Any Comments On Flying Spirit Air?
Folks, wife and I want to fly to Central America for X-mas/New years. AA prices were in the $850/pp price range. I thought that was just too high. So I remembered that there were some charter flights out of Ft. Lauderdale, and discovered Spirit Air. Their price was very competitive, if you don't mind leaving at 11pm at night and returning at 5am! We got our tickets at about 1/2 of what AA and others were offering.
I read up that they are a no frills pay as you go airline. They charge $10 per checked bag, and $1 for a coke on the flight, and they don't take cash.
I figured since the flight is only about 2 1/2 hours, how bad can it be? Can you stand that long of a flight without a meal and a soda!
I find MIA absolutely the worst airport in this Hemisphere, and I have done some serious travel in the Americas. It is by far the worse. It is downright archaic, and most airports in developing countries are far superior. Those in charge of MIA should be fired or keel hauled (for you boaters!)
FLL is so much more relaxed.
So, if anyone has any comments on flying Spirit, I'd love to hear them.
******Warning, Warning, Danger, Danger*****
We've done a number of posts on Spirit Airlines and how bad an airline they are here.
Personally, unless you like to roll the dice and possibly end up stranded somewhere with no one to call [and, really, who does?], I would stay away. Far, far away.
Well, I wasn't expecting to be in the lap of luxury! Wow, those are some pretty bad stories for sure.
I've already booked my flights, so I'll let everyone know how it goes. If I have an experience like one of those described below, hey, I have a laptop and can punch the keys with the best of them!
But, to be honest, I am certain one can find equally horrendous stories from other airlines as well.
Fortunately I have no connecting flights, and the flights leave at hours when there should be little competition for getting through the lines.
My experience booking on their website left me with a taste of what is to come. I booked my wife and I round trip, then booked our two kids seperately since they are flying back with us one way. The system booked them as adults, which I did not realize until I received the confirmation. I did not recall the system asking me to say if they were adult or children, but the system did ask me to put in their birthdates, so I have no idea how it decided they were adults. I called their service and explained the situation, it took a while and then the service agent was able to correct the problem. I was not expecting the fare to be any cheaper for a child than an adult flying international, but then the agent told me I would have to pay an additional $13. I asked what for but could not really understand why. For $13 bucks I wasn't gonna argue and waste time, but what could possibly be the explanation for paying an additional charge just for changing the designation of a passenger from Adult to a Child? Their names didn't change! I think what it was was that the fares had gone up slightly over a two day period and it was like making a new booking and I had to pay the difference? Anyway, I will not be surprised to have horror tales, but I'm hoping for the best.
My first venture into cheap airline flying. May be my last.
Hi Rick, thanks for posting here. Those were some horror stories :-P
I dropped my sister and her husband off at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport a couple of months ago. There was a line running outside, down the sidewalk, all the way to the next terminal. When they asked the airport personnel what the line was for they were told, "Spirit". It was unreal.
However, since your flight is "off-peak", hopefully you won't encounter an issue like this. Just don't expect much and you should be ok.
Isn't that the truth! I have had a problem with American everytime I've flown out of MIA. The last time I swore was our last. We spent 10 hours at MIA, which at the time was 10 minutes from our house, because American wouldn't tell us how long we may be delayed or even whjat the problem was. They changed our gate about 15 times, never announced. We only knew our gate had changed because people were randomly complaining to the ticket counter and when they'd walk away, we'd all follow.
But, to be honest, I am certain one can find equally horrendous stories from other airlines as well.
I was one of the lucky ones who actually made it on the plane that night. Everyone else had to wait until the next day. When I booked our flight, I checked that we were flying for business, not pleasure. I have always wondered if that's why we made it on the plane.
And unlike JetBlue, there were NO APOLOGIES and no explanations.
See JetBlue's Apology email below:
Now that's what I call a good airline!
Dear JetBlue Customers,
We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.
Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue's seven year history. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected our customers to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue's pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President's Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.
Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that we caused. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise last week.
We are committed to you, our valued customers, and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us. We have begun putting a comprehensive plan in place to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.
Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation. I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action.
You deserved better—a lot better—from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to welcome you onboard again soon and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.
Founder and CEO
OK, here is the 411 on Spirit Air;
Our flight was scheduled to depart at 11pm on Dec 23 for Managua, Nicaragua. We arrived about 2 1/2 hour prior, a short line at the counter. Our e tickets were there, we had two bags (one bag each of us), prepaid on line thank you very much. One of our bags was over 50lbs so we moved items around in order to comply. There was an advance notice of a baggage limitation of just one checked bag per customer, because of the heavy holiday travel, so we complied. The counter lady said that one of our two bags might not make it on this flight as they were full. I told her that we were entightled to one bag each, she thought the second bag was also mine, so she just continued processing. We went on to the gate and we had like 2 hours to kill, so much for showing up so early. The waiting area started to fill up rather quickly, seems Spirit dominates this wing of the FLL airport at this time of night. The plane did not arrive from NY unitil about 1 hour later, so we were late departing (acceptable given the holiday circumstances and weather in the north). The boading process was a joke. About 90% of the passengers on these flights are Spanish speakers, limited english, but the attendants were mostly carribeans who spoke very funny english at best. So we sat back and watched the circus begin.
