a Spirit employee that told us that the baggage claim was at 38. So we all waited at 38 for 30 – 40 minutes, then one of the passengers took a walk to baggage claim 32 and found out that all of our luggage’s were in claim 31 and already off the carousel. Some of the passengers baggage was in a totally different airline baggage claim. Now, this was not just offensive but unacceptable. The airlines did not care about our belongings.
I called Spirit to ask for a refund of my seats, waited for 30 minutes. I explained to them what happen and he told me that, he does not see me paying for my seats. I told him that I have an email receipt that I paid for baggage and larger seats. I expected a total refund of $75 because they basically chose the seats for us BUT NO, the person on the phone got belligerent and told me that “you asked for a refund and you got it” a total of $33 dollars.
I will not use this airline and will tell everyone that I know the same.
DFW, TEXAS -- ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE! DO NOT USE SPIRIT!
I created a yelp account SPECIFICALLY to let people know what Spirit Airlines is about. If I could give negative stars, I would.
You may think you are saving money, but honestly it all adds up to being just as (if not MORE) expensive with all the delays, bag costs and check in costs, not to mention how rude they are and reluctant to provide any help or compensation for their disorganization.
I just got back from a Spirit Airlines round trip flight from DFW to Oakland CA and back. When I got to the airport, I had already checked in but the lady told me I had to stand in line because the information on my bag was confusing. My initial conformation email had me down for one Carry on bag and nothing checked, but when I got my boarding pass it printed out that I had one Check in bag and nothing carry on. I went to the counter to make sure of what to do with my bag (just one and it met all TSA requirements, so it wouldn't have mattered how it traveled, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't being charged for both.) When I got to the counter, the agent was very polite and told me that I HAD paid for both bags. I told her I only had the one bag and needed a refund on my carry on since I would be checking the only bag I had. She helpfully handed me a customer service number and told me to call at my earliest convenience to get the refund. I took the number and called as soon as I got home from my trip. When I called the customer service representative, I was met with an attitude as if I was putting her out by calling. I explained what had happened and that I was told I would receive a refund and she proceeded to tell me it was impossible to get a refund. Her exact words were, "We don't refund bags. Period." I asked her if I could speak with her supervisor as I didn't feel it was fair to be charged for a service that I didn't use. She told me that she couldn't get a supervisor because they were all busy assisting other customers and that they would just tell me the same thing anyway. She said that there was no note on my account saying that I was over charged for bags. I told her I could get in touch with the airport and speak with the woman who checked my bag in order to have her make a note. I told her I could even go back to the airport in case they needed to see my ID. She told me that even if I did so, and the agent made a note, it was still not possible to get the refund because she didn't note it to the account at the time of travel.
In essence, I spent about 20 minutes on the phone trying to understand why I was being charged for something I never used, and I was treated terribly. Not only that, but on both my flights the rides were very bumpy and the planes were dirty. The seats didn't recline and the plane smelled very badly of urine. Both my flights were delayed, and my bag was on the wrong turn-style when I arrived back to DFW. The people I sat next to were so upset about how delayed the flight was and that we didn't receive any compensation for it, and then they found one of their bags on the turn-style for the Oakland flight, and the other bag at the Chicago flight turn-style (which is where I found mine after an hour and a half of waiting for my bag).
Overall, I am VERY disappointed with Spirit. I planned on using Spirit again as I fly frequently since my husband lives in CA, and I didn't really mind that they were unorganized and a little dirty because I thought the price would be worth it for only a three hour flight, but when they are rude and basically STEAL money from you for a service you didn't receive BECAUSE they are unorganized, it is unacceptable. I will NEVER fly Spirit again and I would strongly discourage anyone else to.
CEO Spirit Airlines
2800 Executive Way,
Miramar, FL 33025
Dear Mr. Baldanza:
Like many others, I am an avid traveler, both for business and pleasure. Having this lifestyle has taught me a lot about flexibility and patience along with the value of customer service. My background is in business and I have learned that those companies that place high importance on customer service are the ones left standing when others fail.
I recently chose to experience Spirit Airlines for the first time. I was impressed by your ultra low cost carrier model and the flight routes. However, I am now convinced that the hassle, tears and utter disrespect caused by your company were not worth the cheap fare.
