Trip Report: I gave Spirit a Penny, they gave me $341 in travel

Zion National Park, Utah, USA
I was going to meet Tara in Utah and decided to cut my travel time down by snagging the penny fare for a night flight from San Diego to Las Vegas on Spirit. I went to the airport and bought my ticket (saving $18 in fees) for a whopping $14.21. Since it was a short trip I didn’t need any bags.

Around 8am I received the first of three emails from Spirit letting me know the flight was delayed by two hours. Doing some research, it looked like the plane was delayed leaving Detroit. I appreciated the early warning, but hoped Spirit might use a spare aircraft and/or relief crew to do the round-trip from Vegas to get back on track.

A few hours later, I received more emails saying the flight was delayed even longer with an estimated departure 3.5 hours late. They also sent along a $50 voucher. I began to worry the crew would time out or Spirit might not want to risk whether they’d get a waiver for violating San Diego’s noise ordinance. Still, Spirit said the flight would go at 11:35pm. The early warning allowed me to hang out at home until 9:30pm.

I used the time to book a hotel in Mesquite since this would allow me to split the drive.

I finally made my way to the airport and just as I parked I saw on FlightStats my flight was cancelled. Admittedly, I was frustrated. If I knew hours ago about the cancellation I could have driven, but now I was getting tired and in no condition for an 8 hour drive. After a few moments of panic, I called Tara to vent then called Spirit for options.

Typically, the answer is refund or next flight, which was 10am (meaning I’d miss the tour we scheduled). I was pleasantly surprised hold times were minimal and the agent immediately took ownership of the cancellation. He informed me the 10am flight was booked solid. I could take 8pm flight or a refund. I told him neither really worked for me and he offered to transfer me to another support desk.

Not sure what to expect, I held the line. Sheila came on and also took ownership of the problem, saying it was a crew timing issue that caused the cancellation. She again offered the two options (refund or 8pm), but when I asked for a third she put me on hold and came back offering to fly me to Las Vegas at 7am on Delta at no cost to me. I was shocked. I didn’t think Spirit had an interline agreement with Delta and immediately pounced on the flight. The receipt later showed Spirit paid $241 for the flight.

I then went to work on the non-refundable hotel in Mesquite. The hotel was very sympathetic and offered a full refund without hesitation. I then had to call Hotels.com (where I booked with a coupon) to coordinate with the hotel to get the refund. About 20 minutes later I had my confirmation.

Overnight I received another $50 voucher from Spirit for the cancellations. Neither this voucher nor the one before were prompted by a complaint. It’s nice to see Spirit being proactive.

If I had one critique, it’s that of all the emails I received I never got one saying my flight was cancelled. That’s a big omission. Sure, it stinks I’m still going to miss the tour by a mere 45 minutes, but overall Spirit really stepped up to find solutions with minimal effort on my part. This is a big difference compared to how Spirit may have handled this delay under previous leadership.
Trip Report: I gave Spirit a Penny, they gave me $341 in travel Trip Report: I gave Spirit a Penny, they gave me $341 in travel Reviewed by Brandon on July 06, 2017 Rating: 5

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