Spirit Airlines

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Vouchers for Being Bumped Were Worthless - Might as Well Be Toilet Paper.
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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

cc: File
Posted to my3cents.com

So I guess my message to users of my3cents.com is:
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trmn8r on 07/11/2012:
You're right. Spirit must assume customers will be thrilled, because I could not find contact information on their website. Here's a suspicious quote I did find there:

"Obviously we are proud to have broken the rules and created arguably the best airline in the Americas. But don't take our word for it; book Spirit for your next trip so you can see first hand what everyone is raving about. We must warn you however, you may kick yourself for not switching to Spirit years ago."

What a load of garbage. From what I hear Spirit is one of the worst.
bob932304 on 07/12/2012:
I had a similar problem with USAir vouchers. On the phone I had to keep coming up with dates I could fly, the clerk could not tell me what was available until I gave specific dates. It was very time consuming and I finally gave up. I lived about 1/2 hour to the airport, so I went there and the ticket agent was excellent - she just kept scrolling through flights and asking me if that was OK. (The clerk on the phone was incapable to do that.) When there were dates that were satisfactory to me I too them. In person I was very pleased, on the phone it was a disaster.
prince caesar on 07/12/2012:
Those vouchers are for suckers. They hope some unsuspecting sucker would be willing to give up their seat in thinking they have another "free" flight. They would have to FORCE me out of the seat before I would take any airline's scam vouchers.
Janel on 04/09/2013:
I feel as if I to have been tricked. I also have tried twice and both times have spoken to people who do not have good English. Only to be told that every date I tried (non-peak) there were NO flights available to any destination? REAL NICE SPIRIT...way to get unsuspecting customers to take vouchers then not honor them!
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Spirit Airline Lack of Respect for Its Customers!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- June 26, 2012

Mr. Ben Baldanza
Chief Executive Officer
Spirit Airline
2800 Executive Way

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.

Thank you.

Joo Y Park
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Alain on 06/27/2012:
Spirit is a bargain airline and you aren't likely to get stellar customer service from them. At least you've offered some solutions for them to consider, which is laudable, and they did finally, albeit reluctantly, give you a refund.
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After over 100,000 miles I found the worst airlines ever...Spirit
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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.
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CowboyFan on 08/28/2012:
When you buy a non-refundable ticket, you gamble that you will be able to go on the flight. There is flight insurance which would help, but apparently this was not purchased. The alternative would have been to buy a refundable ticket, but that would cost much more. The airlines is right to abide by the contract you agreed to, and charge the op for the changes.

The problem with using a debit card, is that it will take some time for the money to get back into the account. Whether the delay is reasonable or not, I don't know. It is best to use a credit card when purchasing on-line, because that way it merely charges to your card and there is no immediate loss of money.
JACKIE on 09/06/2012:
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Never again--worst travel experience of my life, and I travel a LOT!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
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.
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Alain on 08/15/2012:
Spirit gave only what they had to to be compliant with the law: A refund for the flight missed because of their misinformation. You can file a quick complaint at http://airconsumer.ost.gov and http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml It'll join the other numerous complaints about Spirit. Spirit is a bargain airline, though, and really doesn't care about their well established reputation for poor customer service. If you need to fly and get someplace within a reasonable time frame, don't fly Spirit. Take a normal airline or a bus.
Jackie on 09/06/2012:
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Spirit Staff Threaten Passengers/Poor Service
Posted by on
Spirit Airlines,

Our first time flying with Spirit. We are retired and live in a 407 unit retirement community.

We departed on July 30th from Tampa to Ft Lauderdale to Costa Rica flt 571 to 755. The flight was pleasant and we realized I needed to upgrade my seat on return flight on August 4th flt 756 CR to Ft Lauderdale. Then Ft Lauderdale to Tampa flt 574. So I paid the 60 dollars extra and I changed my seat from 24B to seat 1C. My wife remained in 24C (she is a small lady and the jammed rear seats were okay for her).

On departure day the gate lady said in broken English "oh your wife is not sitting with you, would like her to sit with you?..I said sure but will it cost me more to have her sit with me ? She said "no extra charge" and moved us to 4D and 4E. I thought how nice an upgrade for my wife at no addtl charge.