Latins do not really understand boarding processes. Waiting in a single line is a foreign concept to many. We had zones on our boarding passes, but about 75% of the passengers started jamming up the entrance area about an hour prior to the actual boading, thinking they might perhaps beat the rest of us to our final destination. I must add (in their defense) that they never announced anything in Spanish, it was all in Carribean English (Caribe). There were a few shouting and shoving matches as people who were not supposed to board yet, were blocking the access for those supposed to board, we waited until our Zone 4 was called. Funny thing is that they announced Zone 1, total chaos ensued, then after about 30 minutes 75% of the passengers were onboard and then they announce boading of Zones 1,2,3&4!
The last few could not find a place to store their carryons, so they had to be checked, all of this adding more delay to the process. It is amazing the size of carryon bags people try to bring on. An attendant tried lamely to prevent this, but was inneffective. So, I fault Spirit for their inability to manage this aspect of their service.
The plane was surprisingly nice and new, a few "big" seats up front but no separate classes. Seats were leather, comfortable except that I realized that my knees touched the back of the seat in front and it was not inclined yet. I'm 5'4" so vertically challenged, have no idea what the 6 footers did with their legs!
The flight was uneventful, and it is true, they charge you $2.00 for a bottle of water. i did not see a glass of water being offered. We knew this going into the deal, so we were not expecting any type of flight service. The attendants were fun and pleasant, one wearing a red nose and antlers, others with hats and x-mas ties. So we were still fairly upbeat about Spirit so far.
Then we landed, got through Immigration, and waited for our luggage, and waited, and waitied. It was now 2am, the carrousel stopped, and about 40 of us stood there in disbeleif as we realized we had no luggage. Oh, and most of the bags on the carrousel were from the prior days flight! A mob assaulted on the poor local Spirit agent, we just handed out forms (in English) with no instructions. We filled out our form, bitched and moaned, and the guy told us that they bags might show up on Dec 26th, maybe. It was now the 24th, so what about our clothes, x-mas gifts we brought for our kids, and my shaving kit? He gave us a telephone number to call on the 26th to see if our bags arrived. Oh, and by the way you have to come and personally retreive your bags from customs if the do arrive. Our destination was about a 2 hour drive from the airport, too bad, they will not deliver your bag.
After days and days of calling and getting more or less the same story, the bags have not come, none have come, but maybe later today or tomorrow. In the end they were sent by a air cargo flight, a week later on Dec 31st!
So, bags in hand, now just a few days prior to our return, we figured going back should be better, at least not so many people and bags right?
We came back on Sat Jan the 5th, departure scheduled for 1:50am (as in the freaking morning), and now we had the two small kids with us. We checked in, we had 4 bags, no problems. Waited at the gate, but the plane never arrived, about an hour later (right on time for Spirit Air it seems now!) they landed. We went through the exact same boading process, with everyone mobbing the gate at the same time even though we had zones. Only this time they made the announcements in Spanish.
We finally departed about 3 am, scheduled arrival back at FLL was 5am, so we landed at 6am. We had a baby car seat, that the Spirit Air rules say we can bring onboard but the local agents insisted it had to be checked, much to my complaints otherwise. The FLL immigration area is woefully inadequate. We were just one flight and it was swamped, imagine 2 or 3 at the same time. It took us an hour to get through immigration and our bags still had not come out. Finally our bags came out and we found our baby seat completely drenched in water and mud.
So, to sum it up. Caveat Emptor. Spirit Air has found a niche for those hard working but less informed folks that will do whatever it takes to get into this country (legally or illegally) and will most likely never place a complaint when they are getting a ticket at about 1/2 what other airlines charge.
I found out later that Spirit makes good money on cargo for these flights, which is a major reason our bags were bumped in the first place
Whenever I reserve transportation for people flying Spitit I, cringe.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Wonderful post, flyingman.
Sorry you experienced so many problems.
Thank you for giving us a firsthand account about what it was like flying on Spirit Air.
Hey, it is what it is. I had an open mind. I guess if you are an adventerous type, on a tight budget, and don't really care when or how you get to your final destination, Spirit is for you. A discount air transporter.
Whoa Tito, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I always hate recommending Spirit but my relatives in Puerto Rico and DC fly Spirit religiously. My cousin does the MIA DC Rt twice monthly and has never had a hitch. The $89 fare to San Juan that my aunt and uncle pay every other month is always uneventful and even my cousin's 10 yr old daughter who flies between my cousin's home in Puerto Rico and her father's here in Miami has never had a problem; but then I hear stories like yours.
I guess you do get what you pay for.
Certainly the Xmas crunch was a major factor.
Again, it is hard to cry about service with such cheap airfares.
You generally get what you pay for I say.
Think it could be just their international flights?
Anyone taken a Spirit Airlines domestic flight?