MIRAMAR, FLORIDA -- 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 (**) 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 (**) 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 ** to connect with a manager. After 20 minutes on hold, I was able to speak with the manager, **. After explaining to ** 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 **'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 ** 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, ** 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 ** was adding insult to injury and it was clear that she didn't care about losing me as a customer. ** 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 travellers) 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.
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 2:40 pm 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" tough" 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 thought 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 informing 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 **? He is a black male, bald 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 ** 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 it with grace and professionalism but I believe he was upset that I caught him giving up the two seats in row 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 driver's 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. P.S. 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.
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 ** 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 online 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 ** (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 **). 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 ** 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 ** 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!!!
Beware: Not always you will get a good deal with Spirit and check out for hidden fees in the Taxes and Fees portion of your ticket!! I've flown with Spirit over 14 times in the last 18 months from SJU to FLL, ATL and LGA. Every time that I've flown with them is because they offered a better deal than other airlines.
Initially, the savings that I made compensated for the long lines at the San Juan airport counter (Spirit does not have self-service kiosks at SJU and would not allow you to print your boarding pass from your computer when traveling from San Juan, while all other airlines have kiosks and let you print your boarding pass), paying for onboard beverages, and flying in cramped aircraft and seats and many times in filthy planes. Keep in mind that Spirit cuts the time the plane is on the ground, which means that there is less time, if any, to clean the aircraft.
However, since they started charging for carry-on bags, things changed for the worst and they have lost me as a customer since August 2010 on 4 new travels to Florida, New York, and Atlanta. In each of these four trips I found that Spirit's fares to these locations were higher than Delta and Jet Blue even if I didn't select a seat or pay for a carry-on with Spirit. Therefore it was a no brainer to book with Delta and Jet Blue for a lower fee that would allow me to travel with free carry-on, free onboard entertainment, more comfortable seats, cleaner planes, print my boarding pass and skip the airport counter, while saving money.
I can waive the comfort of selecting a seat without a fee and printing my boarding pass in the comfort of my home or office and I don't mind paying for beverages if at the end of the day, or the ticket I should say, I'm saving a significant amount of money with Spirit. However, unless you are traveling for one day, any decent and clean person that travels for 2-3 days will need a carry-on bag and Spirit will charge you for that!
I really have a problem paying Spirit for carry-on when the so called "onboard carry-on crisis" that they claim slows down the boarding and exit time of passengers, was caused by them when they started charging for checked bags and by putting more seats to an aircraft than other airlines. I will only fly with Spirit again in short 1-2 days trips if I can fit all my stuff in a backpack and I can save at least $70 from the competitors or if I save at least $100 per ticket after paying for carry-on on longer trips.
Otherwise, in my opinion, it is not worth it to go through all the hassles that Spirit represents in terms of long counter lines, cramped planes, uncomfortable seats, filthy planes, extra fees, and lack of onboard entertainment. To all those fellow travelers from San Juan, please be aware that Spirit charges $72.20 per person in TAXES and FEES for a round trip from San Juan to Ft. Lauderdale while Jet Blue only charges $46.20 for the same route and while American Airlines charges $46.20 to Miami and AirTran $46.20 to Orlando, Florida. Shouldn't government taxes and fees be the same regardless of the airline?
On July 3rd, I had scheduled my vacation with my family to go to Panama (Canal). Now I had never flown on Spirit Airlines before this trip, my wife and other family members had flown numerous times to this destination and back. On this faithful day, we were in route to Orlando Fl, to catch our first flight from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale Fl. It was about 3 pm when I received a phone call from a person from Spirit. Now, I've dealt with numerous companies over the years and I know a lot of them now outsource their customer service help to overseas locations, and well, it seems so has Spirit.
It took me almost 45 minutes to decipher what the person was trying to tell me. Basically, he was calling to inform me that my flight from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale had been delayed. He gave me 2 options to start with. To reschedule the flight until the next day, or cancel it completely. I informed him we were already traveling from Valdosta, Ga. and were already on the way to Orlando.