However when we boarded the flt 756 we found that 4D and 4E were NOT upgraded seats that only row one was upgraded seats. So I approached the lead flight attendant and told him that my upgraded seat had been changed at the gate and I paid the extra money for NOTHING. He said we are 2 1/2 hours late on our departure (flight 756 left at 2:40pm not at 12:30 due to the door being damaged) and he said you must talk with my manager..he pointed to a lady who walked on plane with a walkie talkie, but she said "sir I am busy with the flight delay, I will try to help you later." Well as the flight departed the lead flight attendant motioned to a black male and white female to the rear of the plane and allowed them to sit in 1C and 1D.

I approached this attendant again once we were in the air and told him what is going on that I had paid for that 1C seat and he gave it to the black male. He said very rudely he doesn’t have anything to do with seating and that it was" tuff" for me I shouldn't have switched seats! I said the gate lady did it, why would I pay $60.00 dollars more for the seat and then give it up to sit in standard seat? He again said that is your problem take it up with Spirit when we land, again very rudely.

I asked for his name and he "refused" to give it to me..his name badge was covered by his smock..he said "they do not have to give out their names!" (I missed his name when he had initially said the crews name at departure) but he refused to repeat it to me. The other crew members also refused to give me his name. ( I saw him speaking to them as he pointed at me).

So I got out my camera and during the flight I took his photo..he walked over to me and said very nastily "you are not allowed to take photos in this plane!" I then hid my camera as I though he was going to take it from me and I said nothing back to him, I was afraid he would hurt me. ( I am a 63 year old disabled American War vet and I was afraid he would start a fight with me).

The lady passenger in seat 2A witnessed and heard most of what he did and said to me, she told me to contact Spirit and they could contact her upon her return from New York and she would back up what I have told you. She was a 10 year veteran airline stewardess and never heard of any regulation that a passenger can't take photos in the plane and she also saw this lead attendant give the row 1 (one) seats to that black male and white female in spite of me infor4ming him that I had paid for the seat. I had the flight documents that showed the seat upgrade and still have all documents.

I have the photo of this lead attendant who was identified by your ticket personnel at Tampa airport that his name was Rodney? He is a black male, bold headed, clean shaven, slim build and maybe 5'7". Your Spirit staff at Tampa airport listened to the entire issue, looked over my documents, confirmed on their computer and were wonderful in their understanding and issued me the credit for the 1C seat upgrade with an apology and polite attitude. They also confirmed that he should have given me his first name, that the other attendants should have as well and that there is NO regulation about me taking photos on the plane.

They were most helpful and treated me with respect and dignity not with rudeness, intimidation and poor customer service like Rodney did. His photo is attached.

I am totally upset with Spirit airlines and the fear and intimidation I received by one of your employees, he could have handled irt with grace and professionalism but I believe he was upset that I caught him giving up the two seats in row l one to a friend of his.

I am sure you will do nothing about this incident, but I had to air out my frustration and fear to Spirit Airlines.

It is also a shame that you don't provide any phone numbers for Spirit at the Tampa Airport, I lost my drivers license at the Spirit counter at 9:30 PM on August 4th while I was talking to your staff about the complaint and I also needed a break down explanation on some of the charges to my credit card. Your broken English speaking Spirit rep, at your 1 800 number spoke with me 4 times for about 10 seconds each time then excused himself on 3 occasions to get advice from his supervisor (he placed me on hold). He also refused to provide me with a contact number at Tampa Airport for the Spirit ticket counter or any contact number. I stayed on the phone for more than 1 hour (one hour) and after the 3rd time he put me on hold he never returned to the phone. Spirit Airlines has the worst customer service I have ever experienced with an airlines.

