Dear Spirit Airlines,
Thank you for allowing my family to fly to Michigan and be home for my husband’s grandfathers funeral. That is all I give you credit for. We had the worst service both to and from Michigan and will never ever fly your airline again.
It started before we even got to the airport, when I was purchasing the tickets. I called your customer service line to see if there was a cheaper rate and to verify the ages of a lap child. The price you gave me was more then online and your agent stated it was because you charged a $10 per person booking fee. What?? I called your customer service line (i use this term lightly), you answered and then want to charge me for wanting to buy a ticket? I’m sorry but are you trying to phase out actual employees for computers? Or are you just trying to nickle and dime people yet still boasting lowest fare around?
The answer is both. You are trying to do both. I know this because after I booked my ticket (and was forced to join your $9 fare club in order to not pay an absurd amount in baggage fees) I was told I couldn’t print my tickets at home but had to see an agent at the airport. Fine. Sounds reasonable. My address on my card and my billing address didn’t match up. I get it. Security reasons. What I don’t get is the sign at the agent counter declaring “$10 printing fee” for tickets printed by an actual agent and not the kiosks or at home. Now I did not pay the $10 but you have to be kidding me here?! Again, nickle and diming people while trying to use as little manpower as possible. I truly dislike both things. And oh by the way every other airline gives you two free carryons (one carryon and one personal item) and their bag weight for a checked bag is 50 pounds. Not sure why yours is 40, but let me tell you that when I worked at a bank I was required to be able to lift at least 50 pounds. And I lifted more then that most days.
Oh. Lets talk about our first flight. We passed security (who were so kind especially since we were traveling with two young children) and made our way to the gate. And waited. And waited. And waited some more with no announcement or anyone at the terminal to ask why our flight was delayed. At this point we would be late boarding and taking off but no one was available to ask why. Finally when an attendant showed up he rudely said that the captain wasnt ready to let people board. Fair enough. But make an announcement! There was a terminal full of people wondering what was going on.
On the plane we find out that the nickel and diming continues but this time its dollars. Like $3 for a soda or even a bottle of water! I thought it was a joke, but no, the flight attendant walked down the aisle without a cart, but held up a menu and a credit card reader. Super.
End flight one.
Hi. Remember me? I’m the customer that you nickle and dimed the first flight and is not impressed with your lack of customer service? I’m taking a plane home. Oh, no, I’m not.
We walk into the airport to see a huge line starting to form around the spirit counter. As I walk by I tap the empty kiosk and it says temporarily unavailable. I worry that I’m going to be charged a $10 printing fee now but have no other option. When we get in line we learn from others that all the spirit computers are down and there is nothing they can do. Nothing.
We sit on the floor waiting once again for instructions on how to get tickets and get home. The spirit website is down and customer service line can not help. The whole spirit server has apparently crashed. Your agents are able to help only the people who have paid for their bags and printed out their boarding passes. And we get to wait. And wait. We are assured that our flights will not leave without us though no other option or time line is given. We arrived at the airport early and waited almost 2 hours for boarding passes. And It wasn’t just us, it was 5 other spirit flights leaving Detroit that evening.
Finally, 2 hours later we are herded into different lines in hopes of manually writing out boarding passes for everyone. How noble. But when your agents can’t tell their right from their left and switch the lines we should be standing in multiple times, I start to lose my patience. An agent then declares that we should form lines nice and orderly to help move the process along. Excuse me, there are almost 500 people eagerly waiting to get more information on their flights, if you can show me orderly I will gladly do it. We had to push our way through as it was. And once I got to the counter the agent wouldn’t even look me in the eyes let alone say hi. So I stand there being ignored for a good 5 minutes while other agents are running around behind him.
When we are finally helped he asks for id for my two toddlers who are clearly minors as they are 2 and 3. No, no id for them. A nicer older lady jumps in to help check our bag, which I realize later was paid for and everyone’s bag that wasn’t prepaid rode free. Great.
Lets head to our gate and wait some more! We have been at the airport almost 4 hours by now and once again no one is at the kiosk to help or answer questions. Since our tickets were hand written and had no assigned seat I wanted to make sure we sat wit.h our kids and we weren’t separated. I didn’t get the chance to ask before boarding but it worked out that a row was open and we took it. I thought it might be nice if spirit offered a free drink or snack for the trouble. Nope. Did not happen. And when my two hungry toddlers hears the flight attendant say “snacks” they kept asking for them the entire flight. Explain to a 3 year old that snacks are 5 times the price on an airplane and mommy is not buying them. Its fun. Oh and having the flight attendant ask us to clean our mess to help timely departures in the future made me laugh.
So spirit, I guess that’s what I wanted you to know. That I will never be flying your airline due to horrible customer service or lack thereof. You get what you pay for and clearly that was the area you choose to cut corners in. There are some advantages to being the cheapest airline around but what you have done is lost touch with your customers. You have lose your lowest price advantage once your customer service staff neglects to answer simple customer concerns. You lose your advantage when you make up for your low fares by charging for a carry one, or to print tickets at the counter or to buy tickets through an agent. You love your advantage when you try to take people out of the equation and focus solely on money. Spirit, you have lost us and many others as customers because your focus is on the wrong ideal. I hope you are able to right your wrong and quickly. Take cues like this letter or your twitter feed and make the right changes. The one thing you can’t stand to lose is people’s trust and you are dangerously close to doing just that. Sad, but fixable.
A nickle and dimed [exhausted] momma