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Spirit Airlines Given Largest Fine from Customer Complaints

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 (N532NK)

Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-132 (N532NK)

Spirit Airlines has been fined $375,000.00 due to customer complaints for overbooking flights, lost bags, and poor advertising practices.

First off, the airline was not properly compensating passengers who were bumped due to overbooking, which Federal law regulates they must. Spirit was also dragging their feet when compensating passengers for lost baggage. Airlines must make payment “within a reasonable period of time” which most people would agree 14 months is not reasonable.  If that wasn’t enough, the airline also was charging customers $4.90 for a passenger use fee to fares in their “Travel Deals” portion of the website. According to regulation, such fees need to be added into the advertised price.

This comes at a time where Congress is in process of passing a “passenger bill of rights” which will better protect passengers flying on all airlines in the United States. Over the past two years, Congress has also provided the Transportation Department with $2.5million in the past two years to help enforce customer-protection rules.

“Selling fares for $9 has made us very popular and, a few years ago when we adopted this model, we had some growing pains during the transition,” Spirit spokeswoman Misty Pinson said in an e-mail to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We have addressed all the core issues that caused customer experience challenges a few years ago, including upgrading our computer systems and utilizing a new reservations partner.”

Customer treatment is currently on the forefront of the airline industry. I am normally for the industry regulating itself and allowing customers to help steer what the industry does, but it seems some airlines just don’t get it and passengers have a short memory span when choosing what airline to fly. A passenger might have a horrid experience and say they will never fly a particular airline again. But the next time they fly, if that same airline is $25.00 less, they “forget” their previous experience and decide to save a few dollars.

Image: ChicagoKoz

11 comments to Spirit Airlines Given Largest Fine from Customer Complaints

  • Temo

    I am going to disagree with your last comment about “forgetting”. I had a bad experience on southwest and I will never fly on with them again. EVER! They are the exception. I will most likely fly on another line after I have had one bad experience.

  • Hey spirit you win some and you lose some my you will get the picture and become a real airline.

  • Robert

    Spirit Airlines Complaints – Flight Attendant
    Review all Spirit Airlines complaints
    Spirit Airlines
    Posted: 2010-01-01 by spiritcustomer

    Flight Attendant

    Complaint Rating:
    Company information:
    Spirit Air
    United States

    I was on flight 347 from NY La guardia to Myrtle Beach on De 30th 2009 at 6:29pm. Upon boarding I was asked to surrender my carry on by JULIE the flight attendant as she was sure there was no more room for carry on’s. I would like to know how she made this determination when she did not even check to see if any compartments where available. I know this because I took 5 steps into the plane and found an abundance of bins with open spaces so I refused to comply which triggered a remark from our helpful flight attendant “If you don’t find a space I am taking that bag”. I did not have a knap sack and a carry on nor did I have any other bag and a carry on just my entitled carry on which is included in my ticket price. My carry on was well within Spirit Air specs and guess what, the last four to board had a carry on and found a place to store it. How could this be when 15 minutes ago all bins were full? So JULIE was either incompetent or just did not care! Great Customer Service! Good luck on your next flight I hope you don’t get an attendant who is in her 40’s about 5’4″ with Auburn hair it could be JULIE!

  • My name is Steve Najor. Family and I arrived at your terminal (Spirit) at Detroit International Airport at around 3:30 am to be told by a rude ticket agent, who announced to my family that our flight had been cancelled due to maintenance issues, ones that they would not specify. They had told us the next flight on your airline available to Cancun was on this coming Tuesday, having fourteen seats available, and Wednesday, having 30 seats available. We were also told that there were no available flights with a different airline, anywhere, anyhow. We were then told, rudely once again, to make a line to be dealt individually by your horribly condescending ticket agents to “weigh our options.” Options being:

    1. Be refunded for our plane tickets (but not for our lodging, parking, excursions, and not to mention our time)
    2. Take a shortened vacation on Wednesday, not being guaranteed that the flight would not be cancelled, delayed our overbooked (something I have found your company to be notorious for).
    I decided to take option one, being no point to take a three day vacation to Cancun, being due back Saturday afternoon and spending two out of those three days travelling. At last we were insultingly offered $100 per person voucher to a flight to somewhere else, however still on your horrible airline. Given “bargain” tickets now days are around $500 dollars per person, a $100 voucher wouldn’t even cover one ticket between three of us. For my money lost from the Resort I had booked, and had to cancel, the $6 charge for two hour parking at U.S. Park (time which was all spent waiting in line to being told of our cancelled flight, and waiting to be reimbursed for our tickets) and the time I have spent not only researching and, inevitably, wasting for a decent deal for a nice vacation for my family and myself,
    They will never see my business again..