My younger sister and I chose to travel to Puerto Rico via Spirit Airlines. I flew from Boston with two layovers while she flew from Detroit with one layover. The trouble for her began when she forgot her phone in the car. Our mother ran it in to Spirit over 90 minutes prior to takeoff and spoke with a representative who said she would take it straight to my sister at her gate. The woman never appeared, nor was my sister paged. When I tried to contact Spirit customer service, I spoke with Paul, a manager in Bangalore about connecting me with Spirit baggage claim in Detroit. He was completely powerless to give out a phone number accessible to anyone with online access or a phonebook! His recommendation was to look it up online myself – which I would have been happy to do if Spirit had not put me on a five hour layover! My mother tried calling from her end. It took over two hours and eight frustrating calls to find someone competent enough to find the phone.
The trouble on my end started when I boarded my first flight. There was insufficient space provided for carry-on luggage, even though the airline encourages only having carry-on. A flight attendant took my bag from me and asked my seat number, saying that she would take my bag and bring me a ticket. I assumed that she was placing my bag at the front of the plane. However, when she did not give me a ticket after takeoff, I became worried and asked what she had done with it. She had checked it, but she was not sure where it would turn up, nor did she have a tracking ticket for me. Her solution: Just de-board the plane during our layover, exit the terminal, find my bag at the luggage pickup, go through security again, and get back on the next flight, hopefully in time and having more space to store my bag. When I exited the plane, I spoke with seven staff members and was appalled by the lack of customer service and of empowerment to help resolve the issue. I did end up going to baggage claim and speaking with ONE kind and helpful person in the Fort Lauderdale Spirit Baggage Claim. Unfortunately, he could not find my bag. Thus, I rushed back through security and boarded my plane, now worried that Spirit had managed to lose my carry-on bag. When we landed in Puerto Rico, we waited for an hour and thankfully, magically, my bag did appear – without a tag and with my outer clip stolen. As I am on the road for nine months and the bag was 50% of my belongings, I was grateful.
Losing a bag is common among all airlines so I let my anger go. However, I was soon to discover that the incompetent staff, rude attitudes and complete disrespect for clients run deep in the culture of Spirit Airlines.
On our way home we arrived at the terminal in Puerto Rico almost two hours early to check-in in for my sister’s flight home. She was to depart San Juan at 3:15am and my flight was around 6:58am. When we arrived we soon discovered that her flight to Fort Lauderdale had been cancelled. How did we discover this? By waiting in line for over four hours and hearing rumors. Not once did the Spirit staff find the decency to explain what was going on. When we finally made it to the front of the line, I watched, appalled, while Jose, a Spirit Customer Service Representative, allowed a friend of his to cut in front of us and check in, even though they had just arrived. (They gave each other a high-five while I asked why he was not serving us.) Why the long wait? Why the total lack of communication? Why the rude behavior? It certainly was not because they were short staffed. I counted five people standing around talking about their holidays behind the counter, while we waited.
When we did finally speak with someone, she was going to put my sister, who graduated high school the week prior, on a tentative flight out of the country after me. I explained that we are family and that she must fly out before me or on the same flight, but not after because 1) she does not speak Spanish and 2) I had seen enough to know not to trust the competence of the Spirit staff. When I called the customer service number, their only response was that they would fly her out within two days without making sure she was safe in a hotel and that all other information was up to the staff in the departing terminal. Wow. Spirit told me to leave my little sister alone in a country where she does not know the language and does not own a credit card. What a brilliant idea.
After waiting for another two hours, we stood by the gate and prayed that she could get on standby for my flight. The staff did nothing to make sure she was moved to the front of the list as to not separate family. Thankfully, she was one of the last people to make it on.
Once in Fort Lauderdale, we tried to speak with a customer service representative again to find out what our options were. Strangely, there was no one who would take the time to help! We exited the terminal and went to the ticket counter where one person was kind enough to give us some advice.
My flight back to Boston was delayed. Her flight to Detroit was delayed by over 45 minutes. My sister sat down on her confirmed seat to Detroit after a seven hour layover (please keep in mind that we cut our trip short in order for her to be back home in time for an event that evening, which she was forced to miss). Moments later, another person appeared with the same seat assignment! My sister was pushed to tears for the third time that day. They escorted her off the plane and told her she was not even in the computer, even though Spirit had given her a ticket and told her she was good to go. Thankfully, a seat opened and she was able to go home. What would have happened if the flight was full? I am terrified to even think about it.
