Brandon C. writes: I started flying with Spirit because of the low fares. In some respects I agree with their model. Who needs to carry on a huge bag for a couple-day trip? I read the rules carefully and followed them to the letter.
Even when I had to cancel a couple round-trip flights, I knew it wouldn't be refundable and figured the low fares were still putting me ahead.
This year, I flew about ten round-trip flights on Spirit -- until last Tuesday. I was returning home from visiting family. I checked in the night before, online as always. I then drove two hours to the airport (MSP), returned my rental car and walked over to the kiosk to print my boarding pass. FLIGHT CANCELLED. Really? I had been checking my email all morning, just in case. No notice at all!
I got up to the "customer service" agent and she said there were no flights available that day. Nothing the following day. So, minimum delay of 48 hours. And I had to get back home for work. Listening to the agents speak to other stranded travelers, they were unwilling to give us any comps, such as booking on another airline.
I finally did get a notice of cancellation via e-mail -- hours later. In fact, it was 90 minutes AFTER the flight would have departed. It was a major inconvenience to have the flight cancelled. The worst part is that had I known that morning, I could have made other arrangements rather than trying to figure out things at the airport, where I had no car, no place to stay and my only option was rebooking -- at my expense -- with another airline.
I ended up booking on Southwest for a flight the next day. I went through security to see if I could be put on standby for a flight the same day, and sure enough Southwest hooked me up. It cost me $377 to get back home on Southwest, but I figure that's a $377 lesson learned. Never fly with Spirit.
Something else I should mention is that I had written good reviews for Spirit. After this, I am deleting those good reviews, writing one star reviews and I contacted the DOT and BBB about my experience. Sadly, I never fully believed those negative reviews I read in the past. I now understand that Spirit is an airline where the customer can do everything right, but Spirit will make every effort to screw you over in the end.
Feel free to share my story... Remember, if you're an occasional traveler looking for a cheap flight, they have no incentive to do the right thing. I was a frequent flier, $9 fare club member, etc. with them, and they had no problem with screwing me over.