Spirit Airlines - Never again--worst travel experience of my life, and I travel a LOT!
Spirit Airlines customer service at gate and ticket counter at O'Hare in Chicago - Complaint
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.