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Canceled / Delayed / Overbooked
COMPLAINT: Next time I'll book with a real airline

 
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Old Feb 16, 2016, 4:21 PM
chaskaeric chaskaeric is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
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I've always been one to defend Spirit Airlines -- Like others who've replied to these complaints defending Spirit, I freely drank the Spirit Kool-Aid thinking that nothing bad would ever happen to me. Then it happened...

I did all the tricks -- waited three weeks before I wanted to travel, purchased my tickets at the airport from the Spirit agent, planned to wear two or three of everything on the flight and pack all my other stuff in a small backpack to avoid baggage fees -- jumped through all the hoops to get a great price. But my mama always said "If it sounds too good to be true.." I had these tickets for three weeks, bragging to my coworkers, friends and family (most who have been burned by Spirit already) about my "deal." I foolishly prepaid my hotel bill at a non-refundable rate, purchased Las Vegas show tickets (also non-refundable) and had a marvelous mini-vacation planned for me and my wife.

We had it all arranged too -- My wife and I took off two days of work, my mother in law was to watch the kids at her house and we bought groceries for them and delivered them to her home. Several neighbors agreed to watch our two small dogs for us. It was all coming together well.

Then, on the way to the airport a little more than 2 hours from our flight, I get a phone call on my cell from Spirit. "Your flight has been cancelled. We will be happy to get you on the next available flight, which is 24 hours from now." When I pushed for the reason, I was told that it was due to "Air Traffic Congestion." Interestingly enough, when I logged on to the Minneapolis Airport web page, this was the only flight that was cancelled -- so I can't believe that canceling one flight would make that much difference to air congestion. I think that the real reason was that Spirit had not sold enough tickets on this flight. If that was the case, I'm fine with that -- I just wish that they could have had the courtesy to contact me 24 hours prior so I had more options, including taking one of the earlier Spirit flights. At that moment, my only other option was a last-minute booking on Sun Country (which I would have to bear the full price -- Spirit did not offer to do this) -- which would have cost over 10 times the price of the Spirit ticket. Ironically, the moment that Spirit called me was nearly the exact moment that the previous flight to Las Vegas took off from the airport. Coincidence? I don't think so.

So Spirit cost me nearly $500 in lost hotel and show non-refundable bookings, four days of vacation between me and my wife and created a lot of disappointment. We'd been looking forward to this trip for three weeks.

So...my advice for all of you who have not yet been burned by Spirit (which trust me, it will eventually happen):

1. Make sure that you plan to take at least 2 to 4 more days off beyond what you are already taking off -- because you might need it when Spirit screws with your travel schedule.

2. Even though it is tempting to pay less for your hotel and other items if you pre-pay with a no-refund option, resist the urge. Studies show that you only have a 50% chance of making it there on time with Spirit, if at all (see bigstory.ap.org/urnublů)

3. Assume that your trip will likely not happen -- that way you can avoid the disappointment when Spirit puts profit over people and cancels your flight.

4. Budget for one to two more nights of lodging at the rack rate at your destination-- because this cancellation could have just as easily happened on the OTHER end of the flight -- when we were trying to get back.

So that great deal on Spirit was not such a great deal after all -- while they grudgingly offered to refund my money for the airline tickets (which I have yet to see on my credit card -- so I've already filed a charge-back with the credit card company), I am still out over $500 in other expenses that I cannot recover.

Never again, Spirit -- never again. I assume that those who have written positive reviews in other forums (as well as those defending Spirit here) either extremely lucky or Spirit Airlines employees...more bad than good happens with this airline.
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