So, after a bit of arguing, he gave me a 3rd option, that he could schedule me on another airline so I could attempt to make my connecting flight from Miami to Panama. The problem though was the new flight was earlier than what we had initially planned, thankfully, we had left early, planning on searching for a low cost parking situation. We arrived with only a few minutes to spare, parked in a high cost parking area, but we made it through security and to our flight on Southwest Airlines.
We get to Fort Lauderdale, and have we have quite a wait for our connecting flight. We have arrived at the terminial with several hours to wait. Finally, the time arrives and, the flight is delayed. (twice in one day?) The time comes and goes, when I notice everyone packing up their belongings and going further into the terminal. I checked and they have changed the gate the flight is going out through. We move with the rest. Finally, they start boarding the flight they get through a couple of the zones, of course, ours was next, when all of a sudden, there is an announcement and we are told that they were going to stop the boarding process. It seems the Pilot hadn't arrived.
They waited for over an hour before they finally cancelled the flight, and had to go back to the check in where we were given vouchers for hotels, meals, and for airline tickets on American Airlines. So, we get our bags, and go wait for the hotel bus. It arrived and we are taken to our hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, I looked at what we were given and I noticed that our ticket was for a flight only a few hours away. We'd barely get 4 hours of sleep before we had to head to Miami International Airport.
Another thing I found out was that all the rest of the people on the flight were given a voucher for all the same things we were, with one exception. We were not given a voucher for the Taxi. See, we were currently in Fort Lauderdale, and our AA flight was out of Miami. A $70 dollar taxi ride away. The rest of the passengers it seems were given this also. We were not. So, while at the hotel, I called Spirit. The poor guy I got on the line didn't deserve what I dished out, but, I had not just one flight, but two flights cancelled in the same day. Then top off the missing portion of the voucher. Well, I was eventually put on indefinite hold, so I hung up and got 3 hours of sleep.
We took advantage of the free breakfast, and I don't know why they gave us all vouchers for free lunch, because our flight was at lunch time. Anyway, our AA flight was uneventful, we arrived in Panama without a single problem. But, this is not the end of our story. I'm writing this from the Fort Lauderdale Airport where we have arrived after our flight back from Panama. When we arrived at the ticket counter in Panama to get our boarding passes, we were informed that the flight was delayed. This delay would be about an hour, but, it would mean we would not make our connecting flight in Fort Lauderdale to Orlando. So, here I am, waiting for the new flight, 6 hours later.
Yes, that's right, I have had 2 flights cancelled, and now one delayed and been rescheduled for the fourth. Well, let me add into this the crazy information I have been given. The poor guy that took my first tirade at Spirit kept going on about how I had to go back to Fort Lauderdale Spirit customer service desk to get the taxi voucher taken care of. So, I'm at the terminal, and find the customer service desk, and I go talk to the lady there, and she tells me that I have to call the corporate office to get the taxi cost taken care of. Yes, you read that right. Catch 22.
Corporate say I have to get the voucher taken care of at the issuing office, and the issuing office says they can't reimburse me, it has to come from the Corporate office. They supposedly put in a note so the corporate office will reimburse us. I won't hold my breath! I have never flown Spirit Airlines before this trip, and until today, I hadn't ever flown Spirit Airlines (I flew Southwest and the American to get to Panama). I will "NEVER" fly them again. This has been the most disappointing travel I have ever made. My actual time in Panama was a blast, although cut short by a day, because some Spirit Airlines pilot decided to take an extra day off.
This is a warning from a formerly loyal customer - NEVER & I MEAN NEVER FLY ON SPIRIT AIRLINES! Their lies to the press that they were helping stranded customers while they were actually totally abandoning us was terrible, but then to receive an email with their latest ad campaign about their STRIKINGLY low fares, what in the hell is wrong with them?