PS..we were told to arrive at San Jose Airport CR 3 hours prior to departure, which we did but, the Spirit employees arrived 2 hours prior to departure, so we had to wait at the counter for one hour until they arrived.
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jktshff1 on 08/07/2011:
"issued me the credit for the 1C seat upgrade with an apology and polite attitude" seems as if they did what they could under the circumstances. They are not going to get into disciplining an employee with you.
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Spirit is not responsible or liable for making connections...
Posted by on
I am about to make a trip to Peru and I have three tickets from Orlando to Lima, Peru. Since my wife family live in Piura, Peru we have to take another plane with a Peruvian airlines to our final destination. WE bought our tickets wit Spirit on December 2010 for the trip Orlando-Lima and the tickets for Lima-Piura on March 25. We were supposed to arrive at Lima on June 8,2011 around 10:00pm and have to wait until 6:00am for the other flight but three days ago (4/3/2011) I received an email from Spirit telling me that they change our 06/08/2011 flight to 06/07/2011, so now we have to wait for 32 hours instead of 8 hours. I call customer services and they said they could give me a total refund but that is no good for me because my tickets were very cheap 4 months ago. I ask if they can pay for my family transportation to a hotel in Lima and vouchers to eat and transportation back to the airport and they said NO.

They think that if you arrive there on time you have no problem, but what about if you arrive 32 hours too early? I don't as to change the flight date and it cost too much to change the date on three tickets because Spirit decide to change the flight date.

I am paying the FLIGHT INSURANCE and I call the company and they said that the insurance is only good for a flight delay. They don't understand that is the flight is delay or is change one day before YOU HAVE TO WAIT TOO..
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olie on 04/07/2011:
This is a risk one takes when booking so far in advance of travel.

How much would one night's stay, meals, and transportation cost? If it's less than rebooking, go for it.

(College.olie is currently in Lima for her semester abroad. I hope you have as great a time as she's having.)
momsey on 04/07/2011:
I would imagine it would be a much worse situation if they moved the flight to a day later. I don't see why they would be responsible in this situation. They're still doing what they said they'd do, just earlier than you wanted. You were offered a refund. Get a cheap hotel for a day and relax between flights.
Anonymous on 04/08/2011:
Two problems. Booked separately with two different PNR's (confirmations) Non allied carriers - neither works with one another.
Another caution when booking with low cost carriers, ie. Spirit, Southwest, etc aren't allied with other carriers, thus if you are late or in this case too early... its simply too bad.
yoke on 04/08/2011:
The only issue I see is that the airline changed the flight to a different day without consulting the passenger first, but they were under no obligation to have it coinside with the other flight.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Spirit DOESN'T Save You Money/time! Worst Travel Experience EVER!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51

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.
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$9 Fare Club - Deliberate and fraudulent charges
Posted by on
MIRAMAR, FL -- Folks, this is a complaint against Spirit Airlines, and a warning to all that you PLEASE reconsider when thinking about flying them.

I just got off the phone w/ a "Michael Bay" just now at their Customer Service office, which I understand is in India. (How fun he shares that name with a famous movie director).

This company is EXTREMELY shady. PLEASE, people, beware!!!

I've been over-billed. I tried to cancel my membership (which I never wanted in the first place...I just wanted the cheap fare). I couldn't log in to their website to do so, so I went to their "password reset" option for a few days running. I NEVER was sent an email w/ my "new" password and information on how to access my account online. However, they do send numerous emails weekly regarding their promotions. Funny how they can do send out those kinds of emails with no problem, but not my numerous requests for password resetting. Please note: Many complaints you'll find online share common theme...that is, their website "doesn't work". I am in the IT field and know my way around websites. This is deliberate on their part. Clearly they disable certain functions on their site so that you are not able to use them. Most common, in my experience: Logging in, requesting a password reset, applying dollars-off coupon code, and checking in on-line to save $5 off baggage fee.

Well, these thieves also have NO 800-number on their site. It's virtually impossible to get to their "customer service" unless you go to Google and research to see what their phone number is. For future reference, it's: 800-772-7117.

After going back-and-forth for 40 minutes with a customer service gentleman (and in fairness, he WAS a kind gentleman) who I am assuming is in India, based on his heavy accent, I was transferred to his supervisor, a "floor manager" named "Michael Bay" (Seriously, if you're going to choose a fake name, is it because you want such a popular one that when someone tries to Google you there are a zillion search results?! Next thing you know they'll have a "John Smith").

