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Are airlines required to reimburse you for flights they cancel at the last minute?

Discussion in 'Airlines' started by Malcolm Woolf, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. Malcolm Woolf

    Joined:
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    Are airlines required to reimburse you for flights they cancel at the last minute? When my family arrived at BWI to fly to Florida for Thanksgiving, we were informed that the flight was cancelled (pilots were stranded elsewhere) and that Spirit would refund us half our round trip fare. We were forced to spend $1,150 to get a one way flight on another airline the next day. Now Spirit is refusing to honor their promise to refund us half of our fare, stating that we are entitled only to the amount of the affected travel leg. Our full fare was $1764.72, so I was led to expect a refund of $882, and not the $492 they are offering. As the below email exchange documents, I'm now out $390, in addition to losing a day of vacation and $1,150 for another airline. Do I have any recourse?

    Malcolm Woolf


    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: Spirit Customer Support Kimani <customersupport@spirit.com>
    Date: Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 3:10 PM
    Subject: [Spirit Airlines Support] Re: Reimbursement request
    To: Malcolmwoolf <malcolmwoolf@gmail.com>


    ##- Please type your reply above this line -##
    Spirit Cus
    Spirit Customer Support Kimani (Spirit Airlines Support)
    Dec 3, 3:10 PM

    Hi Malcolm,

    I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you; we're experiencing an extremely high volume of inquiries, and are doing our best to respond quickly and in the order that they are received.

    I took a look at your reservation (Q2SKMB), and I see that you were refunded for the full amount of the affected leg of travel (NK-443). This included the fare for each customer ($93.09 each) and the bag charges totaling $120.00. This brought you to the grand total. Please keep in mind that refunding the affected half of your booking does not equal splitting the entire fare in half, I definitely understand how that may be confused.

    Thanks for writing in to Spirit - I hope you have a great day.

    Best,

    Kimani
    Spirit Airlines Support
    __________________________________________________________________________

    This is Spirit! Your simple guide to the way we fly. http://marketing.spirit.com/how-to-fly-spirit-airlines/en/

    Malcolmwoo
    Malcolmwoolf
    Dec 1, 5:36 PM

    Can someone from Spirit please confirm that they are working to resolve this issue? I have not received any acknowledgement that my response was received and its been over four days. Thanks!

    Malcolmwoo
    Malcolmwoolf
    Nov 27, 10:51 AM

    I'm confused. The Spirit counter representative said we would be reimbursed half of our round trip. I paid $1764.72. Half is $882.36.

    We relied on your representative's statement when making alternative travel plans (which puchased last minute, cost $1150 one way). We only puchased the replacement tickets based on the Spirit rep statement that we would be refunded for half the round trip fare.

    I trust you will honor your representatives promise and reimburse me the $882.36.

    Malcolm Woolf
    301 767 6698

    Malcolmwoo
    Malcolmwoolf
    Nov 27, 10:51 AM

    I'm confused. The Spirit counter representative said we would be reimbursed half of our round trip. I paid $1764.72. Half is $882.36.

    We relied on your representative's statement when making alternative travel plans (which puchased last minute, cost $1150 one way). We only puchased the replacement tickets based on the Spirit rep statement that we would be refunded for half the round trip fare.

    I trust you will honor your representatives promise and reimburse me the $882.36.

    Malcolm Woolf
    301 767 6698

    Spirit Cus
    Spirit Customer Support Chuck (Spirit Airlines Support)
    Nov 26, 5:16 PM

    Hi Malcolm,

    I am so sorry for the trouble you experienced due to the cancellation (nice to hear though that you got to see Matt Damon in the Martian), when Air Traffic Control (ATC) is involved, there is very little we can do as these events are beyond our control. I've went ahead and processed a refund amounting amounting $492.36 and not $882.36 for the amount that you paid for the cancelled portion of your reservation plus the additional service (bags) that you have added to it. Refunds are processed immediately; however, the time it takes to post to an account may vary, depending on the financial institution. It is at the discretion of your credit card company as to how long it takes to process your credit. Please be advised that once a refund is issued, we are no longer in possession of the funds.

    Thanks and have a good day!

    Best,

    Chuck
    Spirit Support
    __________________________________________________________________________

    This is Spirit! Your simple guide to the way we fly. http://marketing.spirit.com/how-to-fly-spirit-airlines/en/

    Malcolmwoo
    Malcolmwoolf
    Nov 26, 1:34 PM

    The bad news is our flight was cancelled and we couldn't get to Grandma in Florida till the next day on another airline. The good news is that the family got to see Matt Damon in the Martian (fun film!) and have popcorn for dinner. Please see attached letter with relevant details and the receipt for reimbursement for the cancelled half of our roundtrip fare.

