There are plenty of frivolous complaints about airline service out there, and I’m the first to admit that the missive from James and Christine in Orlando probably would have fallen into that category. They were passengers on a recent Spirit Airlines flight to Atlanta which was delayed by a few hours, and its an event for which they probably weren’t entitled to any compensation under the airline’s contract of carriage. But then Ben Baldanza, Spirit’s chief executive, apparently pushed the wrong button on his computer — and now all hell is breaking loose in the blogosphere.
Seems James and Christine’s e-mail reached Baldanza and he hit “reply to all” with his answer: “We owe him nothing as far as I’m concerned,” he snapped. “Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny.”
I’m republishing the entire e-mail on my blog because it’s an important document and illustrates how far Spirit has apparently come since I first wrote about its heroic efforts to get people to fly after 9/11.
Personally, I think Baldanza owes his customers an apology for his poor choice of words. I am certain that Spirit’s investors and shareholders don’t feel that “let him tell the world how bad we are” best represents Spirit’s corporate image. I hope I’m right.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
From: Ben Baldanza [mailto:Ben.Baldanza@SpiritAir.com]
Sent: Monday, August 20, 2007 1:02 PM
To: Christy; Martin Harrison; Tony Lefebvre; John Prestifilippo; Pasquale Nunnari
Subject: Re: Complaint
Please respond, Pasquale, but we owe him nothing as far as I’m concerned. Let him tell the world how bad we are. He’s never flown us before anyway and will be back when we save him a penny.
From: James, Christy
To: Ben Baldanza; Martin Harrison; Tony Lefebvre; John Prestifilippo
Sent: Mon Aug 20 12:05:09 2007
As first time Spirit Airline customers, we would like to inform you that we found the entire experience to be completely and utterly dissatisfying. Our biggest complaint stems from the delay of our flight on August 14, scheduled to leave Orlando, Florida at 4:40 pm and land in Atlanta, Georgia at approximately 6:13 pm. As we were waiting to board the 4:40 pm flight, an announcement was made at approximately 4:00 pm that the flight would be delayed and the new estimated departure time was 6:00 pm. The entire time that the flight was delayed, there was never an update made to the flight status board at the gate and whenever customers would inquire about the status of the flight to the gate attendant, they were informed that “as soon as we know something, you will know” in a very rude manner. Finally, the flight arrived at our gate at approximately 6:30 pm, well after the time that we were originally told was the new departure, and our flight left Orlando at approximately 7:15 pm.