As a working professional and as a family person, I am utterly disgusted by the behavior and the deplorable treatment of customers exhibited by the vast majority of the Spirit staff. As one who regularly provides travel advice to many people, I am positive of only one thing when it comes to Spirit Airlines: This is the worst company (not just airline) that I have ever come in contact with and whatever a customer might “save” monetarily will be lost through the airline wasting their customer's time and treating them with less dignity than a piece of expendable furniture.
It is my hope that you as the CEO will take this letter seriously and begin to change the culture of the organization. Great airlines are needed and you have some of the infrastructure in place. Now act like you care for continued business.
FOLLOW-UP: Spirit Airlines did respond to our letter with an apology stating that this is not normal behavior for the airline. No concessions were made to rectify how we were treated. Strangely, the letter was never finished...the sentence trailed off and the last two letters of the mail read "fu". Coincidence? I think not. What a disappointing company.
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- To whom it may concern,
On Saturday, March 8 I contacted Spirit Customer Service to change a flight that was previously booked. The reason for the change was due to my Mother having a physical health issue that impaired her ability to walk.
The original flight was booked a week ago to Florida and my Mother’s vacation was scheduled to March 17. Due to severe pain in my Mother’s leg and back, her vacation was abruptly changed since she had required a Flight for immediate return to Chicago. You’re probably wondering why my Mother didn’t choose to go to a Hospital in Florida or be seen by a Doctor in Florida. My Mother is elderly and the type of person that doesn’t feel comfortable dealing with strange doctors or healthcare providers.
While speaking with your Spirit representative, I had my Mother on conference and provided details about my Mother’s emergency situation. I expressed the need for wheelchair assistance due to my Mother’s immobility. During the flight/ticket booking phase, your Spirit rep informed me the charge was $268, I was also on the Spirit website with a confirmed ticket price of $253. The Spirit rep advised me the price is the price for $268 including a baggage check fee. I explained to the rep the fee of $253 which included the baggage check fee. The Spirit rep placed me on hold and then came back to advise there will be a “One-time courtesy” adjustment.
Due to nature of my call, reason for changing flight information and after dealing with your Rep; it got me thinking. Your airlines doesn’t seem to take into consideration emergency situations where one’s health is a factor for changing a flight. I called your airlines for assistance but after speaking to your rep and had I known, I would have never wasted my time calling Spirit to reschedule and just done it online without the hassle. This simply goes to show that your airlines don’t have any consideration about a person’s extenuating circumstances and seems more money hungry. I will never book a flight with Spirit Airlines ever again and tell all of my friends, family and business associates never to consider using your airlines for their traveling purposes either.
I am extremely disgusted with the way your company handled this situation. Granted your Spirit rep started to consider my Mother’s needs after we expressed the urgency for flight change and accommodations needed. If I would have never mentioned the price from the internet your airlines we would have been overcharged for the flight. Seems to me that your airlines does this to many customers when flight changes are needed but until a person like myself references the price your airlines provide via Spirit airlines vs. Spirit rep things change. I shake my head at your company with disgust, I will be contacting the Rip-off Report and will definitely blog about this experience on social media. I hate it when a company overcharges for services, especially for people that don’t know any better.
Buy beware, I think not it’s more of buyer will be aware after I inform others. Especially after all the talk of airline issues in the news with the bigger companies, I would have thought your airlines would be on the up and up.
WESTFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS -- I decided to book Spirit Airlines after reading so many negative reviews. I am a frequently flier but the Non-stop round trip ticket price from BOS-MYR was unbelievably low. I was first taken back by the baggage fees but then decided it was till worth the savings and decided to suck it up. Then I couldn't believe that you actually had to pay to reserve an actual seat. Again, I sucked it up and waited to be assigned our seats. I arrived at the airport 2 hours before my flight and all went well. I started thinking "wow, this airline isn't that bad".
My family and I board the flight and we were pretty impressed with the interior look of the plane. It was a newer aircraft and looked very clean. I sit down and again I was taken back this time by the seat space and also the fact that the seats do not recline AT ALL. We were cramped in like cattle. Then minutes before take-off the real nightmare begins. The Captain announces over the intercom that there is a document issue and we would be delayed by 10 minutes. Awe, not so bad! 20 minutes later the Captain is back on the intercom telling us that he has bad news for us and there was a problem with the personnel and the flight had to be canceled. They ordered us all of the plane and advised us to all go back to the ticket counter.
