Spirit Airlines / poor information and rude customer service
I had booked four airline tickets with Spirit Airlines via Travelocity and
ran into problems with the Airline during the last part of the journey scheduled on Saturday 7th July 2007. I was to return with my family from San Francisco to Detroit via Spirit Airline flight 408 departing San Francisco at 10:40PM. As a diligent traveler I called the Spirit Airline [protected] and [protected] several times in the afternoon of my journey to find out if the flight was on time and the terminal number it was departing from. Every time I was told by an automated voice that due to technical difficulties my call could not be completed and asked me to try again later.
Assuming that SFO-DET being a domestic flight I arrived at the domestic terminal. I walked the entire length of the check-in counters and did not find Spirit Airlines counter. Thinking that I had missed it the first time I walked the entire length again. I then sought the assistance of an Information Desk employee who informed me that the Spirit Airline counter had been relocated from the domestic terminal to the International terminal in May 2007. By now totally panicked I rushed with my family and all my luggage to the International terminal arriving at the Spirit Airline check-in counter 40 minutes prior to departure only to find that the check-in was closed and all the crew had left. Again I sought the help of an Information Desk employee who informed me that they had closed the counter. He assisted with making a phone call to Spirit Airline on the airport phone by dialing *1182 but received the same automated voice message that I had been receiving all afternoon. At this point he looked at our tickets and suggested we call Travelocity and I did so promptly. The agent who answered the phone was extremely helpful. She advised me that she would send Spirit Airline a message and ask that my family and I be put on the next flight out of SFO the following day 8th July. She also advised me that I would be charged a nominal fee anywhere between $70-$100 per ticket for this change which I willingly accepted as my husband and I had to get back to work on Monday 9th July . She also confirmed that I could you the same reference code number.
I left the airport and went back to stay one more night in San Francisco. The next day 8th July in the morning I called Spirit Airline just to confirm if I had four seats on the 10:40 PM flight to Detroit and was dismayed when I was told that I did not have a booking. I informed them that Travelocity had made the change the previous night to which they said they had nothing in their system. According to the Spirit Airline reservation employee, I had no choice but to make a fresh reservation for four tickets each ticket costing me $279.40 and total of $1,117.60 USD. I decided that I would speak to Travelocity prior to making this move which I really could not afford. I was informed by Travelocity that the message that was sent by the agent the previous night to Spirit Airline had received no response. He tried his very best to make contact with the airline with me on hold to be greeted by the same automated voice announcing that they had technical difficulties. At this point he was as helpless as I was. He advised me to speak to Spirit Airline and ask them if they could help out in any way.
Upon calling Spirit Airline again I was greeted this time another reservation agent, who offered me no options but to make a fresh reservation as her co-worker had suggested earlier and also informed me that it was the responsibility on Travelocity to inform its customers of the change in check-in counters from domestic to the international terminal at SFO. I was also informed that the Spirit Airlines staff should have been available at hand in SFO from 7:30PM to 11:00PM which I can guarantee is not true as no one was available after 10PM. Basically at the mercy of Spirit Airline at this point I made a reservation for 4 tickets to travel from SFO-DET on 8th July via Spirit Airline flight paying $1,117.60.
I arrived at the SFO airport on 8th July at 7:30PM to ensure an uneventful journey. I was checked-in using my new tickets. I spoke to Victoria the Spirit Airline supervisor at the check-in regarding my ordeal the previous night. She then looked at my old tickets and informed me that there was no need for me to have made a fresh booking as advised by the reservation agents at Spirit Airline. She said that she would have put my family and me on the flight for the 8th July at the cost of $70.00 per ticket as a change fee. However now that I had purchased new tickets there was nothing else she could do. She suggested that I speak to the Customer Care department at Spirit Airline to resolve this and also assured me that they should offer me a refund for my new tickets as she was aware of two other passengers who had similar situations.
Arriving home today on 9th July I spent 2 hours and 25 minutes speaking to two separate Customer Care employees of Spirit Airline, the first one was rude and obnoxious and disconnected my phone call midway through our conversation. I called back to complete the conversation or speak to a supervisor and was greeted by another much more polite individual who was cordial and informed me that her supervisor was the one who had hung up on me has ruled that Spirit Airline will not offer me any refund as it was all my fault for the following reasons:
1) I should have accessed their web site before I left for the airport to determine which terminal they were at. As a tourist I do not carry my computer while on holiday.
2) Telephone lines do have technical difficulties and again I was not diligent enough as a passenger.
3) The Spirit Airline check-in supervisor was just being nice by offering to put me on the next flight and apparently it is not their policy to do so.
4) I did not arrive on time. While walking through the domestic terminal I noticed that most domestic airlines have signs up that say "Please check in half an hour before departure". I arrived one and a half hours ahead of time.
I will never fly Spirit Airlines or recommend it to anyone else.
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