Return of Kvetch

santa airplaneIt’s not like I didn’t know better or hadn’t been warned.  Literally everybody I know who has flown with Spirit Airlines has a bad experience to report.  So I expected trouble of one sort or another when I booked a red-eye from MSP to FLL.  But as often happens, the trouble I got wasn’t the trouble I expected.  Here’s my report to Spirit:

I booked SP 597 (MSP/FLL) weeks ago for my flight today (12/17).  At about 3 am, 7 am, 9 am, and several times throughout the afternoon, I attempted to check-in on line but could not convince your website to complete the process.  I showed up at the ticket counter in MSP about 7 PM and joined the mob awaiting service.  After waiting about 15 minutes, the agent informed me he could not check me in and process my baggage until 9:00.  The kiosk device would not allow me to complete the check-in process either.

Without a boarding pass, my access to the airport was limited, and there are no restaurant facilities in the areas to which I was limited.  I had been driving for about 6 hours by then, and not eaten or had anything to drink since 1 PM.

At no point was I informed about this limitation regarding check-in: had I known in advance I would have made other arrangements.  Had your website functioned properly, I would have at least paperwork to allow me to lug my bags through security and find a place to eat, or at least a concession stand offering bottled liquids.  (Please keep in mind I’m 63 year old Floridian who had just spent 36 hours in sub-zero temperatures of Duluth and Minneapolis.)

At 9:00 I checked in successfully.  In shaky condition now, I made it through security only to find that the few establishments in the terminal serving hot meals had closed.  The flight wasn’t until 1:15 am arriving about 6.  So for about 30 hours, my sustenance consisted of one bottle of spring water.

This is poor service and worse communication.  Please give me a reason to select Spirit Airlines next time I travel on business.

Really, what I wanted most was alcohol.  I would have settled for a beer or three.  Seems like this should be readily available as bottled sugar and caffeine-laced poison, ubiquitous at airport vending machines as well as convenience stores.  Tough titty.

Anyway, as usual Spirit’s response is incomplete and inadequate.  Excerpts:

Thank you for your correspondence with Spirit Airlines regarding your recent experience.

We apologize for the inconvenience you experienced while visiting our website and with our kiosk system. We proactively continue to make improvements that will generate an easier navigational and user friendly website. Please note that we are not experiencing difficulties with our website.

Because we appreciate your loyalty, I’ve created a Future Travel Voucher (FTV) for you in the amount of $25.00. I understand that it will not change your past experience, but I’m hoping it’ll encourage you to give us an opportunity to serve you again in the future. The information pertaining to your FTV is below:

Customer: Squathole T. Blogger

Future Travel Voucher: xxxxxx
Expiration date: 2/17/2014 (Travel does not have to be completed by this date; however a new reservation must be secured.)

Please consider using your Future Travel Voucher and flying with us once again. Everyone at Spirit Airlines is working hard to make sure your next flight experience with us is positive from beginning to end. We hope to welcome you on board a future flight soon.Best,

Mark, Spirit Airlines Support

You missed the mark, Mark.  And Mark?  It’s moot.  I’ll not be flying Spirit any more.  I don’t care if I pay three times as much or have to walk.  USAir did something like this to me years ago, and sent me a similar coupon.  I never used it, either.

In fact, Spirit sort of reminded me of USAir, especially in the early days when they changed their name from Allegheny Air (after the range of mountains in Pennsylvania into which they were fond of flying their aircraft and killing everybody).  I used to wonder, if they can’t manage the ticketing process, handling luggage, effective crowd control, in-flight service, or even answer the damn telephones, what assures me they can maintain their aircraft, let alone fly them?  Ditto Spirit.

So we’re done.  I was warned, and I pass it along.  Remember, you can’t spell Spirit without Spit.

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7 Responses to Return of Kvetch

  1. Lois Terms says:

    Rule of Thumb: Never start a journey like that one without a stash of edibles — apples, crackers, raisins, nuts — in case of delays or emergencies.

  2. Wes From Wichita says:

    You heard about the bad experiences but yet you booked a flight with them anyway? Next you’re going to tell me that you have a “Coexist” bumper sticker on your car and you plan to vote Republican.

    Let me be frank: your kind are the reason why Spirit Airlines exists. You get what you pay for. Sounds like you got your monies worth. Congrats.

    • Squathole says:

      Wes (or is it Frank?): Not sure what you mean by “my kind,” but whatever, “my kind” ain’t flying with then anymore so I doubt I’m their raison d’etre if you’ll pardon my French. As I wrote, I went into this wary and with open eyes, just as I did for years with USAir. There’s some shit I’ll put up with, and other shit I won’t. They went over the line, just as USAir finally did years ago. No coexistence possible.

  3. Frank of Oregon says:

    I don’t feel real safe flying Spirit. I also don’t feel real comfortable: they cram more passengers into their planes than any other carrier. There was just something about this in the New York Times:

    Spirit Airlines, for instance, uses seats on some flights with the backrest permanently set back three inches. Call it, as Spirit does, “prereclined.” The low-cost airline started installing the seats in 2010, squeezing passengers into an industry low of 28 inches. While the Airbus A320 typically accommodates 150 passengers in coach, Spirit can pack 178.
    Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/business/on-jammed-jets-sardines-turn-on-one-another.html?hp&_r=0

    Long flights are agony. Best thing to do is sleep, but it’s tough.
    .

  4. Joe Balls says:

    Spirit’s reputation for crappy service is well-earned but they can’t afford to care which is their business model. Their flights are packed because their fares are low, and people will put up with just about anything to save money.

  5. Elemenno P says:

    The most mysterious line in Spirit’s response: “Please note that we are not experiencing difficulties with our website.” WTF? First of all, from your account apparently there WAS a problem with the website, but that really wasn’t the major problem, was it? The real issue is not warning passengers about limits on check-in times. Airlines love to tell people get there early and allow extra time. I never heard of getting there too early, and being turned away with nowhere to go.

  6. Constance Turmohel says:

    Another case of flying Goodfellas Airlines without your lucky hat

    and you believed them?

    Where you from, Fishtown?

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