UPDATE: Spirit says tentative agreement reached with striking pilots – flights to resume Friday, June 18
So much for the huge pre-airline strike headline in USA Today: “Spirit Airlines: We’ll Keep Flying if Pilots Strike”.
Spirit has not kept flying.
Spirit Flights Canceled through June 17 – So Far
This morning, in fact, it extended its flight cancellations through Thursday, June 17. It is by no means clear when the airline will resume flying.
Meanwhile, thousands of fliers have been stranded, and are scrambling to make other arrangement on airlines like JetBlue and AirTran – but many of the flights on those carriers are full, and can’t accommodate the new influx from Spirit.
Finding Alternative Airline Tickets is Expensive
Plus, Spirit passengers are discovering that last minute airline tickets are pricey indeed; the Associated Press reports on one couple that finally found tickets to return home from a cruise: they paid $1,300 which was about $1,000 more than the price of their original airline tickets.
Spirit’s Refund Policy – Sleazy?
Meanwhile, Joe Brancatelli over at the site, “Joe Sent Me” has unleashed his anger at Spirit’s refund policy, calling it “sleazy” (well, Spirit Airlines has been known to do things “differently” – and that’s an understatement). Joe notes that the carrier forces fliers to proactively call a number to get a refund – otherwise, it’ll just issue a credit for a future flight.
It gets worse, according to Joe: “I have now tried three different times today to get through on its 800 number. Each time I abandoned the test call after 40-minute wait times.”
How Long were You on the Phone with Spirit?
If any of you out there has successfully gotten through to Spirit and received a refund, please let us know (and let us know how long you were on the phone).
In the meantime, I have contacted Spirit representative Misty Pinson with questions about this and other strike related matters, and I will update this if I hear back from her.
Lots of Competition for Refunds – Do Not Delay
My advice: get in touch with Spirit ASAP (the carrier flies more than 16,000 passengers a day, so you will have plenty of competition as you try to get someone to talk to you).
Spirit’s Guidelines for Flight Credits or Refunds:
1. CREDIT FOR FUTURE FLIGHTS: You can get a credit for the full amount of your flight (valid for a year) plus a $100 “future flight credit”. There is no indication how this happens; it may be automatic. If you prefer a refund, go immediately to option #2.
2. REFUND: You can receive a full refund, but only by calling 1-800-772-7117 – and be patient – it’s hard to get through
3. INSURED: If you made your reservations before May 11 and purchased the airline’s insurance, call Travel Guard at 1-866-877-3191
4. CREDIT CARD: If you purchased your Spirit ticket with a credit card, contact your card company immediately to get a credit.
When Will Spirit Resume Flights?
Do not expect Spirit to resume flights anytime soon. Yes, it could happen – but so far, it hasn’t.