Spirit Airlines encountered an issue with a reader’s ticket but all is well that ends well. Here’s what happened.
A Reader’s Issue
A reader wrote in (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an issue she experienced with Spirit Airlines. She and her traveling companion had purchased tickets to Bogota via Fort Lauderdale but before heading home on the return, wanted to switch to another Florida airport with direct flights to her departure city.
Surprisingly, Spirit Airlines has always had a fairly generous cancellation policy, allowing flyers to keep as a credit the unused portion of a ticket and apply it to another. In 2020, with COVID-19 waivers in place, it was even easier to switch flights around as and when they suit.
She contacted Spirit by phone, explained the desired change, and indicated that they were willing to pay extra if there was a different base fare from the new connection point. The agent indicated she understood and canceled the pair’s flights from Fort Lauderdale, switching them to her alternative airport.
However, on the day of travel, it was discovered at the airport in Colombia that their outbound return from Bogota had instead been replaced with just the Florida two-hour flight home. They would need to buy new tickets. With no time to argue, they pulled out a credit card and bought flights back to Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
Upon their return, she waited in line to speak to someone, called, and wrote a detailed email to customer service outlining the issue and the costs incurred. While the turnaround wasn’t instant, the airline, in the end, reviewed the call, found the error, and not only issued a refund and an apology, but also a voucher for $100 each for the passengers.
Changing for the Better
Flying Spirit has gotten an undeservedly bad reputation in the past. While almost every airline charges economy customers for checked bags, Spirit complements its “bare fares” with carry-on bag fees (allowing only a personal item included in the fare), charges for seat assignments, and an extra fee for big front seats at the front of the aircraft.
While customers hate fees, they do love the low fares and the overall cost of the flight is lower. Spirit Airlines flights are now more likely to get you there on time, flies newer aircraft, and offer a unique and frankly very valuable loyalty program beginning later this year.
The carrier has made strong strides toward retaining customers and this reader’s example is just such a case. I have had similar issues on a number of carriers, specifically two on American Airlines, that mirrored her experience. But the level of care and service simply wasn’t there. They didn’t review the call, refund me, apologize, and credit me for future flights.
Spirit Airlines seems to be hitting its stride.
One of my greatest pleasures as a writer on LiveAndLetsFly is when travelers are able to report back that though not everything went perfectly, sometimes companies do the right thing. Spirit Airlines has come a long way from its reputation as one of the worst airlines in the US to one that cares about its customers. From the flight attendants to the customer service agents, Spirit has turned over a new leaf, and I look forward to flying with them as the world re-opens.
What do you think? Have you had a similar experience? How did yours get resolved?