    Malcolm Woolf
    301-767-6698 (c)

    Attachment(s)
    Spirit cancelled flight.docx


    What's your desired resolution? While I'd like the promised refund of the outstanding balance - $390, I'd settle for public shaming of Spirit Airlines.
     
    #1
  2. Realitoes

    Joined:
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    Malcolm,

    The airlines do use fuzzy math when determining round trip airfare. In many cases (but not all) buying a round trip would be cheaper than purchasing two one way tickets. Each segment may have it's own fare.

    To be able to advise you, we would need to see your original flight confirmation which should have a breakdown of your fare. If possible please blackout any personal information and scan it in. You can upload it in a post.
     
    #2
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  3. Neil

    Neil Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

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    They should reimburse you for the actual cost of the outgoing flight. If the return cost more than the outgoing fare, you won't get reimbursed for that amount.

    Sometimes the cost of out and inbound ate not the same, one or the other might cost more. It sounds like that may be what happened. The agent that said half may not have realized that the outgoing and inbound were not the same price if that's what happened.

    Realitoes is correct- we would need to see your entire confirmation showing the pricing to be able to help you.
     
    #3
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  4. mmb

    mmb

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    Generally speaking, fights to FL, especially in the winter, are a little more expensive than flights to other areas.
    I buy flights between FL and Denver a lot. I always buy one-way tickets. I almost always pay more to get to FL than to DENVER and always fly out of RSW and DIA.
    Therefore, I would question why there is such a difference in their legs of this trip. (Looks like 1/4 and 3/4 of total fare to me.)
     
    #4
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  5. Barry Graham

    Barry Graham Administrator
    Staff Member Forum Director

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    This seems very similar to another case Chris wrote about recently. Spirit is probably correct, it is common for one leg to cost a lot more than another. The problem is that the agent gave you incorrect information. So now you have a choice. Either fight to get what you were promised as a matter of principal, or accept that the agent was wrong to say you would get half back, and accept what you were actually given, which is probably correct.
     
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  6. Neil

    Neil Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

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    I don't think fighting with Spirit will do any good anyway. They are going to stick to their guns and refund what is due. It's too bad that you didn't have the agents name so you could tell Spirit to retrain them.
     
    #6
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  7. Joe Farrell

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    Here is the reality - you paid two different prices - you likely paid a higher or lower category for one way [likely lower obviously] than you paid for the trip home =-

    They must refund you the fare you paid for the leg you did not take -

    Next time - ask them to refund the entirte trip - which you are entitled to demand under their contract if it is the outgoing part of the flight - because you likely could have found a much lower even last minute fare if it was a round trip -

    and if thats not possible - I would seriously consider even taking the trip and simply eating the refund . . . . and trying it another time - even a long weekend.

    Spirit flies point to point routes - the plane goes from EWR-MDW-MSP-MCO-IND-MCO-ELP-MCO-DFW-PHX-SNA-PDX etc etc etc

    there are no hubs and no multiple flight days on many routes and every route better buy liquor and checked bags to pad the bottom line or they'll cancel that route and send the airplane someplace else -
     
    #7
  8. Barry Graham

    Barry Graham Administrator
    Staff Member Forum Director

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    It did just occur to me that there is a flip side to this, for the benefit of everyone reading this. Sometimes the airline may offer 50% when the leg that is affected is actually the more expensive one.
    It's very important to understand how your fare is calculated. If you booked it yourself you would probably see how much each leg costs. Otherwise, if you are faced with a cancelation and a refund option, make sure you ask for a fare breakdown so you can see exactly what you are entitled to as a refund.
    Signing off now for my weekly 25 hour holiday with no gadgets.
     
    #8
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  9. Michael K

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    I'm a little suspicious of Spirit's math.

    @Malcolm Woolf , were you scheduled to fly BWI->FLL and FLL->BWI (non-stop both ways)?

    4 passengers x $93.09 + $120 = $492.36

    If your total airfare was $1764.72, and if your only other flight segment was FLL->BWI, and we assume the same $120 in baggage charges for the return, then that would correspond to a base fare of $1152.36 or 4 x $288.09 per passenger, for the return flight. That would be an unusually high one-way base fare for Spirit, even for a peak holiday. Looking at the upcoming heavy travel period, it looks like the max price for this route is $213. After that, the flights are listed as "sold out."

    Definitely check your flight confirmation for the fare breakdown, or insist on getting the breakdown in writing if you don't have it.
     