I can only assume this lack of concern combined with their nickel & dime attitude will eventually affect the maintenance policies of their aircraft as well. This company used to be great, but their CEO clearly doesn't believe in customer service.
For at least 10 years, Spirit has been my chosen airline. I used to tell anyone talking about travel how great Spirit is...no more. It will be quite the opposite from now on; I will warn everyone NEVER to fly Spirit. I would like my $9 Fare Club membership refunded, as I will never deal with such a poorly run company again.
I was one of the thousands of travelers stranded & abandoned during your strike. No matter the changes made to your Contract of Carriage on 6/15, Spirit is in material breach. The flight cancellations are within your control. Spirit has been in negotiations w/ the pilots for 4 years, therefore a strike was completely foreseeable, yet nothing was done to mitigate passenger damages.
It was bad enough dealing with the ridiculous cost of last minute one way flights home, the cost of extra days for car rental & hotel, not to mention the vacation ruined by worrying how we would get home. Now your brilliant new marketing campaign touting STRIKINGLY low fares is a total slap in the face! Clearly Spirit thinks harming their passengers & ruining their vacations is a joke.
Do you have a clue as to what the passenger experience is like now? It used to be pleasurable; now you just end up feeling ripped off. Charging for seat selection, charging for beverages, charging for bags...the fees just don't stop. I flew Southwest on the way home & had a completely opposite experience. Their employees were happy & friendly, they didn't charge for every little thing. Nor did I hear a flight attendant rudely contradict the captain over the announcement system, implying that he doesn't know FAA regulations. That's comforting to hear as a passenger!
I don't know what happened to Spirit as a company, possibly a new strategy or management. Whatever it is, it has cost me thousands of dollars extra & left me with an utter disdain for Spirit. Refunding my $39.99 will do little to compensate for my loss, but it would be nice to have a show of good will from Spirit instead of adding insult to injury w/ an ad campaign.
NEVER AGAIN!!! That's all I can say when it comes to Spirit Airlines. At first glance, they may seem like a bargain airline, but when it comes down to it, they're nothing but a RIP OFF!! Where to start? Great price but for what? Seats that are fit for someone 5' or shorter. I'm 5'7" (not exactly a giant), but the metal lining of the magazine pocket ahead of me scraped my knees the whole flight.
Be prepared for some serious cramped spaces not to mention the sounds coming from the plane itself that would lead one to believe it's falling apart. You know it's bad when the flight attendant announces overhead, "Don't worry about the noises you're hearing from under the plane. That's just the hydraulics." I've never taken a flight that sounded like something straight out of the Flintstone era!
You'd also better get your drinks and snacks ahead of time. Complimentary NOTHING! Heaven forbid they offer so much as a sip of water without charging you for it! The flight attendants were virtually invisible the whole time… Until of course they're giving us some incorrect information.
We were supposed to stay on the same plane during our one stop in Ft. Lauderdale enroute to San Juan, PR, but apparently Spirit Airlines decided to change that plan without telling anyone. After some questioning, they informed us that they "needed that plane to go to Santo Domingo instead and you're going to have to check inside the airport to see where to go now."
Once inside, the digital flight boards were all incorrect - they stated that the last flight to San Juan was at 11:20 pm. Convenient since it was now 11:40! The Spirit gate representative assured us, "Disregard those. They're all wrong. Your flight has now been postponed until 2:30 am. They needed your plane for a different route." FABULOUS!
But wait, there's more. Next thing we hear over the intercom, "Now boarding flight to Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico"??? Seriously!!! They don't even know where the hell they're going! Santo Domingo is in the Dominican Republic!! Of course, all four flights that we took with Spirit on our trip were overbooked and delayed - they requested we check our carry-on bags to save space and save time over and over again.