They don't refund your money. I explained that I am not in a financial position to afford the $59.95 charge; that I was charged unjustly; that I'd love to travel if I could, but that at this point in life those $60 need to go for rent, food and gasoline. They don't care. I explained how I'd been trying to cancel for days and couldn't get through, next thing you know, they're billing my card. I wasn't allowed to cancel, I couldn't log in. This entire operation is shady!!! I was finally given a $59.95 credit for future travel--which is great, assuming I could afford to travel, which I CANNOT at this time. Oh, and you must book and pay for a flight within 60 days of receiving said credit, or lose it altogether. UNBELIEVABLE, these people.

I told "Michael Bay" that he should be ashamed, and that I knew HE knew he worked for a shady company with poor business practices, and that I hoped one day he'd leave it and go to a reputable one. Indians are generally such good people, and they truly believe in karma...well, this Michael Bay needs to watch out, because what he has coming back to him is unreal.

Spirit Airlines is bad folks, please don't fly them, even if you think it's your only option. They are rip-off artists and have no Customer Service. They'll place you on hold forever in the hopes that you'll get fed up and hang up. It's very frustrating because they have no empathy or sympathy and will absolutely NOT refund your money, even when they've taken it unjustly. Beware, please!!!
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Ryan84 on 07/02/2011:
Yikes! Unfortunately you joined their $9 club and are held to the same rules as everyone else. I do agree that Spirit is a very shady airline. I stay away from them at all costs. Once all the fees start to add up that $39 fare is more like $139. I fly Jetblue religiously. They don't charge for a first checked bag and their customer service reps go above and beyond to accommodate you, plus they all speak CLEAR English! I will always spend the extra money to fly Jetblue over some other airlines.
trmn8r on 07/02/2011:
The $9 club registration page clearly states the annual fee is $59.95, and that it is non-refundable.

The 800 number is also easily found on the Spirit website. Under Site Map, there is a "contact us" link. Go there, and under "How do I contact Spirit about the $9 club" there is this:
"You may contact Member Services on spiritair.com or at (800) 772-7117.
Please have your FREE SPIRIT number or the email address associated with your account to allow us to better assist you."

You seem to feel that Michael Bay mistreated you. Other than working for Spirit, what did he do that leads you to feel he should fear Judgment Day?
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Worst COMPANY Overall
Posted by on
Ben Baldanza
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.
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Ben There on 07/26/2009:
You get what you pay for with Spirit... One thing to note is that all airlines will gate check bags once overhead is full, and they normally just have a handwritten tag at best. Also, it was silly to assume your adult sister would be given special treatment over all the adults just because she was not as mature in your eyes as others.
Anonymous on 07/26/2009:
First problem (phone) was caused by your sister. Second, by everyone taking everything they own on a flight, not Spirit's fault. Third, to not separate another family what if they bumped you for someone else. Last, Puerto Rico is not a country. As a business major it's evident it wasn't in international business.
DisputeTheCharges on 07/26/2009:
"I have learned that those companies that place high importance on customer service are the ones left standing when others fail."

Low cost carriers don’t need customer service to get customers. They just have to offer the lowest fare and presto they have customers. Low cost carriers are nothing more than greyhound buses with wings. It doesn’t matter if it’s AirTran, Allegiant, JetBlue, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, USA 3000 they are all the same cheap fare no service airlines.
jktshff1 on 08/14/2009:
TBQ has a problem facing reality.
Texas Beauty Queen on 08/14/2009:
I have no problem facing reality..I do have a problem with rude, self righteous people.
Anonymous on 08/14/2009:
Texas no offense, but how important do you think you are. To expect to have a spare plane handy for your inconvenience.
PepperElf on 08/14/2009:
everyone knows only * I * get to have spare airplanes waiting for me
Texas Beauty Queen on 08/14/2009:
Very important!
jktshff1 on 08/14/2009:
And the replies stated in clear, simple terms that a person is responsible for understanding the terms and conditions that a carrier provides. Airlines are not baby sitters which is what the younger sister apparently needs.
PepperElf on 08/14/2009:
but everyone thinks themselves important

the real question is ... do others think you important enough to give you what you want :)

I think it was from notalwaysright; it was a story about a business man who was furious with the employees for a small airline and said "Do you know how important I am?"

