Spirit – the worst airline in America


July 10, 2012

 Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear ACPD,

I’m writing to file a complaint against Spirit Airlines.

I’m 44 yrs old and have been taking commercial flights since I was 11 throughout the US and some to Europe, Mexico, Canada and Central America.

On Sunday, I  had the worst experience of my life with any airline and felt compelled to share this with you.

My return flight #615 was due to leave Boston/Logan at 6:45pm on Sunday, July 8th landing in Fort Lauderdale.

I arrived at the gate 2 hours early and watched the flight display monitor which indicated the flight was on time with no delays ever posted or announced on the intercom.

At exactly 6:16pm (29 minutes before scheduled take off) the gate attendant announced the flight was cancelled and all passengers would need to go to the ticketing counter at the front of airport.  There was no prior indication of a delay or change.

I then quickly ran to the ticketing counter and was approximately 20th in line out of all 150? passengers (it was a completely full flight).

The ticketing attendant had no idea what to do.  He wasn’t told how to handle all the passengers wanting a new flight or refund.  So we waited.  Eventually other staff arrived.

At no time was there an announcement what we were supposed to do.  So, you had 150+ people standing in a line with no information: Why the flight was cancelled?;  Where was our luggage?: Can we get on another flight; When is the next flight; Should we find a flight on another airline on our own or will Spirit do that for us?  If we book another flight, do we get a refund?;  If so, how do we do that?; If we have to stay the night is there a hotel voucher.

So, the 150+ passengers had no information.  None of airline staff ever made an announcement on the intercom to inform of us our choices.  This created a near-panic environment with elderly people and families with young children not knowing what to do.

The crowd grew so unruly that eventually a Massachusetts State Police Officer had to take control of the crowd because the airline staff would not.  The staff simply abandoned their duties and responsibilities to the passengers.

It was the worst-handled flight situation I have ever witnessed and could have very simply been avoided by communicating with the passengers.

At no point did any staff member ever even walk down the line to tell us what we needed to do.

Then, simply out of the blue, a 2nd line formed and passengers starting rushing and pushing to get into it only to find out that the new, 2nd line was if you wanted a refund but not rescheduling.  This was never communicated to us.

Then, again, out of the blue, a 3rd line formed and more people stampeded to that line to find out that the line was in you wanted hotel vouchers.  Again, there was no announcement or information.

It was utter chaos.  No one knew what to do.

By not communicating with the passengers, the airline staff created a dangerous situation that began to threaten people’s safety.

In all my years of flying, I have never witnessed a situation so poorly mis-handled.

  • Why does the FAA allow an airline to continue mis-treating passengers like this?
  • Doesn’t a “Passengers Bill of Rights” prevent such behavior?
  • How will the FAA discipline an airline for creating an avoidable, dangerous environment?


Liam Crotty

P.S.  I finally made it home to Miami 48 hours later than scheduled.  Spirit refused to put me on another airline and only rescheduled me after I called their 800# (it was impossible to get them to reschedule me in the airport); I had to return to Maine for two nights; no hotel, transportation or meal vouchers.  I paid everything on my own because they refused to take care of those expenses.

3661 Palmetto Ave #3
Coconut Grove, FL  33133

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