After some 50 trips with them, I finally have a really nasty SpiritAir horror story. The following is what I sent to Kate Hanni of FlyersRights.com (a very worthy candidate for your support, BTW). This "incident" took place July 26, 2010.
I figured that sooner or later, after about 50 Spirit flights since
3/07, I'd have a good one for you. And you won't believe this one!
I'm writing from Atlanta, where I'm visiting my daughter - as I've done
many times before, I came up via Spirit and a $9-club ticket. I was
booked for return on Spirit flight NK 403, due to leave ATL at 6:50 PM.
As usual, it was a fully booked flight. About an hour before scheduled
departure, the notice board was suddenly changed from 6:50 to 8:00.
Shortly thereafter, an employee said departure would be at 7:57; upon
inquiry, she said it was because the plane was delayed at Myrtle Beach,
SC due to a storm there. Perhaps 30-40 minutes after that, it was
announced that departure would be at 8:42 PM. Shortly thereafter, that
was changed to 9:42 PM; not long after that, to 10:42 PM. By this time,
it was around 8:15 or perhaps 8:30.
We live in Miami Beach and I didn't want my wife having to make the 30
minute drive to FLL in the middle of the night; when I expressed
concern to the gate agents, I was told that, if I wished, they could
rebook me for the following day - Tuesday July 27. I said that I wasn't
quite ready to do that but that if they became aware of even the
slightest possibility that there would be further delay to please
advise me and I would then wish to do so immediately. They promied to
By this time, there was widespread panic and anger. A number of
passengers had connectiond to Panama and to San Juan and weren't
getting satisfactory responses. Spirit continued to blame everything on
the weather so that they could evade any responsibility.
Minutes later, an announcement was made that the flight had been
canceled and that all passengers would have to go to the ticket counter
in the main terminal to be rebooked. Being in my 60s and with a bad
knee, I was among the last to get there. When I did get there, I, along
with everyone else, was being told that Spirit would have no seats
available for any of us until the 6:50 PM flight on WENESDAY JULY 28,
TWO DAYS LATER!! The three young women at the ticket counter insisted
that the airline had no obligation to help anyone in any way because of
"weather" (more on that shortly) and they were dismissive and totally
uninterested in cases involving connection problems, lodging, meals,
parents with toddlers (at least two that I saw) and medical issues
(including mine; I have a heart condition and did not have medications
with me for two more days). There were no supervisory personnel
present. We were told no arrangements would be made with other
carriers, nor would the fact that our tickets had been paid for, in
some cases weeks if not months earlier, would take no precedence over
passengers flying the following day (July 27)
My daughter picked me up, whereupon I called Spirit and spoke with 4
different agents in the course of 3 calls and sedveral ultralong holds,
and was notonly told that nothing could be done - despite my "VIP"
status - but also that I would not even be permitted to come out the
following day and get on a standby wait list. I finally purchased a
1:30 PM return one way ticket for today (July 27) on Delta for $163.10.
This morning I made a few calls to South Carolina starting with the
newspaper in Myrtle Beach and was advised that storm activity had
subsided by the 8 ti 9 PM time period. Spirit could easily have sent
that plane (or another from elsewhere to pick up its stranded
When I get home I am planning to immediately file suit against Spirit
in Miami-Dade County Civil ("small claims') court and use discovery
procedures to mine theirrecfords and subpoena their personnel (believe
me, I've done this many times with various companies and government
agencies)for my additional fare and other expenses, lost work time,
et.al. I'm also planning to publicize the matter in the Miami, Ft.
Lauderdale, Atlanta and Myrtle Beach media and on travel websites.
I will use up my 75K or so Spirit miles but other than that I will
never do business with Spirit again. It would be a good thing if they
ceased to exist, even though I would lose my miles.
Please feel free to share this e mail with anyone and to publish it
anywhere and in any way that you choose. Oh yeah, this will get you
another contribution from me!
I will keep this site posted on further developments. In the meantime, I have been interviewed for an article about Spirit that I am told will appear in the NY Times Sunday travel section on Aug, 15 and on line perhaps a week earlier. Ciao - Richard