Spirit Stranded Customers Dissatisfied With Company Response | Company

Canceled flights, long waiting hours, reduced staff, additional expenses and little or no compensation.

These are just some of the many challenges that, for the past several days, have plagued travelers using Spirit Airlines at several airports across the country, including the Puerto Rico market. In fact, Spirit has canceled more than 1,000 flights since last Sunday, and hundreds more have been delayed. At the same time, he announced on Wednesday that 400 (60%) of the day’s flights would also be canceled in an attempt to “restart” its operations.

The company attributed the flight cancellations and delays to “overlapping operational challenges including weather conditions, system failures and personnel shortages which caused numerous irregularities in our operations and affected crew planning.” .

However, many customers have expressed dismay at Spirit’s handling of the whole ordeal. As the airline struggles to overcome its operational disruptions, travelers have found themselves stranded – some without any kind of pay – unsure of when they will be able to reach their destinations. In addition, various sources noticed heated exchanges and blackouts as tensions erupted in the long lines of their respective terminals.

THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER interviewed two travelers stranded in Puerto Rico and two others who cannot yet return to the island. These are their stories.

Jon torres

Torres, from Austin, Texas, came to Puerto Rico on July 27 with a close friend to visit his extended family. Originally scheduled for Saturday to take off from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), they were unable to join the plane due to logistical errors.

“We got there three hours early and when we got there they told us to get on a specific line, so we got on that line. We waited about two hours in that queue just for them to tell us they put us in the wrong queue. Then we tried to change lines and by the time we got there the flight had already left. They refused to reimburse us; their reasoning was that the flight had taken off because it had not been canceled, although we had no way of knowing because they only had two people working there, ”he explained, adding that other airline employees were reportedly seen hiding in another room.

Torres and his friend asked if they could book another flight and were first told that another flight would be provided for them, and that if this was canceled, they could travel via JetBlue. Arrived on Tuesday, however, their scheduled departure was also impacted.

“Today (Tuesday) was supposed to be our flight and they didn’t even let us know until midnight that our flight had been canceled, and they didn’t help us with any compensation or what to do next. We tried to watch. other airlines, but they are all full, ”he said.

Unlike many other travelers in similar situations, they were able to stay with Torres’ family in San Juan, for which they did not have to incur additional accommodation costs. Alas, Torres lamented that he paid for other necessities through his credit card. “I hope that when I get back I can work to pay for this,” he said.

When asked if he would take legal action against the airline, he replied, “I would love to, honestly. At the same time, I’m so exhausted trying to deal with it all that I didn’t even think about it, but yes, I would love to. “

Bernadette kelly

Unlike Torres, Kelly is stranded in Florida in an attempt to return to Puerto Rico, where she resides. She, her husband and their three children first traveled to Texas to see their family and left Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) for Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday night at 7 p.m. The next morning, at 2 a.m., they were due to go to Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

On Sunday evening, they were informed via an app that their flight would be delayed due to a storm, but they were in prolonged unpredictability.

“We have been updated via [the app], which was great… But we had no idea what Operation Spirit was until we got to Florida and apparently it was before we even left DFW. So we didn’t know anything about possible flight cancellations, flight issues or anything until we got there, and then we saw the chaos at the Spirit terminal, ”Kelly said, adding that they had passed eight. hours in the pre-booking queue with only one employee available.

Regarding compensation, the airline offered a hotel night worth $ 150 and a $ 7 food voucher for each member at an Italian restaurant near the airport. With their next flight booked between Friday and Saturday, the family had to pay for their extended stay, meals and Uber trips. In addition, they also had to buy clothes as their luggage had been delayed at DFW and they would not receive them until Tuesday.

Kelly noted that her husband – an entrepreneur – works remotely and that they are able to cover the additional expenses, but lamented that other passengers do not have the resources to extend their stay.

“I keep telling my friends I’m lucky we can handle this. It was just hard for me to see the people who couldn’t afford the extra days to be here and stuff, and one of the employees told us that she was in her car and that she was is asked if she should enter because she knew what she was going to enter. It’s heartbreaking to see the employees because they are just working, they don’t know what’s going on, ”she said.

