Joe and I have always poked fun at Spirit Airlines. It’s not their fault. Well, in some ways it is. But we’re just at a time in our lives where we want to pay one price for our flight and not get nickeled and dimed for virtually everything. So we’ve never flown Spirit.
Over time though, they seemed to be doing better:
- They’ve been ranked as #1 for on time performance
- ^^^ More than once!
- They recently announced all kinds of upgrades to their planes to increase comfort
- they had even worked with Disney a few years ago to improve their customer service
And in general, I had heard less bad things about them. So (and I haven’t even told Joe this) I was ready to possibly consider them as a possible option.
Mark Matousek is a transportation reporter for Business Insider. He recently wrote about his third flight with Spirit. You can read about it here but his Reader’s Digest condensed version (“TL/DR,” for those of you under a certain age) is:
- I’ve flown Spirit Airlines three times and have been consistently disappointed.
- But my most recent trip with the airline was the worst travel experience of my life.
- I arrived in New York 34 hours later than originally scheduled for reasons both within and outside Spirit’s control.
- Only once did I feel like I was treated with anything but indifference by the airline and its employees.
- Had Spirit’s customer service exceeded my expectations, the trip could have reversed my negative opinion of the airline.
- But I’m now even more motivated to never fly Spirit again.
My take on his post:
There are all kinds of things going through my head…
When I was reading it, my very first thought was, “If he had already had really bad experiences with his first 2 flights on Spirit, why in the world did he book them a third time? Lesson learned, cut your losses and don’t use them!” We’ve sworn off an airline for years and just don’t use them…even if they’re the cheapest, most convenient, etc.
My second thought was that dude really needs to check out Freebird. He totally could have gotten to his destination faster, on that first flight in 2017, if he had it.
I thought his wanting some sort of compensation was VERY unrealistic. I don’t care what Delta did 2 years ago; Spirit is an airline that saves/makes money by charging you for printing out your boarding pass at the airport and $3 for a bottle of water, and you expect them to put a whole plane up in hotel rooms, because of a weather delay?
As for his whole issue with not knowing where his bags were, dude, they sell RFID tags you can get so you can track your bags wherever they are.
I could believe that Spirit’s customer service might have something to be desired. Despite some of their flight attendants having a great sense of humor, unless the lessons learned from Disney in 2017 are carried over and taught to newbies and reinforced to everyone on a regular basis, those people skills could easily be lost. No wonder why they were voted one of America’s most hated travel companies in 2018 (and in 2019 they ranked even worse).
Of course, we don’t know Mark Matousek’s attitude when he was talking to the Spirit reps. And, of course, you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar. He didn’t say how he treated the airline’s employees in question, but he used the words “incompetence,” “carelessness,” and “penny-pinching,” while saying that he was “disappointed” and “frustrated,” which are all pretty angry words. So it makes me kind of wonder, y’know? Refusing to discuss the situation with Spirit afterward also seemed, if you will, a little mean spirited. And definitely not very journalistic.
But still, in looking at just his side of the story, it’s probably just enough for me to go back to saying I’ll never fly Spirit (Sorry not sorry, Joe).
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary