Sharee writes: I booked a flight for six people on the Spirit Airlines website on November 6th, 2012. This flight (#970) was scheduled to depart from Denver at 12:46 am on January 20th, 2013 and arrive in Fort Lauderdale at 6:41 am. This was booked in order to get us to Miami for a 7 day Carnival Cruise which departed on January 20th at 4:00 pm with the gates to board the ship closing at 3:00 pm. On the evening of January 19th, 2013, my mother proceeded to check-in online around 9:00 pm, and much to our horror, our flight was nowhere to be found.
We both called the number listed on the website and there was a 45 minute wait to speak to an agent. I stayed on hold and then tried to contact the airport hoping to speak to an agent on-site. The airport employee I spoke to checked on my flight and informed me that I could not talk to anyone because Spirit does not have a phone at their desk. He said the Spirit employee was very unhelpful and only told him that the flight was canceled and would not tell him why. The airport employee told us the Spirit ticket counter would close at 9:30 pm, so we raced to get there to speak to an agent.
We arrived, and after hearing a portion of our situation, the two Spirit employees standing at the counter said we had to contact reservations and that their counter was closed. We explained that we had already done called the reservations line and were still on hold waiting to speak to someone. We explained that our time was limited and we needed to figure this out ASAP. They proceeded to walk away and we asked for their names and they ignored us and went into the back leaving us standing there.
A few minutes later a customer service agent finally got on the line. She informed us that the flight was not canceled but changed to flight (#630) which departed from Denver on January 20th at 1:35pm and arrived in Chicago at 5:00pm. A connecting flight (#425) left Chicago at 6:15pm and arrived in Fort Lauderdale at 10:15pm. We were never informed of this change. This obviously could not work for us since our ship was leaving Miami at 4:00pm. I told her this and she told me there was nothing she could do. She could only put us on the next available flight and could not get us on another airline. We were extremely stressed out because if we didn't get to Miami in time to get on our boat, we would be out the money we paid for the cruise.
Seeing that Spirit was not going to do anything to help us we were forced to buy a last minute, one-way ticket to South Florida with another airline. Luckily we found one flight that would get us there on American Airlines and we spent $2,579.40 to get on it. After calling back to speak to a manager and being hung up on multiple times, I finally got someone on the line. I informed him of our situation. I was told that he would refund us for the outgoing portion of our flight and he issued a refund of $597.74. I then asked him to check on our returning flight (#355) which was scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale on January 27th at 9:35 pm and arrive in Denver at 11:59 pm. He then informed me that that flight was also "changed". It was now departing on January 27th, 2013 at 7:02 am connecting in Chicago again.
My ship would not even arrive in Miami until 8:00 am! The flight was not going to work for me. The next available flight after that one was not leaving until January 28th at 9:35 pm. A connecting flight from Los would get us into Denver at around 11:00 am on January 29th. So we would be missing an additional unscheduled day of work in addition to the added cost of a hotel and car rental.
Once we arrived in Miami via American Airlines, I called our airport shuttle which was arranged when planning my trip to take us to the port. They informed me that they did not have enough time to get us to the port and we would have to take a taxi. I was not able to get a refund and was out another $69.00 for the one way trip. By the time we got our baggage and found a taxi large enough to accommodate us, we made it to our ship 7 minutes before they closed the gates. It had now been 24 hours since most of us (excluding the kids) had slept and the stress of the past 12 hours made for a miserable night.
After our cruise, we rode our shuttle back to the Fort Lauderdale airport in hopes that someone at Spirit would take care of us. We spoke to the manager, Issac Paiz and explained our situation. Because of the flight change, we would now need to get a hotel (2 rooms for all 6 people) and rent a car for 2 days. We would be missing an additional day of work as well. He informed us that there were no flights available to get us to Denver any sooner. We suggested that he put us on a flight with another airline since Spirit Airlines failed to inform us of these flight changes. He was at least sympathetic to our issues, but said that he was unable to do anything due to company policy.
On the 28th of January, when we were at the airport checking in, we were informed of another change to our flight, this one less inconvenient than the others but still noteworthy. The flight that was supposed to go directly from Los Angeles to Denver would now be stopping in Las Vegas. Spirit claims it informs customers of changes via email, yet this change was also never sent to us, just as the ones that have cost us so much time and money.
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