The employee replied, "If you're flying with us, not very."
Texas Beauty Queen on 08/14/2009:
All consumers are important. Anyone that pays for transportation should get what they paid for. It is not an unreasonable request. FYI American Airlines at KFHRA does have a plane on standby for such problems. I have experienced the benefit of that standby plane. Mock me all you want...as long as consumers through their money at an airline that does not care about them nothing will change.
PepperElf on 08/14/2009:
but important enough to keep standby airplanes for each passenger?

I guess they could do that... might make the fares go up a hella lot tho
Anonymous on 08/14/2009:
TBQ, yes passengers pay to get from Point A to Point B, but things happen, such as bad weather and maintenance issues. You have to bring a dose of patience when you fly. And if you are that important, then buy your own frickin plane and hire your own pilot. With your attitude, airlines are better off and don't need your money.
Texas Beauty Queen on 08/14/2009:
geeeeez cranky aren't we!
Anonymous on 08/14/2009:
Not at all, just tired of people like you
PepperElf on 08/14/2009:
cranky? not in the least

just reasonable.

there are a lot of "demands" people have ... and what they don't realize is that often these demands or requests might actually have other consequences, especially if they will incur a cost.

as for having a good flight I recommend these words of wisdom from Nathan Fillion:
DebtorBasher on 08/14/2009:
"Having this lifestyle has taught me a lot about flexibility and patience along with the value of customer service."

It doesn't sound like it's taught you much.
Anonymous on 08/14/2009:
Things happen. Like flat tires or deaths in the family or illnesses that would cause a passenger to be late or unavailable for a flight and of course being that as yaya pointed out airlines have things happen too I'm sure the airlines are more than understanding and are more than happy to cancel or change flights free of charge. Because that would only be right because stuff happens.
Eloise on 08/14/2009:
'How important do you think you are?' (wally world)
'Very important!' (Texan Beauty Queen)
I hate to be the bearer of bad news Texan, but not so much. You are just like the rest of us. I have a feeling that the reaction of the customer service reps. is a direct response of homw you were treating them.
Anonymous on 08/14/2009:
There are exceptions that are made for certain situations. I changed many flights for passengers free of charge. Usually cause of bereavement, illness, or cause military orders had changed. Sometimes, I would lower the cost of the ticket. But, I wouldn't waive all fees just because the passenger felt that they were more important than anyone else on the plane.
Ben There on 08/14/2009:
LOL... Most airlines including American do not have extra planes sitting by at most airports. I wished they did, but I know for a fact they don't. Recently I was stuck in Memphis for 6 extra hours because the tire on my AA plane went flat. The gate agent said they were about to cancel and rebook us all on Northwest to DFW except the NWA plane had an engine mechanical so their people were actually sent to the broken airplane I was waiting on. Between the two airlines flying between both of their hubs, there was not a single spare aircraft that either could use.
jktshff1 on 08/14/2009:
TBQ....Can't read can ya? What part of being a responsible and knowledgeable traveler is hard to understand?
Texas Beauty Queen on 08/15/2009:
Continental was responsible for getting me to Hawaii that is what I paid them to do. I don't want excuses. I want action. That is not unreasonable.
PepperElf on 08/15/2009:
only in how far one takes it
Anonymous on 08/15/2009:
TexasBeautyQueen AA does not have a standby a/c at this airport you claim...because KFRHA is an airport that doesn't exist...you have zero credibility.

Too self important, amateur flyer with zero airline status demanding... geesh, charter your own aircraft next time.
Ben There on 08/15/2009:
TBQ - they did get you to Hawaii, just a couple hours late. What action do you want?
PepperElf on 08/15/2009:
that's an excellent point

hell I've been delayed in going to Hawaii quite a few times, and on the bigger airlines.

it's part of going there. and they're always overbooked too

the flight sucks though. only time it didn't bother me was when I was on a muscle relaxant for a sore back. I fell asleep 30 minutes into the flight, and woke up about 30 minutes before landing.

then again, whenever I flew to or from Hawaii, I usually had about 14 hours of travel time to deal with... sometimes more, if one of the flights got delayed

though... hte 5-6 hours in the air over the water wasn't bad... when I compare it to the god-know-how-many-hours I was in the air between seattle and Japan.
Anonymous on 08/15/2009:
I know that answer pepper. Then I get on another plane for another 7 hours. Lots of fun!
PepperElf on 08/15/2009:

the flight to Japan was my longest so far...

the first part wasn't bad... flew to DC, then flew to seattle (might have had a layover but I don't remember).