Chasity Jackson

Jackson arrived in Puerto Rico with four friends on July 28 for a pleasure trip and they were due to return to Virginia on August 1, last Sunday. After reaching the boarding gate for their return trip, they were notified through the app that their flight had been canceled, even though they were supposed to board.

“After waiting 10 minutes after seeing the app, someone came to the door saying there were no pilots or flight attendants,” she recalls. According to Jackson, there were about three airline employees in attendance and one in the back. “They kept going back (in the other room). Then after they made their announcement and we went back to the counter, I didn’t see anyone. They weren’t helping, ”she added.

Jackson said Spirit offered them a $ 7 food voucher each expiring in one day, a $ 50 travel voucher expiring in September, and a partial refund.

Eventually, after paying an extra night at Airbnb, she got a return flight through Southwest Airlines and returned last Monday. However, she said they had received “no help from any other airline. They were completely confused and no one helped us. We were forced to fend for ourselves. “

“How has this affair affected you financially?” »Asked your correspondent.

“Drastically. Had to cancel work on Monday because of them. Rent is due and I had to use money [that] I did not have. Had to shell out almost $ 500 to get another flight, food, accommodation and a taxi to and from the [SJU] airport, ”Jackson replied.

David Binkowski

Like Kelly, Binkowski is a resident of Puerto Rico who is stranded in the Americas. He and his son are staying with his mother in Michigan longer than expected, after his Spirit flight from Detroit Wayne County Metro Airport (DTW) was delayed on Monday.

Specifically, they were supposed to go to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), where they would connect to the SJU. When Binkowski and his son arrived in the DTW, their flight to FLL had been delayed. While waiting to resolve the dilemma, their flight from FLL to SJU was canceled. “So I asked to be transferred to Thursday hoping they would have understood it,” he said.

Eventually, he requested a refund and booked a flight from the DTW to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), then another from the EWR in San Juan. Rather than wait for Spirit, he opted for Delta and United Airlines.

THE WEEKLY JOURNAL asked if the company had responded to its request for reimbursement.

“No, I had to use the chatbot to request one – the wait times on the phone are insane. They offered me a flight credit for the full amount, but I don’t want a credit on a airline that can’t get its act together or go bankrupt. If they deny my claim, I’ll see if there’s a class action lawsuit because it’s crazy – selling flights without workers to get people here. by the way, they still sell SJU flights, ”Binkowski said. Spirit currently offers flights to SJU starting tomorrow, August 5.

Statement on Spirit Airlines Problems

At the time of going to press, Spirit Airlines has not responded to THE WEEKLY JOURNAL’s request for comment. However, the company released a statement on Wednesday about the situation which has affected a plethora of travelers and left families stranded.

In a letter, the airline wrote that “the past three days have been extremely difficult for our guests and team members, and for that, we sincerely apologize. We continue to work tirelessly to get our customers where they need to be.

“After working on yesterday’s proactive cancellations, we implemented a more in-depth network restart, allowing us to reassign our teams more efficiently and restore the network more quickly. As a result, the number of cancellations will gradually decrease in the coming days. By taking an in-depth look at the challenges we face, we have identified opportunities for improvement that will help us operate a more resilient network and better serve our customers, ”added Spirit.

According to the company, lines at airports have shrunk “substantially” as it progresses in relocating its customers after cancellations. Likewise, employees in different areas are working to speed up various areas, “such as processing vouchers for meals and desserts.”

In addition, Spirit has once again denied rumors of a pilots’ strike. On Twitter, Spirit ALPA MEC, the Master Executive Council of the Air Line Pilot’s Association, wrote on August 2 that “Spirit Airlines has recently experienced a series of operational difficulties. These problems are not due to a strike by the pilots. Any such rumor or report is totally false … Spirit pilots are working diligently with other groups of employees to get back to business in a safe and professional manner as soon as possible.

A Twitter user responded by asking, “What about the rumors that staff are hiding from customers and being encouraged to change their uniforms?” Completely wrong too? Spirit did not respond to this claim, which Torres also supported in his account of events.

According to the New York Stock Exchange, the company’s shares fell nearly -4 percent on Wednesday after apparently getting back on track last Monday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Transportation is receiving complaints from concerned travelers about its Aviation Consumer Protection Bureau website.

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