    #9
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  10. Malcolm Woolf

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the insights. I'm suspicious of their fuzzy math as well. How do I get a fare breakdown? I've got the confirmation from Spirit, pasted below, but none of my receipts break down the costs per leg. Below is the most receipt that I received from Spirit.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Thank you for choosing Spirit Airlines. This notice contains information to be used during your travels. Please review the contents of this document carefully. For your convenience, please print a copy to take with you on your trip.

    Please do not reply to this email. The reply email address is used solely for outgoing email documents.

    YOUR CONFIRMATION CODE

    BOOKING DATE Monday, September 07, 2015

    Flight
    [​IMG]
    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2015
    TIME DURATION
    Baltimore, MD 6:20 PM 02 h 36 min
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 8:56 PM

    FLIGHT TERMINAL
    443

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2015 TIME DURATION
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 8:30 PM 02 h 22 min
    Baltimore, MD 10:52 PM

    FLIGHT TERMINAL
    240 4

    Please be aware that flight times are subject to change. Notification of schedule changes will be sent to the email address provided at the time of booking.

    Online check-in begins 24 hours before your flight. It's the easy way to save time and money!Definitely reconfirm your flight times on our site on your day of travel - or at any time. It is recommended that you arrive at the airport 2 hours prior to departure time for domestic flights (United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) and at least 3 hours prior to departure time for international flights.
    [​IMG]
    MALCOLM WOOLF
    United States of America
    Purchase Price
    [​IMG]
    Flight Price $1,326.24
    Base Fare $1,121.04
    - Flight $922.24 -
    - Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations $14.88 -
    - Passenger Usage Fee $143.92 -
    - Exchange Fee $40.00 -
    Fuel $205.20
    Bags $240.00
    Government's Cut $198.48
    Security Fee $44.80
    Passenger Facility Fee $36.00
    Segment Fee $32.00
    Federal Excise Tax $85.68
    [​IMG]
    Total $1,764.72
    [​IMG]

    Thank you for booking through Spirit.com

    Additional Information
    [​IMG]
    Click here for full terms and conditions.

    BAGGAGE
    You'll save yourself some money if you buy your bags online right now! You'll automatically get ourFast Bag Drop service, which'll save you time when you get to the airport.

    Remember that you may carry one free personal item on board, like a purse or small backpack, if its dimensions do not exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches (40 x 35 x 30 cm) including handles and wheels.


    November 21, 2015 - Baltimore, MD TO Fort Lauderdale, FL:
    Bag Pricing (each way) Carry-On First Checked
    Bag
    Second Checked
    Bag

    $9 Fare Club member online
    During Spirit.com booking $26 $21 $31
    Before online check-in $31 $26 $36
    During online check-in $36 $31 $41
    Standard online
    During Spirit.com booking $35 $30 $40
    Before online check-in $40 $35 $45
    During online check-in $45 $40 $50
    Group desk, Reservation Center, Airport $55 $50 $60
    At Gate $100 $100 $100

    November 28, 2015 - Fort Lauderdale, FL TO Baltimore, MD:
    Bag Pricing (each way) Carry-On First Checked
    Bag
    Second Checked
    Bag

    $9 Fare Club member online
    During Spirit.com booking $26 $21 $31
    Before online check-in $31 $26 $36
    During online check-in $36 $31 $41
    Standard online
    During Spirit.com booking $35 $30 $40
    Before online check-in $40 $35 $45
    During online check-in $45 $40 $50
    Group desk, Reservation Center, Airport $55 $50 $60
    At Gate $100 $100 $100

    Federal rules require any limit on the airline's baggage liability to be at least $3,500 per passenger.

    Here's more information on our baggage policies, including carry-ons.

    CHECK-IN
    You may be able to check in online 24 hours before your flight. It'll save you time and money at the airport.

    You'll want to get to the airport early to give yourself time to park, get through security, etc. Try to arrive 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international flights.

    All reservations and seat assignments are subject to cancellation without notice if the customer does not have a printed boarding pass in-hand at least 45 minutes prior to the (original) scheduled departure time for all domestic flights, and 60 minutes prior to the (original) scheduled departure time for all international flights including U.S.V.I. flights. For specific city check-in requirements, click here.

    Additionally, you'll need to be at the boarding gate at least 15 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights (30 minutes prior for international departures) or you may lose your reservation.

    Always double check that you have the right documents you need to travel. Remember: every country has different rules, so if you're flying internationally, contact the embassy or consulate of the country you're traveling to and find out what you need.

    Certain foreign countries may charge additional taxes and fees that are collected directly by the local government or competent airport authority upon arrival or departure.