On our return flight, we were at the airport an exhausting 14 hours before our flight since we had been dropped off by bus following a group cruise ship excursion. Unfortunately, we were told that we couldn't check our bags until 2 hours before our flight - awesome!! And without so much as an email notice, they had changed the time of our departure a whole week and a half before our flight. I only knew of the reschedule because I called them after I couldn't find our confirmed flight number online anymore.
Hours after our arrival, we finally boarded our plane to our first stop in Ft. Lauderdale. The plane was in the hanger the entire time, but at the last minute, we were instructed to move to a different gate. No reason why. There were 4 other Spirit flights listed in that area all going out within 5 minutes of one another. All five of them were said to be "on time", though NONE of them even started boarding at their scheduled time of departures. No one communicated to us what was going on!
Worse yet, when we finally did board our plane 1 hour late, we proceeded to sit there in the gate for another hour. No explanation or communication again! Bottom line, I don't care what kind of great fares they may offer, the price you pay in hassle, time wasted, checked luggage (not even 1 bag free), drinks, snacks, aggravation, and adjustment of your own schedule once flight times are changed, it's just NOT WORTH IT!!!
Spirit Air lacked Christmas Spirit! I can't believe they did this, but three of my children were not allowed to board our flight to December 19th, 2009. I had to leave three family members at Gate D11 while we flew to what seemed a disastrous vacation. My Christmas present for my family of 8 was a Dream Vacation on the new Carnival Dream Ship out of Port Canaveral. I paid over $3,600 for eight seats on Spirit air flight 801 for 9 am out of. We paid another $50 to reserve five seats the night before for my two daughters, my wife and her mom to sit with me. My Cruise was another $8,600 on the new Carnival Dream ship.
Spirit Air overbooked our Christmas Flight and bumped 3 of our 8 family members. It began at 5 am with the family getting ready to leave for the airport. We live in and were surprised with a huge line up for Port Huron Customs at the Slushy roads on Hwy 94 caused more stress. We arrived at Spirit Air Ticket counter at 8:10 am for a 9:00 am flight to find a massive line in front of the Spirit counter. My son immediately approached a Spirit employee at the counter and expressed our concern that the large line up would cause us to miss our flight. We were told by the Spirit airline employee that the line was moving quickly and that there shouldn't be a problem.
However, when we finally made it to the front of the line at 8:25 am, we were told that four of our seats were no longer available due to overbooking. The Spirit employee radioed to the boarding gate to request any passengers to volunteers to wait for the 4 pm flight. Off we go to the security check with my wife's 80 year old mother in a wheel chair. She had a double hip replacement. The pins in her hips set off the alarms and detains us.
My eldest daughter was the first to make it to the boarding gate at 8:35 am, and told the Spirit employee at the boarding gate that the rest of the seven family members were just around the corner, as my mother-in-law was in a wheel chair, and due to her metal pins in her hip replacements, we were slightly delayed in approaching the gate. The Spirit employee at Gate D11 told my daughter that the rest of the family had to be in her presence in order to accommodate them, and with that she called up another woman and her 3 grown children who were the only ones left seated in the boarding area.
My eldest daughter watched in disbelief as this Spirit employee told the woman that she and her three children, who were on standby, could get on this flight and proceeded to board them. The rest of my family arrived in time to see the people who were just given our seats walk towards the loading area. The Spirit employee told me that she now only had seats for all but three family members. We were devastated. Our family was told to decide who would stay and who would continue on to. She unsympathetically hurried us into a hasty division with no time for goodbyes, and left us with no offer of assistance or alternative options.
There was not a speck of concern, care, or customer service extended by this Spirit employee. My eldest daughter, my son, and my son-in-law were left to find another way to get to before our cruise departed at 4 pm from Port Canaveral that afternoon. The rest of the family was left on the Spirit flight to worry and wonder what the outcome of their search would be, and whether we would end up all together on our dream Christmas vacation. After a frenzied search at various ticketing counters (with no help at all from Spirit airlines), and through numerous phone calls for any availability on any airline to, my children were fortunate enough to find the last three seats on a Delta flight.
