“Spirit Airlines is customer service oriented”

The blogosphere has beaten up on Spirit Airlines in the recent past, thanks in part to its well-documented service deficiencies and in part to customer-hostile comments made by its chief executive, Ben Baldanza. But are things really that bad? I’ve been working with the carrier during the last few weeks to resolve several customer-service problems, and I think the answer may be: no, not really.

Decide for yourself.

Alison Drucker was scheduled to fly from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Washington this summer. She arrived at the airport two hours early, only to stand in a line that took two hours to get through.

During that time, I frequently checked the boards. They showed a delay, but said that my flight was still flying.

After two hours of waiting in line, I was told by the Spirit agents that my flight had been canceled due to weather. When I finally reached the desk three hours after arriving at the airport, they offered me an option of taking another Spirit flight three days later (with no offer of compensation for food and board during that time, which is poor business in and of itself) or an option of being refunded the $166.51 that my flight home was worth.

I accepted their promise of a refund, and bought a ticket home on another airline.

But months later, there was no refund on Drucker’s credit card account. She phone Spirit, which told her the accounting department had rejected her request because, “in fact, their records showed that my flight had flown,” she recalls. “Needless to say, this shocked me, since the agents told me the flight was canceled and essentially forced my decision to pay extra to fly home on another airline.”

I contacted Spirit on her behalf. Within a week, she had a response.

Dear Ms. Drucker,

Thank you for your correspondence with Spirit Airlines regarding your recent experience. Spirit Airlines is customer service oriented; your opinions and experiences are used to help us improve and to avoid certain misunderstandings from reoccurring in the future.

I want to apologize for the misinformation given to you by our agent at the airport and assure you that this matter has been forwarded on to our General Manager in Ft. Lauderdale and our Senior Director of Customer Service and Airport Affairs. Please rest assured that this matter will be dealt with appropriately.

I have forwarded a request to our accounting department for a refund of the total amount of your return flight ($166.51). For further review, please forward me copies of additional expenses you had because of this misinformation. You may either attach them to this email or fax them.

Ms. Drucker, we appreciate you and look forward to reaching an amicable agreement.


Karianne Silva
Corporate Consumer Affairs
Spirit Airlines

Spirit still has a way to go before I can say it’s doing right in the customer service department. But this is a good start.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Llucky0702

    We have spent three weeks tryin g to get someone in the Groups Department at Spirit Airlines to contact us to no avail. They have 9 emails that no one at Spirit has responded to.. Is That customer Service??? 

  • S. D.

    please post an email so the myriads of unwitting spirit ‘customers’ can join your class action. at the very best, it’s false advertising; at the worst, out and out fraud. a year later, i’m being charged 60 bucks- not only wasn’t i contacted, but the price went up! we need to stop this; it’s ridiculous already.

  • BRodenbaugh

    I wrote a letter to Spirit’s Corporate Consumer Affairs on Augst 10th regarding a complaint about not receiving my points for getting the Free Spirit Master card last February.  Still no points on my account and also have not heard from Corporate Consumer Affairs.

  • Rmad189409

    I do not think it is possible to have a worse airlines than spirit, who nickels and dimes there customers to death and in the end after you have to pay to pick a seat and pay to carry on a bag, is no cheaper than any airline out there. Also there maintaince seems to be not the best as it seems there planes are always breaking down and there employees ar the rudest and most uninformed I have ever seen. They are a disgrace to the travel industry and the executive team that allows this to happen should be thrown to the street jobless. They will not even speak with an unhappy customert, they just tell you to send a letter. They should be asahmed of themselves.

  • Jane

    Spirit Airlines customer service is the WORST! Their Spirit Miles obtained when using their credit card is a scam. STAY AWAY FROM THEM! They change credit card companies and expect you to change with them leaving you with more credit cards to overextend yourself with. When I told them I would not follow them around getting a new credit card every time they changed banks they said I would have to use my free miles as if it was peak time. All because I wouldn’t get yet another one of their credit cards. SCAM! SPIRIT AIRLINES DOES NOT HONOR THEIR WORD! I spent over $10,000.00 to get miles on their master card and can’t use them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z4ERIFNAHCUKFCGFEUC32LJFZI Frederick

    I suggest you report them to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – http://www.consumerfinance.gov – and your congressional representative.  Clearly, they are getting away with legal loopholes, and those need to be plugged up.  Please help!