    FLIGHT STATUS
    Click here to check the departure and arrival status of your flight.

    HELPFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES
    Transportation Security Administration - Visit the TSA website and learn all about the new carry-on travel requirements.

    Customs and Border Protection - Visit the U.S. State Department website for travel tips and up-to-date travel information.
    CANCEL / CHANGE
    If you need to modify or cancel your reservation, please visit the Manage Travel tab at spirit.com or call 1.801.401.2222.

    If you cannot make your flight, please visit the Manage Travel tab at spirit.com or call 1.801.401.2222 at least 24 hours prior to the departure of any flight segment to make any changes. Advance notification is required to avoid forfeiting the value of your reservation. Click here for information on travel policies.

    TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK
    If you have a comment or question, click here.
     
    #10
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  11. Malcolm Woolf

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2015
    Messages:
    4
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    Thanks for your reply. How do I get a breakout of the fares? Spirit has declined to provide. And none of the receipts they sent me has the fare broken down. Below is the receipt I received from Spirit in advance of the trip that breaks out fuel, baggage, and security fees, but treats the fare as a standard round trip.
    -----------------------------
    Thank you for choosing Spirit Airlines. This notice contains information to be used during your travels. Please review the contents of this document carefully. For your convenience, please print a copy to take with you on your trip.

    Please do not reply to this email. The reply email address is used solely for outgoing email documents.

    YOUR CONFIRMATION CODE



    BOOKING DATE Monday, September 07, 2015

    Flight
    [​IMG]
    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2015TIMEDURATION

    Baltimore, MD 6:20 PM 02 h 36 min
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 8:56 PM

    FLIGHTTERMINAL
    443

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2015TIMEDURATION
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 8:30 PM 02 h 22 min
    Baltimore, MD 10:52 PM

    FLIGHTTERMINAL
    240 4

    Please be aware that flight times are subject to change. Notification of schedule changes will be sent to the email address provided at the time of booking.

    Online check-in begins 24 hours before your flight. It's the easy way to save time and money!Definitely reconfirm your flight times on our site on your day of travel - or at any time. It is recommended that you arrive at the airport 2 hours prior to departure time for domestic flights (United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands) and at least 3 hours prior to departure time for international flights.
    [​IMG]
    MALCOLM WOOLF
    United States of America
    Purchase Price
    [​IMG]
    Flight Price $1,326.24
    Base Fare $1,121.04
    - Flight $922.24 -
    - Unintended Consequences of DOT Regulations $14.88 -
    - Passenger Usage Fee $143.92 -
    - Exchange Fee $40.00 -
    Fuel $205.20
    Bags $240.00
    Government's Cut $198.48
    Security Fee $44.80
    Passenger Facility Fee $36.00
    Segment Fee $32.00
    Federal Excise Tax $85.68
    [​IMG]
    Total$1,764.72
    [​IMG]

    Thank you for booking through Spirit.com

    Additional Information
    [​IMG]
    Click here for full terms and conditions.

    BAGGAGE
    You'll save yourself some money if you buy your bags online right now! You'll automatically get ourFast Bag Drop service, which'll save you time when you get to the airport.

    Remember that you may carry one free personal item on board, like a purse or small backpack, if its dimensions do not exceed 16 x 14 x 12 inches (40 x 35 x 30 cm) including handles and wheels.


    November 21, 2015 - Baltimore, MD TO Fort Lauderdale, FL:
    Bag Pricing (each way)Carry-OnFirst Checked
    BagSecond Checked
    Bag

    $9 Fare Club member online
    During Spirit.com booking $26 $21 $31
    Before online check-in $31 $26 $36
    During online check-in $36 $31 $41
    Standard online
    During Spirit.com booking $35 $30 $40
    Before online check-in $40 $35 $45
    During online check-in $45 $40 $50
    Group desk, Reservation Center, Airport $55 $50 $60
    At Gate $100 $100 $100

    November 28, 2015 - Fort Lauderdale, FL TO Baltimore, MD:
    Bag Pricing (each way)Carry-OnFirst Checked
    BagSecond Checked
    Bag

    $9 Fare Club member online
    During Spirit.com booking $26 $21 $31
    Before online check-in $31 $26 $36
    During online check-in $36 $31 $41
    Standard online
    During Spirit.com booking $35 $30 $40
    Before online check-in $40 $35 $45
    During online check-in $45 $40 $50
    Group desk, Reservation Center, Airport $55 $50 $60
    At Gate $100 $100 $100

    Federal rules require any limit on the airline's baggage liability to be at least $3,500 per passenger.

