Cancelled flight

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Oct 20, 2019
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#1
I'm not sure where to turn after getting no help from Spirit after 65 days since placing my initial complaint. On August 16th our flight from Detroit to Seattle was cancelled after being delayed. Their reason for cancellation was due to 2 flight attendants not showing up for work. After waiting in line for 2 hours to get a new flight we decided to book with another airline for our flight to Seattle and asked for a refund for the cancelled flight. They REFUNDED the cancelled flight but ALSO REFUNDED OUR RETURN FLIGHT home. I told the Spirit representative that I did not ask for a refund for the return flight. She went in a back room and returned with the response that she couldn't get the return flight back. I spoke with a supervisor and he said it was credited to my credit card and they could do nothing about it. I requested they rebook the flight and give it to me at the original cost. They refused. So I had to rebook the flight at the new price. In the end my original flight to Seattle and back was just over $1500.00. Now I had to pay $1084 just to get back home ( to get to Seattle was $3300 because only first class Alaskan Air was available at that time of night).

I put in a complaint to Spirit asking for a refund for the difference in my return flight. I received a response that they received it and resolve complaints in order of received. I have sent several emails to the person who is suppose to be dealing with my complaint and keep getting the same email message. Per DOT and Spirit contract I thought complaints had to be addressed within 60 days. No response since my last email to them sent 2 weeks ago. I don't think I will be hearing from them.

Any suggests???
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
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#2
Unfortunately, in the US when a flight is canceled, the airline is only required to book you on their next available flight with open seats or refund the ticket. If this was a round trip ticket, and you didn't accept a reroute, then they will refund the entire ticket, which includes all flights on the same ticket. I'm afraid this is fairly standard practice in the industry. If these had been booked as two separate tickets, then your return would not have been canceled.

You can use our company contacts above to write the airline about your experience, normally the best you can hope for is a small voucher or miles in these cases.
 
Oct 20, 2019
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#3
Dwayne, thank you for your quick response. I wish Spirit would have provided me with the answer which would have prevented so much frustration. I can now move on and accept my loses.
 
Likes: slb2rf
Jun 24, 2019
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#5
Second response: my experience is that when the airline cancels the outbound leg, the system is set up to cancel the return flight as well, with no input from staff or customer. While this may indeed be standard in the industry, I would prefer to be offered the choice.
 
Likes: jsmithw
Oct 20, 2019
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#6
After more than 2 hours waiting in line. There wasn't an available flight with Spirit for 2 days.We needed to get to Seattle the next day for a cruise. Should have listened to friends and co-workers to avoid Spirit.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#7
Second response: my experience is that when the airline cancels the outbound leg, the system is set up to cancel the return flight as well, with no input from staff or customer. While this may indeed be standard in the industry, I would prefer to be offered the choice.
The airlines do this to prevent hidden city ticketing. The airlines make these restrictions when too many people have taken advantage of the system to bypass paying for round trip flights. Years ago there were no charges for changing flights, you could cancel and receive refunds less fees, there were bereavement rates. Thanks to the public - these thing have stopped or the service fees are high enough to dissuade changes and cancellations. Thats the reason that airlines put these things in place and now it is also becoming a money maker for them.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jun 24, 2019
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#8
Unfortunately, in the US when a flight is canceled, the airline is only required to book you on their next available flight with open seats or refund the ticket. If this was a round trip ticket, and you didn't accept a reroute, then they will refund the entire ticket, which includes all flights on the same ticket. I'm afraid this is fairly standard practice in the industry. If these had been booked as two separate tickets, then your return would not have been canceled.

You can use our company contacts above to write the airline about your experience, normally the best you can hope for is a small voucher or miles in these cases.
Dwayne: I'm not sure that booking these as two separate tickets may always be wise. If OP is seeking to get to Seattle for an event, and can't get there because of an outbound cancellation, then OP might welcome cancellation of the whole PNR. If, on the other hand, OP wants to maintain the return but take a different outbound (depending on Spirit's ability to get OP on another flight), OP may prefer to opt for that rather than buy two last minute tickets.