  • awbarner1

    On February 17, 2012 at approximately 8:13p.m. during check-in my husband and I were directed to an agent, MIKE (no last name could be provided by anyone in the company) who charged us for our oversized bag.  In the midst of flirting and moving too quickly he made the EXTREME mistake of never tagging our bag. He did not however, neglect to charge us an additional $25 and toss the suitcase on to the belt right before boarding.  When we both urged him to wait for a handwritten tag with our name and contact information on it, his exact words were, “Ooops!  Don’t worry about it; I do this all the time.  It’s the only flight going to Puerto Rico.  I gotchu.” Our response was to reassure him that if our bag did not reach its rightful destination, we would indeed come back to look for him.  Needless to say, the bag never arrived with us to the airport in PR.  After spending an extended amount of time trying to recover our lost bag, a gentleman, TROY (stationed at the airport in PR) was gracious enough to respond to my tearful request to help us, provided paperwork and a hand-written report of the lost bag.  The next day, I, after deliberating that since a SPIRIT Airlines employee neglected to follow protocol in the first place, that it would surely happen again.  We contacted our family that lives near the airport in Ft. Lauderdale, and it was them, NOT SPIRIT AIRLINES OR ANY EMPLOYEE WEARING THE BADGES THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO ENSURE THEY COMPLETE A JOB AND FOLLOW THROUGH, located our bag that was still sitting at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and had it sent to us.
    We didn’t get our belongings until 24hours before the trip was over.  Essentially, in order to compensate for MIKE’S failure to take ALL REGULATED AND NECESSARY STEPS TO ENSURE THE BAGGAGE WOULD TRAVEL WITH THE PASSENGERS, we spent over an inordinate amount of money on clothes, toiletries and other necessities thereby negating our ability to enjoy our trip, go on scheduled tours and partake in all of the festivities that the trip was planned around.  I hate to say this, but because Mike wears your badge – he represents YOU and because of this, You and SPIRIT AIRLINES RUINED OUR TRIP, and thus ruined the only birthday gift my husband saved months to give me. 
    I am devastated! One of the most important ways to truly connect with family, relax and recuperate from the hectic lives we lead is to go on small vacations.  I also understand that despite the hard work we do as professionals, there is always someone who fails to do their job and thus makes it exponentially harder for the next person on a team to rectify poor judgment and loss of the overall sight when providing a service for others – to ALWAYS AND METICULOUSLY COMPLETE THE JOB.   
    The money we spent to on unplanned accommodations will indeed be refunded to us.  But as I sit here and take time to notify your company of the lack of ADEQUATE COSTUMER SERVICE I will also put much effort into to being compensated for the time we went without clothes, my husband’s credit cards, medication, and other NEEDS that were packed and paid for because YOUR COMPANY DEMANDS IT.  WE DID OUR PART DESPITE THE FACT THAT PAYING FOR A BAG IS ONE OF THE PITFALLS OF TRAVELING.  SPIRIT AIRLINES DID NOT DO THEIRS. 
    I have read reviews on your company and they all say you Sir, Ben Baldanza and the rest of management are cowards.  They say that you, personally, never return emails or calls regarding the poor service and inexcusable deeds done by the people you lead and employ.  I believe you know right from wrong and you will do the right thing. You will compensate us, not just reimburse us.  We had a trip planned later this year to go to Los Angeles with our two very young sons, the money we spent on this trip diminished our savings account – and although our money problems are not yours, I am sure you understand that hard earned money and family are priceless – SPIRIT AIRLINES HAS EFFECTED BOTH
    I am sending this letter not only to the corporate office along with my paperwork and claim for reimbursement, but I will post this letter and the contents thereof on every blog and Spirit Airlines Review Page, the CFPB, and to a Complaint office that deals with being wronged by large corporations along with a note that emphasizes that the next time I want to get away for the weekend, never to trust a company that exchanges overt charges and poor customer service with a deaf ear and no action.  All we want is for the wrong to be made right – We want compensation and we want a response. 
    We can be contacted at 954.668.3150 or 954.347.6922 any time of the day, any day of the week.  Now the ball is in your court – do the right thing, please.


    I am a valued $9.00 Fare Club member of Spirit Airlines, I have flown numerous times & found everything to be satisfactory.  I am getting a toy Yorkie which will be 4lb at most grown.  Why can a baby who obviously weighs more be free & they want me to pay $200.00 for a round trip ticket???????????

  • Michelle Velez

    I have been trying for days to get the name and number to the legal dept at spirit air to get a copy of a manifest and some other info for tickets paid by credit cards for a pending court case(no Suite Against the airlines) but waiting on phone for 3 hrs to get a person to get nothing. So if anyone can please send me the address and phone number that answers for the corp offices of Spirit I would be greatful  this is a persons freedom on the line. who was on a spirit flight.email michellevelaz@comcast.net

  • Philip C. Brown

    I have been trying to get a refund from a flight in April; I was never advised of the ONE CHECKED BAG policy & had to fly Aeromexico – as I was moving to Lima, Peru & had four (4) bags.
    I will repeat what I have voiced on Facebook & other sites “SPIRIT AIR – SUCKS!”
    I could use the help of this consumer advocate!!!
    PS – know any good lawyers that want to sue Spirit???