How My Mom Got “Spirit’ed” & How I Got Her Some Compensation

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Reach Out to Airline's Social Media Channels for Compensation

Reach Out to Airline’s Social Media Channels for Compensation

Spirit, I have written so many nice things about you lately.  People hate getting nickel and dimed by you but I figured out a way to beat you at it.  I love getting to fly in pseudo luxury for a fraction of the cost of economy seats on everyone else. You have the best on time stats in the country and I even found a use for your mostly useless miles.  But the one thing that is tough is cancellations.  Since you don’t have partnerships with other airlines and some of your routes are only flown once per day you leave customers stranded, like you did with my mom.

Spirit offered her no compensation for this cancellation. I show you why you sometimes need to reach out to airline’s social media channels for compensation.

The Cancellation Story

My mom visited for the weekend out of Jacksonville.  She had an 11am flight back home on a Sunday so I got her to the airport and everything seemed perfect.  That is until Spirit decided to cancel her flight out of nowhere.

The gate agents claimed it was out of their hands, they tried to say it was weather related.  The weather in Detroit was perfect, it was good in Jacksonville and it was good in Austin where the plane was coming from.  So that didn’t seem to be the case at all.  Some passengers heard the crew talking and said they were going to time out and they didn’t want to pay overtime.  That is a shortsighted decision if that was the case.

The options offered were she could fly to Orlando and figure it out from there or she could fly out Monday or Tuesday.  I was surprised the flight was canceled since it was so early in the day but they only fly from Detroit to Jacksonville once per day.  You would think they would delay the flight until they could get a new crew or plane or both.

Reach Out to Airline's Social Media Channels for Compensation

Rebooking & Cancellation

I found her a one way flight on Delta for $250 and I booked her on it.  I told her to try to get compensation to offset the cost I had to outlay.

After waiting in line for about an hour she got to speak to the gate agents.  She said that Monday or Tuesday wouldn’t do since she would be missing work, having to pay for a hotel, would have to pay for another day of parking etc.  They told her there was nothing more they could do.  She asked for compensation but they said they were told by supervisors that no compensation was to be offered.  They “tried” calling a supervisor after talking to her but they wouldn’t pick up.  They probably were only *69ing someone (where are my 80’s kids at?).

Unfortunately the US doesn’t have anything like EU 261 or even the new laws that were put into place in Canada this month.  That means airlines can do pretty much anything they want with a canceled flight and give you something or offer you nothing.

How I Finally Got Compensation

I wasn’t going to give up since I thought that was some terrible customer service.  Spirit cancels the flight, probably because they used the plane for a different route, but offer their customers nothing but a $60 refund.

I reached out to the Spirit Twitter team and laid it out to them.  I even threw in the part about how they said it was weather related but that workers said it was something else.  Within a hour or so I got a response and I totally expected to have to fight about an act of God “weather” that so supposedly caused this cancellation.

They did put something about that in their response but they also offered me a $100 voucher for her to use on her next flight.  That plus the $60 refund gets me a lot closer to even on this then I was at the start of it.  I accepted the offer but wish they had just led with that at the gate.  But they probably only had to shed out a handful of these versus what they would have if they just gave everyone one.  That does make me sad – ALWAYS pursue compensation.  This is a “service” industry after all.

Final Thoughts

Cancellations happen, on every airline too. This isn’t a unique story to Spirit.  Check out my sister’s American Airlines flight last year to see just as asinine of an occurrence.

I do think they could have handled the whole situation a lot better.  I’ll fly them again in the future since I know this isn’t unique to them and their prices can’t be beat most of the time.  They have made huge strides over the past few years but they haven’t learned that being cheap with their customers costs you in the long run yet.  Hopefully that lesson is learned over the next few years. But I won’t hold my breath, they are an airline after all. I probably should have used Freebird like Shawn though.


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. so, if i buy the service & the flight is cancelled or delayed, freebird helps me book an available flight with $0 fares? Thx

  2. I reached out to their twitter team…Southwest IS an option. I think I am definitely going to try it for my family’s flight down. I am going to wait closer to departure to purchase just in case they go under….that way can do charge back.

  3. I have my family booked on a Spirit flight IND-MCO in January. Has anyone here used Freebird to help protect in case of a Spirit cancellation? IF so, do you know if they will re-book on SW? I’m assuming that they will have a later flight once they actually extend their schedule.

    Our o/w NK flight was $85 including bags/seats so think the $19/ticket might not be a bad investment.


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