Spirit Airlines doesn’t care about your call.

We already know that United Airlines doesn’t care about Tom from QAQNA, but maybe Spirit Airlines would care about me? Hardly! Apparently, the airlines don’t care about any of their customers/passengers. There are more important things to focus on, like cost saving.

I recently booked a ticket on Spirit Airlines. My various family members fly Spirit a lot. I have flown them a lot. Overall, I’ve had fairly good experiences. The details of trip were slightly complicated so I wanted to call someone from Spirit to confirm some details about my reservations. When I had called Spirit a few days earlier, I had to wait on hold for 25 minutes to talk to someone. The person I spoke to was relatively knowledgeable, but the experience was not notable.

This experience was notable, but in a different way. It was terrible. It was a very short experience, too. Here is how it went:

  1. I call the Spirit Airlines reservations number.
  2. Simple menu. I push 3 for existing reservations, 2 because I didn’t book online.
  3. Message says something along the lines of “We are experiencing high call volume  now. Check out our web site and get your answers there. Good bye!”

I didn’t even have an option to stay on hold or to leave a message. I was just hung up on. It was even worse than having to leave a message and get a call back in four hours or leaving my phone number for a call back later. I called back a lot later and got the same message. There was the same message this morning as well.

This is unacceptable for so many reasons.

  • What if my issue was urgent?
  • If their offices are closed on the weekends, why not just say so?
  • If that message is up all the time, what callers do get through? I tried a few other departments and had no luck.
  • Why if I actually wanted to call Spirit and make a reservation over the telephone? (Most airlines charge you a telephone reservation fee, by the way.)

My guess is that Spirit doesn’t staff their call center on weekends. I have no idea about why they would try to cover that up with a message about high call volume. Why not say they are closed on weekends and to call back at 7:00 AM on Monday or whenever they open?

Apparently, Spirit is looking to become an ultra low-cost airline. They are going to start charging for sodas, to bring carry-on luggage, and the like. That will boost the ticket price down, but everything will be extra. Basically, they are going to nickel and dime you. Does that include removing customer service?

I used to say that banks had the worse customer service. I think it is safe to promote the banks and demote the airlines. I’ll say it – airlines have the worst customer service of any industry. I’ve had fairly limited customer service experiences with my bank, but have never really had a bad experience. At least they answer the phone (usually quite quickly as well).

What are your thoughts about this? Does anyone in the airline industry read Service Untitled?

And while we are on the subject of weird/poor customer service, did you know that VistaPrint does not provide customer service over email? They only provide telephone support. I have a hunch about why they do it and will post about it later this week.

76 Responses to “Spirit Airlines doesn’t care about your call.”

  1. Gayla said:

    Apr 30, 08 at 1:28 pm

    Their customer service is horrible. I am 6 months pregnant and could not get a flight attendent to help me put my bags in the overhead compartment. The male flight attendent just stood there watching me and trying to rush me out of the isle. Maybe that was just one person so I decided to try flying them again. Now my credit card has been charged for an online reservation but I have no reservation. I have already called their 800 number over 15 times in less than 24 hours. I can’t get any help. As everyone else says, when you push an option it just hangs up on you. Now I have no ticket, no way of getting my money back, and need additional funds to make alternate plans before Friday. Help!!!!!

  2. C. Montreuil said:

    Apr 30, 08 at 4:08 pm

    Like others, I noticed a $29.95 billing on my charge for the $9 club which I had not authorized. I tried to contact a human being at Spirit Airlines. Using my speaker phone–I determined to out-stubborn them. After being on hold multiple times for over an hour I finally gave up. I then attempted to contact them via E-mail–BUT–I defy you to find an E-mail address on Spirit’s web site. Obviously Spirit wants your money but none of your lip. By the way–in my investigations of the $9 club, I discovered that the ultra low sales offers are first sent to their “priority platinum” customers, i.e. do you have a Spirit credit card. If not–you have no chance of getting one of these low fares and the fee for the $9 club is no more than a scam.

    The icing on the cake was my call to Citibank to dispute the charges. Since the charge is under $50, they refuse to put the charge into “dispute”.