    Here's more information on our baggage policies, including carry-ons.

    CHECK-IN
    You may be able to check in online 24 hours before your flight. It'll save you time and money at the airport.

    You'll want to get to the airport early to give yourself time to park, get through security, etc. Try to arrive 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international flights.

    All reservations and seat assignments are subject to cancellation without notice if the customer does not have a printed boarding pass in-hand at least 45 minutes prior to the (original) scheduled departure time for all domestic flights, and 60 minutes prior to the (original) scheduled departure time for all international flights including U.S.V.I. flights. For specific city check-in requirements, click here.

    Additionally, you'll need to be at the boarding gate at least 15 minutes prior to departure for domestic flights (30 minutes prior for international departures) or you may lose your reservation.

    Always double check that you have the right documents you need to travel. Remember: every country has different rules, so if you're flying internationally, contact the embassy or consulate of the country you're traveling to and find out what you need.

    Certain foreign countries may charge additional taxes and fees that are collected directly by the local government or competent airport authority upon arrival or departure.

    FLIGHT STATUS
    Click here to check the departure and arrival status of your flight.

    HELPFUL TRAVEL RESOURCES
    Transportation Security Administration - Visit the TSA website and learn all about the new carry-on travel requirements.

    Customs and Border Protection - Visit the U.S. State Department website for travel tips and up-to-date travel information.
    CANCEL / CHANGE
    If you need to modify or cancel your reservation, please visit the Manage Travel tab at spirit.com or call 1.801.401.2222.

    If you cannot make your flight, please visit the Manage Travel tab at spirit.com or call 1.801.401.2222 at least 24 hours prior to the departure of any flight segment to make any changes. Advance notification is required to avoid forfeiting the value of your reservation.Click here for information on travel policies.

    TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK
    If you have a comment or question, click here.
     
    #11
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  12. Michael K

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    If you booked on Spirit's website, then the fare for each flight should have been visible at the time you selected the flight (if you happen to recall what it was). It's unfortunate that the receipt doesn't include that level of detail.

    You could write to Spirit and ask them for this information. Unfortunately I'm not sure how you can independently verify their response. Maybe someone else can advise you further.

    I suggest you edit your comments above to remove your Confirmation Code. This is a public forum and anyone can use that to view the personal information on your reservation.
     
    #12
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  13. Realitoes

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    Malcolm, that doesn't help much, but maybe one of the TAs here will be able to look up the fares to determine how much you paid each way.

    When booking on-line, they show you the fare for each segment (you have to click next to it to select the flight. As you can see in the example below, the price for Baltimore to Fort Lauderdale segment is actually more than the return trip ($20 more in this case). If someone on here can't find it, Spirit should be able to give you the complete breakdown by segment that you paid.
    Fares.jpg
     
    #13
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
    VoR61 likes this.
  14. Malcolm Woolf

    Joined:
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    Thanks. I didn't realize that could be used. Its now removed.
     
    #14
    VoR61 likes this.
  15. Mike Z

    Staff Member Advocate

    Joined:
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    I would reply back to Spirit and indicate that you are entitled to a refund of all the additional fees and taxes for that segment as well.

    I think the airline needs to provide you with a cost breakdown of each segment that they claim you are being refunded as well as the segment cost that they are not refunding you. I also assume that you took the return trip as planned without any hassle?

    BTW, Spirit does have multiple pricing options for each segment. The return on the Saturday after Thanksgiving would have been an expensive one, so I can see that you may have been charged more originally for that segment. It is also not uncommon for the walk up fares to be the price that you paid for theother airline. As Spirit is refunding you the money after it's flight was cancelled, they are under no obligation to pay any portion of that other flight cost.
     
    #15
  16. Flywisely

    Joined:
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    No, you are not entitled to HALF of your total price paid.
    You are entitled to the missing portion of the total price you paid.
    Since Spirit (NK) has fifteen (15) fares flied for this city pair, you will need to get the Fare Construction Line of your ticket to figure out which fare was used for the return trip.
    Then you can use that information to see how much they owe you.
     
    #16
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
    VoR61 likes this.
  17. Michael K

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    If you can see that, could you confirm for Malcolm whether or not one of those fares is $288.09 (inclusive of taxes)?
     
    #17
  18. Flywisely

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    Just to be very clear, unless you look at your e-ticket receipt carefully and understand what you paid for (fare basis), there is no way to figure out if your refund is correct.
     
    #18
  19. Michael K

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    The receipt Spirit provided the OP does not include this information (and yes, I tried checking the now redacted confirmation code and selected "View Receipt" on Spirit.com)
     
    #19
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