Seriously, how careful do consumers have to be?

Bryan Perilman shoulda known better.

He and his wife were flying from Fort Lauderdale to New York this summer on Spirit Airlines, but the their flight was canceled because of mechanical problems. When a representative offered to fly the couple on Delta Air Lines if they accepted a voucher, he should have known to ask: Is there a catch?

“A Spirit representative offered us two free round trips each,” says Perilman. “More than fair, we thought.”

But they thought wrong.
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Maybe Anthony Weiner needs this woman’s phone number

Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
No American airline thinks of its customers in quite the same way Spirit Airlines does. And the feeling is mutual, as far as many of its passengers are concerned.

If you have any doubts, look no further than last week’s tasteless Anthony Weiner promotion. Seriously, folks. You can’t make this stuff up.

Or, for a more G-Rated discussion, consider what happened to Catherine Migliano when she tried to cancel her $9 Fare Club membership recently. The carrier’s corporate intransigence may have opened the entire airline industry to millions of dollars in damage claims.

Spirit’s “club” offers access to lower fares and discounts, but it is also — and this is clearly disclosed on the airline’s site — a self-renewing membership. It’s a never-ending source of complaints, for a variety of reasons.
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Auto insurers don’t play fair with customers

The Scan is a synopsis of news you can’t miss. Get it delivered to your “in” box by signing up now. It’s free.

What we’re reading

Auto insurers don’t play fair with customers, study finds (NBC News)

Landing gear on Southwest jet collapses at LaGuardia Airport, eight injured (Reuters)

More leisure fliers pay for seats, food, legroom and Wi-Fi (Wall Street Journal)

TSA chief warns of ‘new underwear bomb’ which threatened airline last year and forced agency to rethink all its security procedures (Daily Mail)

Horton shares credit with Arpey for successful American bankruptcy (The Street)

What we’re writing

A scratch on my rental car — and now, a bill from a collection agency (Elliott)

Tagged as a troublemaker by the TSA (TSA News)

Do airlines need to add more humans at the airport? (Consumer Traveler)

Got a headline suggestion? Join our community of news readers and become part of the action. Email our News Editor Steve Surjaputra for details.

A mostly true fish story with a truly unfortunate ending

Michael Patterson’s fish story is true. At least that what he says.

Somewhere between Orlando and San Jose, Costa Rica, Spirit Airlines lost a fiberglass fish mount in his checked bag that belonged to his late father. That is a fact.

(Oh I know, some of you have already sniffed, “Spirit!” But give ’em a chance, will you?)

It is also true that he had all the documentation showing the fish was worth about $4,000, he says.

Further, it’s true that he submitted a claim to Spirit as soon as it went missing, in accordance with the airline’s policies. And that Spirit left him — sorry for the pun — hanging for several months without processing his claim.
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Are you too desperate for an airfare deal?

What would you do for a cheap airfare?

If you said “anything” then you’re probably going to love flying in the future. It’s a place that will be filled with steals and deals, and for a lucky few who take their time to study the system, you’ll be able to travel for next to nothing.

The rest of us? Not so much.
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Want an airline to change? Then speak with a million voices

If you don't change you could end up here. / Photo by jwm 1049 - Flickr
When it comes to customer service, travel companies constantly push the limits with fees, surcharges and onerous policies. No industry does it more than the airlines, and no domestic airline does it more than Spirit Airlines, the small Florida-based carrier known for its risque ads and creative extras.

But consider what happened to Spirit last week, when the carrier made two decisions that drew an immense amount of publicity, much of it unexpected.
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Spirit Airlines won’t compensate me for flight cancellation

Steve Leadroot was all set to fly from Chicago to Atlantic City for a wedding last September when an airport ticket agent gave him some bad news: The airline had discontinued its service to Atlantic City. As in, it doesn’t fly there anymore.

The company? Spirit Airlines. Now, before you roll your eyes and say, “Good luck with this one, Christopher,” let’s let Leadroot tell his story.
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Case dismissed: Grounded by my doctor — could you refund my ticket?

Basili Alukos spent almost a month in the hospital this summer and his doctor told him he couldn’t fly. He had several trips planned, including one on Spirit Airlines.

Could Spirit refund his nonrefundable ticket if he showed it proof that he was sick?

Now before you say, “Of course not!” consider what would happen if the roles were reversed. If a Spirit flight couldn’t operate because a crewmember got sick, and there were no available flights for Alukos, the airline couldn’t just keep his money.

So there are exceptions to every rule.
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