However, these flights, the numerous phone calls to Spirit and Carnival cruise lines, and their newly required transportation to Port Canaveral - minus the rest of their family - came at a huge cost financially and emotionally. A cost that is the direct result of an oversight and lack of sound judgment on the part of a few Spirit Airline employees. The 3 one way Delta tickets to ($1637.56), alternative ground transportation arrangements from to Port Canaveral ($90), and the phone charges acquired due to their search for flights and questions for Spirit ($156.00) totaled $1883.56.
Thankfully upon returning to at 4:05 pm on Dec 26 a Supervisor at Spirit airlines refunded us the cost of three Spirit flights ($1379.60). Upon hearing of our stressful situation and the trauma that was caused due to the unprofessional actions of a Spirit employee on Dec. 19, the supervisor strongly encouraged me to inform of the lack of courtesy and customer service that we received at the start of our journey. At this time I am requesting that reimburses me for the outstanding bills that I have incurred through this horrendous experience, which is $503.96 US.
I made a major mistake flying Spirit Air. I flew from Chicago to Montego Bay via Ft Lauderdale. They charged $25 PER BAG. That was bad enough, but upon arrival in Montego Bay one of my bags was missing. When I complained at the luggage claim desk I was told "it is not a big deal. This happens all of the time." I told them that I had medication in my bag and they could not have cared less. I was issued a $25 voucher and sent on my way.
After a sleepless night (no meds) I was informed they found the bag in Ft. Lauderdale. They refused to put it on the next flight to Montego Bay. I said they could put the $25 I paid them to another airline to get my bag to me ASAP. All I had in my carry-on was a swim suit, t-shirt, and sandals. My bag did not arrive until 7:30 PM! So the first 2 days of my vacation were ruined. Read on it gets so much better!!
When we were checking in upon departure I advised them that one of my bags was paid for since they did not hold up their end of the bargain on the way there. She said either I pay or the bag would not get on the plane. So I handed her my $25 voucher. She refused to accept it stating it could only be used for future travel. I responded asking why would I ever want to fly with them again? She just stood there with her hand out waiting for my credit card.
Upon arriving at the gate for departure the airport monitors and gate display said the flight was on time. I heard rumblings of a delay. I inquired at the gate. It was now 4:00 and we had a 5:00 departure. I was told the plane had mechanical problems and was still in Ft. Lauderdale. I asked how long was the delay going to be because I was on the Spirit connecting flight to O'Hare. She said "don't worry about the connection you will be sleeping in Ft. Lauderdale." I said that I would prefer to be transferred to another airline in order to get home that night. She said she would call her boss.
I waited 30 minutes and inquired again. I was that they would not transfer me. I checked the Air Jamaica desk and found open seats on a direct flight to Chicago. I returned to the Spirit desk and asked to be transferred and they refused. I then asked for my luggage and said I would buy the Air Jamaica tickets on own. They REFUSED to give me my luggage. I said it was not on the plane, because it was still in Florida, and I insisted they got my luggage. They continually refused.
They did not announce the delay until 2 minute AFTER the scheduled departure time! We did not get to Fort Lauderdale until after 10:00 and did not get to bed until after midnight only to get up at 4:00 for the airport shuttle. Keep reading it gets better.
Our flight left on time. When over Atlanta the pilot came on the intercom. He advised us that one of the flight attendants was not feeling well and we would be RETURNING TO FT. LAUDERDALE!!! We flew back dropped her off, refueled, waited for clearance and took off again. So THREE HOURS after we turned around we were over Atlanta again. I called customer service and was told to send this complaint from their website. Guess what? You can't contact them via email.
Like many others, I am an avid traveller, 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 **, 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 deboard the plane during our layover, exit the terminal, find my bag at the luggage pick up, 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 3:15 am and my flight was around 6:58 am.
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 **, 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 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 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.