  3. Sheila said:

    Apr 30, 08 at 7:41 pm

    Do Not Sign up for Spirit Airlines E-mails or their $9 Fare Club. They tricked me into signing up for their $9 Fare Club which I thought sent me e-mails when they had cheap fares, like $9 fares, available. I thought it was free to sign up and the site gave me no indication that it would charge me. However once my membership was confirmed I went to my account info and realized they charged me $9. I immediately, within 5 minutes, called to cancel but, surprise, surprise, I couldn’t get through the phone lines. So then I canceled online and my membership was immediately canceled so that I could no longer use it but they are still charging me the $9. I know this isn’t much but it’s RIDICULOUS and BAD BUSINESS. I am disputing the charge with my card. My bank was shocked to hear of their practices and was happy to file a dispute for me. I suggest everyone who has problems with Spirit dispute the charges with their credit card co. or bank. And hopefully someone will bring a class action suit against them. Such CROOKS should not be allowed to steal people’s money.

  4. darlene said:

    Apr 30, 08 at 11:43 pm

    Sheila – don’t feel too badly. Spirit has conned us all. They ‘added’ the $9. Fare Club fee to our ticket purchase and we didn’t notice at first. They use the deceptive marketing practice of leaving it up to the customer to ‘opt out’ rather than asking us if we want to join or ‘opt in’. This runs contrary to accepted marketing standards worldwide. Watch out – even after we cancelled our membership, we received a charge for 3 months of fees which we are disputing with our credit card company. In fact, Visa is launching an investigation into their shady practices. That doesn’t help us much, as we have to write a dispute letter and provide proof that we cancelled. But we are following through on the principal of it. BE WARNED EVERYONE. DO NOT FLY SPIRIT AIRLINES!!!!

  5. GBL said:

    May 19, 08 at 1:40 pm

    I’ll one-up the rest of you.

    Short version – I call Spirit week of my flight to Jamaica in the “just to make sure” spirit of confirming everything is good to go.

    First, my reservations are okay, but they can’t make seat reservations for me because my party is more than one person(???)

    OK, fine. But then they tell me that there is an outstanding reservation of $460 that has yet to be paid. I explain that I booked through Travelocity, Spirit basically says this is an issue on that end.

    Now, I’m on the phone with Spirit again. I have conferenced in Travelocity.

    Spirit’s rep (“Edrick” from Manila) suggests that Travelocity’s rep (“Alex” from Mumbai) call an 800 number especially for travel agency relations. I keep everyone on the conference line while Travelocity does so.

    Travelocity’a rep comes back on line – says the 800 number has a message saying the office is closed (as in not just for the day) and the NUMBER IS DISCONNECTED. Ha!

    So now we somehow, the 11th time around talking about this, have arrived at the conclusion that Travelocity booked the tickets through something called Sabre, which Spirit says is the issue, as it did not account for a change in the fare or some such, I’m really past the point of listening.

    Alex is off to call Spirit’s sales department for travel agencies.

    Now I am on hold with both of them somehow, and let me tell you, the mashup of Sprit and Travelocity’s on-hold muzak IS NOT destined to be MTV’s Jam of the Summah!

    Off hold. Alex in Mumbai (Trevelocity) tells me that a confirmation from a supervisor at Spirit confirms that there in no balance. But he can’s forward me the email to that effect because it is an “internal procedure” of travelocity. A

    ll he can give me is the reference code. That I already have.

    I am not reassured.

    I give up. At this point, I will trust in whatever powers of the universe deign to get me on that plane, to Jamaica and hopefully back in one piece.

    Oh, and I will never, ever, fly Spirit again.