Slept on the floor at the USO and got up for my next flight at about 3am. stood in line forever, went through another security check.

I was thankful I had an extra change of underclothes and socks in my carryon luggage, cos by then I felt icky.

then the flight to Japan was I dunno... 18 hours?

there were some nice things though, like getting to use real silverware on the flight. granted I know they did that to save money, but it was also nice to be on a flight where they trusted us with metal flatware
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Horrible service!!!
Posted by on
FT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA -- I know this is long, but PLEASE read all of it... It could really save you!!!

Alright... So... I just got back from my week long, much needed, vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. (I had a great time down there.) When I booked the trip, CheapTickets.com showed that Spirit Airlines was the cheapest carrier. I had never heard of them, but figured they wouldn't be much different than any other carrier. Boy was I wrong!!!

Everything started out a week before my flight. After doing some research online, I learned that Spirit charges for checked luggage (as United now does as well). At the time, It was $5 per piece in advance, $10 on the day of your flight. (This went up to $10 and $20 on 20Feb08.) So, I showed up to the airport on Monday (six days before my flight) to pay for my luggage, so I wouldn't have anything to worry about the day of my flight. The guy initially tells me to just do it the day of the flight, but since I had driven down there and paid for parking, I wanted to just get it done with. As I show the desk agent my ID, we says, "Oh! You're active duty military? We don't charge you guys." So, I'm like, "Okay... Well, can I get your name, so I have you as a contact of who told me this?" He gives me his name and I'm on my way.

Morning of check-in... I show up with military ID in hand... Guess what? They tell me that only applies to people in uniform. Little piece of information that was obviously left out. (On another note, I'm always a big fan of the fact that we in the Coast Guard are told not to fly in uniform because of security concerns, but Army does it all the time... So pretty much, all these discounts are available to Army only. Nice.) They end up not charging me for my luggage and I'm on my way.

The rest of the flight is fine, other than the fact that they charge for EVERYTHING on the plane! A can of soda will cost you $2! Not even a cup of water is free!

Return flight... The terminal in Montego Bay is split in two. Our gate is in the half that is under renovation, so there is no air conditioning. Now, Montego Bay is not exactly cold during any time of the year, so it was roasting in there. The flight we were getting on was 30 minutes late getting into Jamaica due to bad weather in Detroit. The plane finally gets there and we all board. 30 minutes late at this point. As the pilots are doing their checks and everything, the APU (External power for the plane during idle) conks out. Now we have no air circulation on the plane. After 45 minutes of sitting there boiling in the heat, they decide to open a couple doors, this helps minimally. Apparently the ground crew is looking for the correct cord for the unit to connect to the plane with. At about the hour point, the crew actually passes out water. (Just tiny cups, and they actually don't charge us... Surprise!) After and hour and a half, they FINALLY push back from the gate. At this point, I know unless my flight to Washington, DC (DCA) that connects in Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) is delayed, I'm missing my flight.

We get into Ft. Lauderdale... Halfway home! Only problem is, I am the first person through customs, first one with my bags, and first one to literally sprint down the concourse to the flight. G-o-n-e. Why does this suck? Well, there are only two flights from FLL to DCA in a day and that was the last one. No one stood a chance of getting on the flight, it was gone. (Despite the fact that the baggage guy told me that if I ran, I'd make it. After training like I have been, there was no way anyone could have been faster.) So, no dice on the flight and I make my way up to the counter to rebook.

Long story short here, Spirit acknowledge that the delay is their fault and they set us (me and two other women) up with a voucher for the taxi to our hotel in Miami and a voucher for the hotel. They also gave use a $9 voucher for dinner and a $7 voucher for breakfast. They tell us that the hotel has a shuttle that will bring us to the airport in the morning.

