Here at Ruth to the Rescue, we've received several customer complaints about Spirit Airlines over the past few months.
Then, another situation made national news when a Vietnam veteran, who was told by doctors he was too sick to fly, requested a refund.
He offered proof to the airline, but Jerry Meekins was denied. "They didn't want to look at any of it or hear about it. They just wanted to keep the money," he said.
Local Travelers Share Horror Stories
Ginny Finn-Chartow of West Bloomfield says she went through an awful experience in April. She booked a round trip flight from Detroit to Fort Myers and everything was fine on the way down. On April 12, her return flight was canceled at the last minute. She says about 150 passengers were told there would be no return flight until April 19!
"That was a week later. and everybody had to be home the next day, or at least that very weekend," she told Ruth to the Rescue.
While Finn-Chartow says she was given a refund of $146 dollars, she says she had to spend $558 for a return flight on Delta. So, what was supposed to be a $280 round trip on Spirit ended up costing a total of $692.
Too sick too fly?
Tom and Kathy Reynolds were supposed to go to Las Vegas on April 24th, unfortunately he had a stroke just before Easter. He tried to cancel.Like the Vietnam vet in Florida, Spirit told him he could not get his money back.
"Medical emergency is treated as any other customer than changes their mind," Tom Reynolds said.
We contacted Spirit Airlines on behalf of Tom Reynolds.
Misty Pinson, the Director of Corporate Communications said, "We offer our customers affordable travel insurance to cover a variety of unexpected circumstances that may arise. We do not make exceptions just because someone has a medical issue and goes to the media."
Why fly Spirit?
We spoke travel consultant David Fishman of the Cadillac Travel Group in Southfield. He told Ruth to the Rescue, "The positive thing about Spirit Airlines is that they're inexpensive."
He says Spirit used to have a great reputation, years ago, but something changed along the way.
That brings us back to Ginny Finn-Chartow's experience, why couldn't she get a flight back to Detroit for seven days?
Spirit Airlines says Finn-Chartow's flight was canceled because of maintenance issues, and passenger safety is paramount.
Also, the airline is still looking into her claim that there wasn't another flight for seven days.
We did find passengers at Metro Airport willing to praise Spirit Airlines, if at times cautiously.
"I thought the pricing was attractive. I thought the planes were very beautiful," said one traveler from New York.
Another told us "I've flown Spirit Airlines before, they're great getting your from point A to point B- but if there's a hiccup sometimes there's a problem."
One Family gets help from Spirit
Spirit did help another family that came to Ruth to the Rescue, but it took awhile.
The Tomayko family almost missed a family cruise when spirit airlines starting messing with their flight to Florida. After a lot back and forth, Spirit refunded the price of the tickets, but the family had racked up another thousand dollars in expenses to get where they needed to go.
The Ruth to the Rescue unit advised Karolyn Tomayko to send a complaint to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Only then, did Spirit admit it made a mistake and agree to reimburse the family for the extra money spent. At last check, the family is still waiting to be paid back.