  6. juju said:

    May 20, 08 at 9:34 pm

    spirit has the worst customer service, i dread calling them with my problem because they keep hanging up on me for one. i cant even write how badly they disgust me. secondly, the non speaker of english rep would not put his/her supervisor on the phone. I called and booked a trip, then i had called back to make some changes surprisingly of no charge. Then something came up and i had to cancel.I asked the rep what are the procedures for cancelling, will i get a credit with spirit or can i get a full refund, of course he tells me i can get a FULL REFUND THAT TAKES 21 DAYS TO POST BACK ON MY CREDIT CARD. i was grateful for this info. After a few hours and discussion with my travelling party, we decided to cancel.Now i call spirit, no less after many busy signals, get a rep on the line and they tell me something totally different. Fighting with the credit card company they did what they could. In my opinion they need to bring up the conversation that was taped, i mean thats why they tape conversations right, for QUALITY ASSURANCE. Now that i have a huge credit, i try to use it for a vacation thru spirit that would cover my credit with them. Of course they wont let me do that, isnt that wonderful, then the rep disconnects me. i have had it up to here with these people. i wish i could at least get an english speaking person on the line, or someone with some decency. hey even a supervisor. I still have to call back and i am really dreading it because of the wait and the incompetence that i will have to deal with probably for 2 hours. I HATE SPIRIT AIRLINES, PLEASE NEVER USE THEM. THEY ARE TERRIBLE TO THEIR CUSTOMERS.

  7. Melissa said:

    May 21, 08 at 2:50 pm

    Spirit Airlines has stolen my money and my sanity.

    I live on a small island in the Bahamas and regularly travel back to the US in order to visit family, go to the doctor, or buy groceries. It just so happens that Spirit has a direct flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Salvador once a week. Convenient, right?

    Not so much.

    I booked a flight two weeks in advance, later changing my flight to a BahamasAir flight that fit my schedule better. I firsttried to website to see if I could cancel through there, no luck! I was directed to call the 800 number and try that, no luck again! I finally tracked down the corporate office number, and I bet you can guess how successful that was… After repeated getting deisconnected, busy signals, or plain dead lines, I am thinking abuot giving up. I am pretty sure that I will never see my $200 dollars again, but I am COMPLETELY sure that Spirit Airlines will never get my business again!

    DO NOT FLY SPIRIT AIRLINES!!!!!

    They don’t care about you, your concerns, your baggage, or your travel plans.

  8. Joel said:

    May 23, 08 at 10:55 pm

    How you can get a refund and more from Spirit Airlines.

    I lost $2,000 attempting to fly Spirit Airlines. It is easy to get money back from them. When you dispute any charge with them on your credit card, the credit card CO. will call them and SPRIRT will never pick up the phone. The credit card issuer will credit back and disputed payment since they are so incompetant and will not return any call. Even if you flew this pig of an airline and nothing happened, get your money back anyway. Lets put Ben Bozo, CEO and his sidekick Allison Russell, into Bankruptcy land!

  9. frequentflyer said:

    Jun 14, 08 at 1:33 pm

    GBL–i think you have the best “if i weren’t bald i’d be pulling my hair out” story so far. Well i admonished readers to carryon their luggage. So on my 6 day trip to Panama, I was so proud that I packed light enough to stuff everything in a regulation size carryon (I measured its dimensions and they were 1 inch within the guidelines). Check in was a breeze in FLL, as I suspected it would be since I wasn’t checking. Well on my way back, the Spirit agent in panama told me that there was a weight limit of 22 lbs for carryons. I had exactly the same items in both carryons, as i’m not one for souvenirs. Well the larger carryon was 32 lbs (yes i stuffed it) the smaller 18lbs. So there was no way i would be able to carryon both. They made me check the larger carryon, which again, was well within their size restrictions, and I had to pay $20. You can’t win.

  10. Rich Slack said:

    Jul 08, 08 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve been flying Spirit for awhile now, since my in-laws moved to Ft. Lauderdale and we live close to Detroit.

    We have friends in San Antonio who wanted us to come visit and Spirit was my obvious choice as I have miles and wanted to earn more, so we booked via Spirit even though Southwest was slightly cheaper.

    As I write this we are currently stranded in the San Antonio airport as are flight back to Detroit was canceled without a an email or phone call.

    The worst part is that there is not even a Spirit Rep in the airport, they have a rep from another Airline sitting there telling people the flight is canceled and if you want to complain then to call the #800 number and we all know that is a joke!

    So we booked a flight on USAIR and are finally getting home, no thanks to Spirit.

    I plan on filing a small claims lawsuit like Jane Waun

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/lawsuits/woman-sues-spirit-airlines-in-small-claims-court-and-wins-279202.php

    Thanks,
    Rich Slack

  11. Joel said:

    Jul 09, 08 at 10:02 am

    In order to sue Spirt Airlines, you must serve their agent for service. You must use a process server. Do not try to serve them in the Terminal. The court will dismiss it!

  12. Tarina said:

    Sep 05, 08 at 7:44 pm

    Not only do they charge for luggage, and soda, but also a 10 dollar charge to pre assign your seat online.
    Yes you do get hung up on most of the time, and when you do reach somebody, half the time it’s India that you are reaching…… That’s what happened to Spirits customer service!

  13. Joseph P. McMahon, Jr. said:

    Sep 08, 08 at 10:52 am

    I have been flying from the US to points along the Pacific Rim for 22 years. During those 22 years I have had numerous regretable experiences with airlines. The US carriers are the worst. I hae found that when I have a bad experience I always write a letter to the CEO of the airline. It’s gotten so bad that I have different formats prepared according to the type of experience. Writing to the CEO will always prompt a response. Sometimes I hav been able to secure refunds or free tickets for my next flight. It is worth the effort to write the letter. You may be suprised with their response. What have you got to lose?

  14. D. Hartmann said:

    Sep 08, 08 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Tom – Most airline CEO’s do make sure a response directed to them is handled adequately, but once again, Spirit is the exception. I went straight to the CEO back in January and was sent a standard ‘… we apologize for the inconvenience… we endeavor to deliver the best customer service…. we hope you accept this $100. voucher and fly with us again’response. At that point in time, they still had not found our luggage and were refusing to reimburse us for the expenses incurred during our 15 day trip for essentials and costs associated with trying to track down our luggage. Everyone makes mistakes and most airlines (especially their CEO’s) try to make it right. Don’t count on Spirit’s CEO to do right by his customers. Have you seen the story where he accidentally responded to a customer when he meant to be sending an internal email basically telling his subordinates to ignore the customer. I’ll say it again — DO NOT FLY SPIRIT AIRLINES. EVEN THE CEO WON’T HELP YOU!

  15. Joseph P. McMahon, Jr. said:

    Sep 09, 08 at 12:52 am

    Does anyone have a copy of the internal email sent in error by the CEO of Spirit Airlines, that esentially tells his subordinates to ignore the customer. That email needs to be forwarded to the FAA.

  16. chickie said:

    Sep 11, 08 at 3:56 pm

    what is the i-800 # for spirit airlines

  17. D. Hartmann said:

    Sep 11, 08 at 6:22 pm

    Here is the site I first read it on, but just google – Spirit Airlines CEO email blunder — and you’ll find loads of coverage. This link takes you to commentary and a copy of the original email:

    http://www.alexrudloff.com/2007/08/20/ben-baldanza-from-spirit-encourages-awful-customer-service/

  18. D. Hartmann said:

    Sep 11, 08 at 6:25 pm

    The 1-800# familiar to us all is – 1-800-772-7117. During the 15 days of our lost luggage ordeal, we called it 5-10 times a day, trying every extension and no-one EVER called us back. It took us several weeks after we were home AND after we had emailed the CEO and the Board of Directors — to get any reply at all. Good luck!

  19. Jane Wickoff said:

    Dec 05, 08 at 12:37 am

    I traveled spirit many times.
    They are a cheap (sometimes low class) airlines.
    If you play by there rules, its worth it.
    They have some good workers at there Fort Lauderdale airport ( like Thomas Russo ) but mostly alot of them are rude.
    What do you expect, they probaly dont get paid much.

  20. sif said:

    Feb 19, 10 at 1:20 am

    Family and I arrived at your terminal (Spirit Airlines) at Detroit International Airport at around 3:30 am to be announced by a rude ticket agent that our flight had been cancelled. Spirit Airlines ruined our
    vacation. THEY WILL NEVER SEE MY BUSINESS AGAIN.

  21. SpiritSucks said:

    Aug 27, 10 at 8:42 pm

    Spirit Airlines is the WORST Airline ever! I beg you PLEASE DO NOT FLY ON SPIRIT!!!! You will regret it!!

  22. Squire said:

    Jan 27, 11 at 10:22 pm

    As I was sitting on my last (and it will be my LAST) Spirit Airlines flight, I thought to myself “If I was raped in prison, and was there for a crime I didn’t commit… I think it would STILL be better than flying this fucking airline.”

    We should create a countdown clock for when they go out of business and start placing bets. At least some of us would make our money back.

  23. Elliott said:

    Aug 29, 11 at 10:38 am

    I used to like Spirit Air, because often times they are less expensive than other airlines and I use some of their travel routes a lot. But the more I got to know them the more I dislike them and overall I now believe this is perhaps the worst or one of the worst airlines to use. Some of their policies are disingenous and border on unethical. For example, I cannot see how to request for my $9 membership (which costs $59.95) not to renew automatically. If I choose to cancel it, they dishonestly cancel it immediately even if you have 300 days left on the paid membership. Doesn’t sound right or fair, but that’s how they explained it to me. Their phone support totally sucks. Their seating legroom and seat width is one of the worst or worst of all airlines. Their seats don’t recline (at all). They charge and nickel and dime you for everything. Most of their service staff don’t care about the customers and they are not very friendly because they have to deal with customers who are complaining who hate their policies and are complaining all the time about the baggage charges. This airline probably makes more money on their club member charges, trip cancellation charges, baggage fees and drinks/food than on the airplane tickets they sell. They charge to preselect your seat too. It won’t surprise me if they soon start charging to allow you to board sooner, or to use the bathroom. I am not using this airline anymore. Good riddance to Spirit Air

  24. mickie said:

    Dec 27, 11 at 12:57 am

    I booked a flight for my 14 year old son. Everything in the website guided me as he was going to be an unaccompanied minor. It even had pop up boxes so that I could not move forward until I paid $200 more for a stewardess to watch over him. After receiving my confirmation in my email, I called Spirit to make sure they were aware of him being an unaccompanied minor, and they told me he can’t fly because my name was on the flight information. On the contact page, up on the very top, it has a box for the traveller’s name. This page has Customer information / Contact information. I had my name in there as opposed to my son’s name. So for this, they will not let him fly. They are refunding the $200 unaccompanied minor fee and keeping $178.00 flight fee. I mean, is this unbelievable? They can’t change the name??? For this they make me cancel the flight and charge me $178.00 ??? This is crazy. I just can’t believe it!!! This was a very important flight, and now they want to charge me $500 for another one. Is this 2011?

  25. Alex in DFW said:

    Jun 06, 12 at 12:19 pm

    My wife was supposed to be flying to NYC from Dallas this morning (June 6th 2012). She arrived at the ticket counter 75 mins before departure. The security line was extremely long and slow, and this delayed her getting to the gate until 15 mins before the scheduled departure. However, Spirit had decided to already close the gate and leave early. So there was a huge crowd of people stranded at the gate.

    The scene afterward at the ticket counter was chaos. There were passengers hysterically crying about not making the flight (as they presumably had places and events to be at). The airport police were called to maintain order. My wife was rebooked on the next available flight… 3 days later! The staff handling the rebooking were not just unhelpful but rude and arrogant to everyone. The callous disregard an unapologetic handling of their mistake was unbelievable.

    And finally, my wife’s bag did go to NYC, so she’ll have to return to the airport this evening when they fly it back to DFW.

    Needless to say, this is the first and last time we will ever book with Spirit. Even if their ticket price is $200 less than anyone else (even after their insane bag fees), we will never use them again, ever. Anyone with any self-respect, dignity or desire to arrive at their destination on the correct day would be wise to steer clear of the gross incompetence that is Spirit Airlines.

  26. Rose said:

    Aug 22, 12 at 12:43 pm

    After not being allowed to board the plane to Cancun (issues with child’s travel document), I was actually charged $ 88 nonrefundable bag fee (only had 2 carry-ons). This airline officially sucks. Come on Spirit, I realize that your so called “cheap” tickets are non-refundable, but how can you charge your customers for not even getting on your goddamn plane ?????
    I’m surprised this company is still able to do their business. They don’t care a bit about their reputation!