  • Beverly Srulovic

    For my first and “Last” time we were flying with \”Spirit\”…We were scheduled to land at LGA airport at approx.9 P.M. on 2/25/10 – flight 174 from FLL….we were told LGA is closing the airport due to the snowstorm and will be landing to refuel in Atlantic city airport first….and will keep us posted. Once in the terminal we were told that buses will pick us up and take us to LGA… “IT NEVER HAPPENED” They dropped us off there like hot potatoes and left us stranded with no buses in sight! After about 3 hours of agony – no food since everything was closed – we passengers realized it\’s all but lies and approached officers demanding answers as to what and when we will be transported out of our hostage ciris! When one officer told us he can\’t do anything about it and spirit still claims they will have a bus coming – I told him \”it\’s a lie\” and there is no bus! Everybody was fuming, along with mothers with little children screaming…that how can they do such a thing…just leave them there stranded? Other airlines set them up for the night or offer ground transportation to their destination… So one rude and heartless officer, failing on his desperate attempt to calm the crowd,grabbed me and wouldnt let go of me. I repeatedly told him to get his hands off me but he continued grabbing me causing a pulled muscle in my right shoulder. Seeing that there will be no courtesy and no service from Spirit airline, I ended up taking a \”van service\” for $500 along with my sister to drive us home to Brooklyn, which was a 5 hour drive. I thank God that I\’m now home safely but I have to let the world know what Spirit Airlines is all about. Pease think again when traveling and booking your flight. I don\’t want anybody going through the aggravation and humiliation what I did. And the fact that the officer was acting out of law and physically hurt me, I\’m pretty sure, that unfortunately, I cannot do anything about it. There is no justice. When the officer was asked by someone in the crowd if he is aware that he is acting against the law, he replied “I AM THE LAW”

    I’m with Steve, they wont see my business again.

  • rich

    at the Atlantic city airport I was to be flying to Orlando fl. august 4th at around 5:50 AM. I was taken out of the security line for extensive medal detecting . after not finding anything I was put in front of the end of the security conveyor. when 2 guards approached me from the other side .one a woman the other a male, both white.the women told me not to touch any of my belonging until it was all checked. (as if I would reach over the tall glass petition separating them from me and my belongings) at first I was ok with this ,I have been though this before my things were checked for any thing sharp . I understood that. but when they checked it in the past it took them 2 minutes .and that was with a suit case , this time I had a little carry on about 23 x 12 inches . so the 2 guards were being very nice kind of joking around with me as they were going through my belongings , then they started to ask questions. one after another .like I was being interrogated. they asked me. where are you going 3 times . I said Orlando then they asked how long are you going to stay ? who are you staying with ? where do you live? how long did you live there? where do you work? how long ?how do you get so much time off ? what is your Job title? all these questions and more questions I don’t even remember all of them .as there asking these questions they are going through all of my personal papers. hospital bills that I brought with me .every business card I had in my wallet. I had prescription medication 4 bottles with my name on each one .they opened every bottle And one was for anxiety. another was for very high blood pressure.and one for depression (prozack) you would think that would of made them treat me better knowing I had high blood pressure and anxiety . they could of cared less .I had a calendar with personal things writting on it and they were whispering to each other about what was witting on it .and holding the calendar up to her mouth so I wouldn’t see or here what she was saying, they would actually be reading things that I have witting and start laughing and chucking and showing other guards or telling other guards . at one point I was asked what does this mean on your calendar on July 3rd you wrote escaped. I said that’s personal. and I also said what does any of my papers have to do with anything. I was ignored now its 6:10 my plane leaves at 6:38 and I was starving my plan was to get to the airport early so I could have breakfast there before I boarded . so then there was an issue about the cigarettes that I had in my carry on. it was 4 cartons wrapped with clear tape with brown paper over that .they said we have to open this what is it. I said cigarettes I also had 4 or 5 packs that was separate one pack was open with 2 cigarettes missing. I smoked them before I got to the airport .she picked up that pack and said where did you get these. I said there from Russia I got them on line she said its not my concern where you get your cigarettes but isn’t it illegal to buy these on line with the taxes .I said no ,the site I got these from state that these are sold with full permission from Phillip morris and there are sites that do sell them illegally and they say buy these at you own risk we are not responsible .so she basically said ok that’s nice but the other guard went and got a NJ state policeman. I tried to here what they were saying all I herd was as they were looking at a pack of the cigarettes is yea maybe notify the A.T.F. the male guard came back and tapped the 4 cartons of cigarettes back up .the female guard came back and the male guard showed the female guard with his finger where I wrote escaped and she grabbed my drivers licence and took it the state trooper he came back to me and said is this your right address. I said with an altitude yea , I was getting very aggravated at this point I decided to turn around. and I noticed all eyes were on me everyone was staring at me all the guards police and even the people from behind the spirit ticket counters were taking a walk back to get a look at me. I couldn’t believe this , at this point there was not many passengers going through the check point because the planes were about to take off .I looked at the clock on the wall and it said 6:27 I said to myself it looks like I am not going any where . and the plane I was taken to Orlando is the plane my mother and nephew is coming back to Atlantic city on .I was to hand my mother the key to my car which is in the Atlantic city airport right outside .so she could drive to my brothers house .I thought this is a mess, there going to arrest me .for what I don’t know . I stayed silent it was very hard at times I think they were trying to provoke me into getting violent . but I kept my cool except I know I looked pissed, but as I turned around again he handed me my hat and wallet. she came back from talking to a state trooper and handed me my carry on and lap top. all he or she said was here you go , not were sorry for holding you hostage for over 40 minutes and have a nice trip .they said nothing else. I just grabbed my things got on the escalator as it was going up I couldn’t help but to look over to my right to see all eyes on me again like they were daring me to say or do something. I walked up to the ticket girl ,who said its about time ,and who are you? in a firm voice. again I said nothing. I sat in my seat .seat 12 A window. with no one sitting in the middle . just as were about to taxi out , I here a stewardess say here you can sit here there’s more room for you . a big guy sits down next to me and says, boy its nice to have room I can use my lap top now .I said yea especially when you pay 20 dollars for this seat like I always do,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, by the way I am a white polish American male 49 years old 6″ 195 pounds I was wearing a black straw cowboy hat with a picture of a guitar on the left side, nice 75$ blue jeans (wrangler 77) a 50$ wrangler white with gold stripes with clear snaps western shirt , tennis shoes , no belt because my cowboy boots and country belt always sets off the medal detectors , this time I went right thru , I was traveling one way ,with a carry on ,and alone .is that why this happened ? there’s no excuse for this . I wonder if I can sue them?

  • Denise

    There are certainly some serious accusations of both Spirit Airlines and the TSA. However, I feel I must comment that my mother and I had a great experience with Spirit. Knowing that you get what you pay for, we weren’t expecting much, but the Spirit Air employees in Chicago were adequate and the desk clerk in Dallas was amazing. She saw that my Mom needed wheelchair transport to the gate and also that I had chosen seats closer to the back of the plane because they were cheaper, so she changed our seats to the front of the plane for no additional charge. I though that was very nice. True, the seats are not the most comfortable, but I can live without pushing my seat back for 2 hours and I actually liked the fact that the person in front of me could not put their seat in my lap either. Our flights were actually early and uneventful. The only thing that I thought was a little gross is that the male flight attended on our flight was wearing a shirt that looked like it hadn’t been washed in several days, but that is the worst thing I can say about the experience.

  • Diane Fitzgerald

    My complaint is not about a flight, but advertising flights that don’t exist. They say they fly from Myrtle Beach to LaTrobe, near Pittsburg, PA; Niagara Falls, NY, and Columbus, OH. Last year we did fly a number of times to these destinations and now there are none. I thought it may be seasonal, but there are no flights through the summer. Yet they are still advertising that they fly there. My mother who can only fly nonstop can no longer visit. What’s up?

  • Sarah Muhammad

    spirit airlines fight # 847 on 3/9/2012 from NY.laguardia to O’hare chicago spirit employees lost my luggage and went through it for no reason. My luggage went to florida and I was told by Maya that she told them to go in my thing but she couldn’t tell me why .I told her that I was here to go to church and I needed my things Maya told me that it will be drop off at the place I was staying at 6pm, NO I said I have to go to church thats why Iam here. What am I going to wear she said nothing she did give me free pass for my luggage to come back. I ask for the supervior well she was NO HELP when I ask her her name she said Daine so I said Daine who? she said I’am the only one here name Daine well I told her that I was here with my church family about 60 of us (not all on spirit)and I dont have anything to put on for church she said she couldn’t do a thing about to write or call spirit airlines at 2800 Executive way Miramar FL.33025 . This was so very up setting for me I spented about $441.00 and I can prove it. I will to tell my church famliy /family and friend about this ( my luggage was drop off at the marriott in oak brook at 230 am on 3/10/2012 SOMETHING NEED TO BE DONE ABOUT THIS.

  • Luz

    I just was charged $100 dollars for a 19″ is really small luggage,most airline have the 22″ for free, and no option left i try to leave the luggage for my husband to pick it and they said no, i am very mad because i did see people with luggage bigger than mine inside plane and i did ask if they pay and they said no, i am Latina and i think was a racist because the other person that pay was for india.

  • Luz

    also the spirit workers are very rude, i see a group of 6 getting there like 5 minutes before departure they ask the clerk to call the people on plane, but she go in close the door and ignore them.

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