Lied to, overcharged and almost abandoned by Spirit Airlines

Noreen Ismail seemed to have an airtight case against Spirit Airlines. Its transgressions against her, her husband, and 11-month old included overcharging her for her carry-on luggage abandoning her in Boston and making promises it never intended to keep.
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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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Is this enough compensation? Rescued from Spirit’s fare club, but still unhappy

Spirit Airlines’ “$9 Fare Club” is probably one of the most controversial legal travel clubs in the country. Scratch that. It is the most controversial travel club in the country.

The problem isn’t that customers are offered lower fares in exchange for joining the club ($59.95 a year) but that they’re automatically renewed, as per the club’s terms. That’s often a surprise, and it seems to be a scam, at least to some customers. Even scammier: Spirit is reluctant to refund the autorenewed $59.99, even though the customer no longer wants to be part of the club.

Rules, says Spirit, are rules.

Meet Judi Breinin, one of the club’s “victims.” Rather than narrating her story, I’ll just replay the correspondence between her and Spirit.
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Is this enough compensation? Assaulted on my flight — and then ignored

Dana LaRue says she was sexually assaulted on a Spirit Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Chicago.

Her story may sound familiar because LaRue publishes a popular bridal blog, and it’s been picked up by several other media outlets. What you might not know is that, at the urging of my readers, I’ve been trying to help her get in touch with Spirit to resolve her complaint.
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Spirit Airlines tells passenger who can’t fit into seat to stand

Katie Anderson’s son, Brooks, is 6′ 7″. The average economy class seat “pitch” on a Spirit Airlines Airbus A321 — the distance between seats on an aircraft — is between 30 and 31 inches, hardly enough room for a big guy.

When he flew between Chicago and Fort Myers, Fla., before Christmas, he squeezed his XL frame into one of Spirit’s tiny seats for takeoff, but was asked to stand for more than two hours, according to his mother.

Says Anderson,

They would not give him a bulkhead or exit row seat. He does not fit in a regular seat. His height prohibits this.

He is not overweight. It wouldn’t help to have two seats like an overweight person. This is more like a handicap. He can’t lose height.

Asking a passenger to stand for the whole flight is highly unusual, but not illegal.
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Did Spirit Airlines pull a bait-and-switch on a credit card application?

It’s no secret that airlines make a bundle by upselling customers on extras when they buy tickets, and one huge moneymaker is the affinity credit card. While you’re booking a ticket, a pop-up asks you if you want to save a little money by applying for a credit card. (What they often don’t tell you is that certain, highly-restrictive terms may apply.)

So when Pat Fancsali saw the offer for a free credit card — well, that offer looked too good to pass up.

Here are the details, as shown on the Spirit site:

FREE SPIRIT Onyx World Cardholder exclusive benefits include:
Get 15,000 bonus miles after your first purchase – which is enough for 3 roundtrip off-peak awards
Annual fee waived for the first year
Complimentary $9 Fare Club membership
Priority boarding and domestic priority check-in

Fancsali checked “apply now” and booked a ticket from Chicago to Fort Myers, Fla. And that’s when the trouble started.
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Spirit Airlines: “Negative publicity” on customer service could hurt business

Spirit Airlines, as you might have heard, is trying to raise $300 million in a public stock offering. Here’s the Form S-1 it filed last Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It’s worth a read. Companies are required to disclose any risks to potential investors. And although this one seems obvious, it’s interesting to see how Spirit characterizes its own reputation, when it comes to customer service.
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“There will be no further correspondence regarding this issue”

Alyse Goodstein is a casualty of the recent Spirit Airways strike. She flew from Fort Lauderdale to Punta Cana just as the work stoppage was starting, and she had to return on another carrier.

Spirit agreed to refund the unused portion of her ticket, but she thinks she’s entitled to more. Specifically, the cost of the new flight and two nights at a hotel, for a total of $1,296.

Could I help?
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“We must act now to stop overhead baggage fees before they become commonplace”

It was just a matter of time before the government got involved in the carry-on fee fight. You’ll recall that last week, Spirit Airlines announced it would begin charging for carry-ons this summer. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood panned the idea, while Spirit’s president, Ben Baldanza, defended it as being customer-friendly.

Yesterday, five U.S. Senators weighed in by introducing the Block Airlines’ Gratuitous Fees (BAG Fees) Act of 2010. Cute, huh?
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