Upon arrival to the hotel, Spirit has not called and made reservations or anything for the three of us. The hotel ends us taking care of all that, but they advise us that there is no shuttle to Miami airport, let alone Ft. Lauderdale, which was a good 30-35 minutes away. My patience has worn thin at this point and I call the reservation line because no one answers the line at FLL. I tell the reservation guy about the problem with the transportation to the airport and he asks me for my flight info. I give it to him and he pulls up my itinerary. He starts talking about available flights, etc and I tell him, "I don't care about the available flights, I am fine with my flights, please do not change them." I continue to tell him that I just need him to figure out what they are going to do about stranding us at the hotel. I ask to speak to a manager, he puts me on hold then comes back on the line. He starts in with the available flights again. He is CLEARLY not listening and/or comprehending what I need from him. I ask for a manager again and he tell me, "No. Because they have the same information." I ask again and he denies me. He tells me that I just need to call the airport in the morning. I ask the agent for his name and he refuses, I ask him again and he says, 'Thank you for calling Spirit" and hangs up on me. Now that's what I call awesome customer service!

Morning comes and I wake up at 4AM, which is awesome because with everything that happened, I didn't get to bed until midnight. I start calling the airport immediately. No one answers from 4AM until 6AM when I arrive at the airport. (The counter opens at 3AM, mind you.) So, because of this, I had to pay $72.10 for the taxi to get back to the airport. When I go to check in, magically, my reservation is gone. G-O-N-E. Funny, considering that I had a reservation when I left the airport the night before and the only person who had viewed it since was the wonderful person who hung up on me the night before. I find that just a teeny bit to coincidental for my taste, but they do end up getting it back and getting that squared away.

At this point, I ask about reimbursement for the taxi. I am told that I now need to contact corporate (which I emailed prior to writing this) to seek reimbursement. Judging how stellar they have been thus far at taking care of their customers, I'll hold my breath. What makes this even better is that our taxi driver told us that he no longer takes Spirit vouchers because they stiffed him on reimbursement before. Awesome! They won't reimburse cab drivers, how the hell do I expect them to pay me?!?

All the better, is that through this whole situation, everyone at Spirit is VERY apathetic towards us. We pretty much get the, "Sucks to be you treatment". No apologies, no sincerity, no nothing. One of the ladies I ended up in this situation with even got stiffed paying $50 for an overweight bag! To get us home on Sunday, vice Monday, they flew us on a Spirit flight to Atlanta (ATL), then a Delta flight into DCA. When we got our bags in ATL, we had to re-check them with Delta. This woman had already paid and overweight fee for her bag with Spirit and now had to pay an additional one for Delta. *Note: We wouldn't have been in this situation if it weren't for Spirit, so she should NOT have been responsible for this cost.

The Delta flight went smoothly and now I'm back home. What a nightmare though! I have NEVER in my life witnessed such callousness towards customers and such a complete lack of customer service in my life. I will not fly with Spirit again if they paid me. If another flight was $100 more, I'd take it, that's how horribly we were treated.

I just wanted to let everyone know so you can avoid ruining a vacation. Imagine if this had happened on the way down to Jamaica, instead of on the way home! Spirit Airlines does some intra-East Coast flights and A LOT of flights to the Caribbean and Central and eastern-South America. Please take my advice and be warned!!!

Please pass this on! I don't want this to happen to anyone else! If you think my incident is isolated, Google "Spirit Airlines Complains" and you'll see you yourself that this is pretty much par for the course! I wish I had before this!!!
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User Replies:
bargod on 02/25/2008:
These airlines are cheap for a reason, because they nickel and dime you for every little thing. In the end you probably pay more money for the whole trip.
seakris on 02/25/2008:
Well obviously they are cheap, but they weren't that much cheaper than the next airline... AirJamaica wasn't too much more and I highly doubt I would have been treated like this. Southwest is cheap and doesn't do this to people. Point being... Just because it is cheap doesn't mean it is going to be the quality that Spirit is...
bargod on 02/26/2008:
Actually I believe it does. You get what you pay for. Also I have heard quite a few horror stories about them too.
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