Since we were at the back of the plane the line was huge. We were advised that we had two options: Get a full refund or book on another flight with them in the near future. Another flight in the future not this date but the earliest was three days away. I called the customer service number and inquired if I could get a refund over the phone to prevent the lengthy wait in line with my two small crying children. The customer service agent told me he couldn't issue a refund because the flight was in the air and was only 10 minutes delayed. Are you kidding me there were 200 passengers in line there was no plane in the air.
So, after waiting 3 hours in line for my refund I was offered a $50 voucher to be used on Spirit within 60 days. Are you kidding me I told them to keep their voucher because I would be filing a complaint. This cancellation has cost me 100's in prepaid ticketed events that I had pre-purchased for my family. I also had a prepaid Auto Rental that I have lost money on as well as one night hotel for not canceling within 72 hours. There was absolutely no compassion shown by any of the employees at the airport or on the phone. This was not a weather related or mechanical cancellation but a straight up error by your company. Here I am typing this E-Mail as my 2 small children are crying in the backround because Spirit Airlines ruined our vacation. How can you offer me a $50 voucher and have no compassion is beyond me! I will be looking forward to hearing from you regarding this serious problem.
Another thing. I have noticed that when their flights have been delayed (or cancelled) the info through http://flightstatus. com and http://tripit. com does not update -- the cancelled flight was still showing On Time three hours later. I guess they don't have much incentive to make timely updates of bad news.
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- I have traveled internationally for business and pleasure for the last 20 years extensively and I have to confess, Spirit Airlines is perhaps the worst airline I have ever flown with or had dealings with.
My disappointment initially started when I booked a flight for my husband and myself to Costa Rica. Your website is both frustrating and time consuming for your consumer. Every single thing the customer may want to do, for example, sit with their husband on a flight is all at an extra charge!
We persisted and finally had a booking. Booking reference KBI2WA and departed on March 24, 2013 and returned to San Jose to fly home to Orlando on March 29, 2013.
On arrival at our gate for our departing flight â Flight 756, departing at 12.30 PM, we settled in for a wait before boarding. Over the intercom came the repeated message, that Spirit Airlines were seeking passengers to step off the flight in return for a âFREE ROUND TRIP TICKET TO ANYWHERE SPIRIT FLIESâ in return for taking the 1am flight to Orlando later that night. Initially we ignored the message, but after the 9-10th request we went to the desk to inquire if the offer was really as good as it sounded and were reassured that not only would we receive a voucher for a free flight, but a hotel room close to the airport, meal voucher and transportation to and from the airport. We were also assured that our suitcases would be available. After much discussed with the Spirit Airlines staff we decided to avail of the offer which was our mistake.
We were issued the vouchers and guided to collect our luggage! Well we would have collected our luggage except it was not available! But in great âSpiritâ fashion your ground crew did not care! âOh well Ms Hamilton, sorry about thatâ We were now faced with 10 hour wait and NO personal items. A cab fare and $150 later spent at Walmart we finally had what we needed to spend the waiting time comfortably before our return to the airport for the 1am flight.
It would take too long to explain to you the ridiculous screening undertaken by Spirit before boarding the flight, not TSA, not security, but Spirit Airlines and from what we could see the main purpose of the exercise was to ensure passengers had no drinks or food so they would be forced to spend more money with the your airline on board, I am surprised at this stage you donât charge for water or using the restroom but sure this day us coming and fast!
Once home we called Spirit to make our âfree round trip booking to anywhere that Spirit fliesâ only to be told that the dates we wanted to fly were black out dates! Imagine our surprise when we heard this as this had not been part of any discussion or information provided by ANY Spirit staff member in San Jose.
We waited a few weeks and called again to meet our booking deadline, and spoke with Customer Service on 5-20-13 for over 1 hour and 30 minutes to try to get a schedule a flight to use our âfree voucherâ
I provided the customer service representative with over 9 different options a far in the future as February 2014 to try to find dates that we could fly. After almost an hour he finally found some dates (not the dates we wanted to fly) and we secured the times. When it came to the final booking your Customer Service representative advised we would have to pay $468.00 for the booking! I inquired why do we have to pay this amount, we were advised it was a âFREE ROUND TRIP TICKET TO ANYWHERE SPIRIT FLIESâ .
Your customer service representative went on to advise me that the fare was $73.00 per person and the remaining fees we had to pay were taxes! Free round trip flight.. seriously !
There is NOTHING free about Spirit and we should have known better than to have trusted you or any of your employees of this airline.