I had a flight cancellation once on a Sunday where the next available flight was on Wednesday. I'd sure like to have options instead of choosing from two bad choices.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
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www.promalvacations.com
#10
After more than 2 hours waiting in line. There wasn't an available flight with Spirit for 2 days.We needed to get to Seattle the next day for a cruise. Should have listened to friends and co-workers to avoid Spirit.
And this is exactly the problem with discount airlines. They have to put you on the next available flight, which might be days later. Sorry this was an expensive lesson to learn. It probably ended up being more expensive than if you had booked on a major airline in the first place.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#12
After more than 2 hours waiting in line. There wasn't an available flight with Spirit for 2 days.We needed to get to Seattle the next day for a cruise. Should have listened to friends and co-workers to avoid Spirit.
I flew Spirit once from Detroit to Los Angeles. 36 lap children on a full flight. The kid in my row did not cry or make any fuss the entire flight. Not so the other 35, who had organized themselves so that 5-7 were crying at any one time while the others built up their strength.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#13
After more than 2 hours waiting in line. There wasn't an available flight with Spirit for 2 days.We needed to get to Seattle the next day for a cruise. Should have listened to friends and co-workers to avoid Spirit.
The key is not to avoid one airline or another. Rather, to understand prior to booking a flight what subsequent flights are available. I do this even with the major carriers, and encourage others to have at least two subsequent flights (on that airline) that will satisfy my time constraints . . .
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#14
For our OP, the issue here is the airline is only responsible to get you on the next available flight. If that is in two days, that is what it is. If a flight two days in the future is unacceptable because you will miss an event (like a cruise sailing), that falls into the category of consequential damages for which the airline is generally not responsible.

As I understand the facts, OP originally paid $1500 round trip, and was forced to pay about $2800 more because of the cancellation of the tickets. OP can pursue the contacts listed on this site, although as OP has discerned Spirit is not a very consumer relations oriented airline.

If that fails, you can look into a small claims case in Michigan, although that may fail for the reasons we've identified here: the airline's obligation is to get you to your destination on the next available flight and the airline is not responsible for your consequential damages. And forcing Spirit to actually address OP may prompt Spirit to offer a future flight credit as a compromise.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#15
The key is not to avoid one airline or another. Rather, to understand prior to booking a flight what subsequent flights are available. I do this even with the major carriers, and encourage others to have at least two subsequent flights (on that airline) that will satisfy my time constraints . . .
Subsequent flights may be sold out. In our particular case, when we missed our connecting flight ORD to LAX as our inbound was late due to a small tornado in Chicago, American was sold out for the next three days into LAX. Knowing that American flies a dozen or more non-stops a day to LAX (not to speak of Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, John Wayne, etc.) would not be helpful.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#16
All travel itineraries contain both risk and benefit. Consider an A-B-C outbound and a C-D-A return one week later.

Booking all legs in one reservation (PNR) has the benefit of "protection" against flight delays/cancellations. Airlines will generally work to find alternatives. The risk is what we see here: if the passenger is late, the rest of the itinerary will be canceled.

On the other hand, booking A-B-C on one PNR and C-D-A on separate PNRs would "protect" the return itinerary. The risk is that a) if these are non-refundable and b) a flight delay/cancellation involves an alternate airline, a refund request for the second PNR would not work. You'd need to get to "C" to catch the C-D-A portion.

So really, all one can do is assess the risk/benefit and choose which one fits the best . . .
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
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www.promalvacations.com
#17
For our OP, the issue here is the airline is only responsible to get you on the next available flight. If that is in two days, that is what it is. If a flight two days in the future is unacceptable because you will miss an event (like a cruise sailing), that falls into the category of consequential damages for which the airline is generally not responsible.

As I understand the facts, OP originally paid $1500 round trip, and was forced to pay about $2800 more because of the cancellation of the tickets. OP can pursue the contacts listed on this site, although as OP has discerned Spirit is not a very consumer relations oriented airline.

If that fails, you can look into a small claims case in Michigan, although that may fail for the reasons we've identified here: the airline's obligation is to get you to your destination on the next available flight and the airline is not responsible for your consequential damages. And forcing Spirit to actually address OP may prompt Spirit to offer a future flight credit as a compromise.
Spirit did what is required according to the DOT- offered them the next available flight which wasn’t acceptable to OP. So they gave them a refund. That’s all they have to do. I don’t believe they would be successful in a small claims court case.

When you need to be somewhere, fly in a day or two early - never fly on the day you need to be on a ship. Book the earliest flight of the day and look for an airline that has multiple flights a day.

Discount airlines are not always a discount when something like this happens.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#18
Spirit did what is required according to the DOT- offered them the next available flight which wasn’t acceptable to OP. So they gave them a refund. That’s all they have to do. I don’t believe they would be successful in a small claims court case.

When you need to be somewhere, fly in a day or two early - never fly on the day you need to be on a ship. Book the earliest flight of the day and look for an airline that has multiple flights a day.

Discount airlines are not always a discount when something like this happens.
OP has three beefs. First, that OP had to buy first-class tickets on another airline to get to Seattle on time. I'm guessing that the cruise did not leave the day of the flight, so OP behaved reasonably. Alaska has one non-stop a day, which gets in at 5:25 p.m., probably too late to make a cruise ship the same day. Because of that, I'm guessing that OP built a cushion into the travel plans. (Spirit only offers 1-stops DTW to SEA, as far as I can tell.)

Second, OP complains that Spirit cancelled the return flight. While I understand that the computer is programmed to do that (and I've been the victim of that), there was no reason why Spirit could not have fixed that problem at DTW while OP was standing there in line. When OP says, no, I want to keep my return, someone at DTW ought to have the authority to approve that. DTW is a major hub for Spirit.

While I understand that the contract of carriage and DOT rules may only require Spirit to get OP on the next available flight, I'm unaware of any rule which requires Spirit to cancel the return flight when the outbound flight is cancelled by the airline and the passenger wants to keep the return.

OP's third beef is that after 65 days Spirit has not responded. OP can use the contacts here, and OP can complaint to DOT and others about Spirit's response time, although I don't think anyone in the U.S. is under any illusions about Spirit (on which I've flown twice.)
 
Oct 20, 2019
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#19
Just make sure you are flying direct flights. If you have to connect and have a one way flight to the connecting airport and miss the connection - you are buying yourself another ticket to connect.
I always purchase direct flights. Only Alaskan, Delta and Spirit have direct flights to Seattle. I always book the day before a cruise as well. Unfortunately I booked an early evening flight and by the time Spirit canceled the flights all other airlines had departed for the night. Everyone in the airport said they do that intentionally.
I purchased insurance so my insurance paid for the difference in my flight to Seattle but still out the cost of return flight.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
OP has three beefs. First, that OP had to buy first-class tickets on another airline to get to Seattle on time. I'm guessing that the cruise did not leave the day of the flight, so OP behaved reasonably. Alaska has one non-stop a day, which gets in at 5:25 p.m., probably too late to make a cruise ship the same day. Because of that, I'm guessing that OP built a cushion into the travel plans. (Spirit only offers 1-stops DTW to SEA, as far as I can tell.)

Second, OP complains that Spirit cancelled the return flight. While I understand that the computer is programmed to do that (and I've been the victim of that), there was no reason why Spirit could not have fixed that problem at DTW while OP was standing there in line. When OP says, no, I want to keep my return, someone at DTW ought to have the authority to approve that. DTW is a major hub for Spirit.

While I understand that the contract of carriage and DOT rules may only require Spirit to get OP on the next available flight, I'm unaware of any rule which requires Spirit to cancel the return flight when the outbound flight is cancelled by the airline and the passenger wants to keep the return.

OP's third beef is that after 65 days Spirit has not responded. OP can use the contacts here, and OP can complaint to DOT and others about Spirit's response time, although I don't think anyone in the U.S. is under any illusions about Spirit (on which I've flown twice.)
From Spirits Contract of Carriage:


Cancellation of Reservations
2.4.1. All reservations and seat assignments are subject to cancellation without notice if:


c. The guest fails to travel on any flight segment of a booked itinerary and fails to modify/cancel their reservation prior to the time limit outlined in section 3.3. In such instances, all subsequent flight segments on the itinerary will be cancelled.

OP has nothing to lose asking Spirit to reimburse.
 
Likes: VoR61