Ramcharan, who has flown on Spirit before, said she had trouble paying for her bags online and eventually had to cough up an extra $40 at the airport for the couple's luggage.
Spirit spokeswoman Alison Russell said the issue is not baggage -- and instead blamed the long lines on inadequate airport facilities. She said the airline has told Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood that it needs more ticket space, as well as gates.
At issue, she said, is that Terminal 4 still has the Transportation Security Administration's huge baggage screening machines in the lobby area, which take up precious space.
The airport has been planning to have the baggage screening equipment removed from the lobby and placed downstairs, out of sight. That would give Spirit at least a dozen more ticket counter check-in positions, Russell said.
''We can't create space out of nowhere,'' Meyer said. ''Their incredible growth has happened very fast, and we can't create the space overnight.''
Meanwhile, construction will begin by Aug. 24 at Terminal 4, adding 11 new ticket counters, expanded Customs and Federal Inspection areas and other facilities.
Boeing743 From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 406 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4076 times:
I has not been keep close eyes on Spirit airlines. Sound like they are doing pretty well. FLL would need to start find a way to make room for all of those aircrafts and passengers if they want to grow at FLL. Also, I am wonder how is Spirit doing at DTW since it is kind of small hub out of DTW? I may be wrong about it. I has not really hear about Spirit very much and midwest too so I am not sure how they are really doing.
A330300 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 172 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 3906 times:
I flew from FLL to DTW yesterday on Spirit, and it was a true mess.
Spirit shares this facility with Avianca and Air Jamaica, and those passengers do not travel light. Spirit was holding back people who did not have flights within ONE hour from using kiosks, and even then, there was a line for kiosk/bag check. Eventually, I went around and used an open kiosk since I had no bags to check. Security screening took half an hour - people were constantly being pulled forward as their flights approached departure time, and the mere announcement of pulling people forward (Port-au-Prince and Orlando) created mass havoc and confusion.
Pizzaandplanes From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 7, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 3169 times:
FLL overall seems pretty crowded and I think they could use expansion to their terminals. As for Spirit, how's their service from ACY-LAS doing? They seem like they are capturing some inviting niche markets domestically and internationally.
NADC10Fan From United States of America, joined May 2005, 164 posts, RR: 11 Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2106 times:
Frankly, the space issue would probably be meaningless by now, had we been able to decide on an expansion plan and get it through. Each and every such option includes MAJOR expansion of T4, and would eliminate the problem. Sadly, we still will have to deal with half-measures such as they're speaking of, because the recently approved plan will likely be unable to start for quite a while to come.
Miafll From Jamaica, joined Jun 2000, 143 posts, RR: 0 Reply 10, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1895 times:
More rough news for Spirit in the press.
Michigan passenger wins judgment
Spirit canceled, never rebooked
July 15, 2007
BY ELLEN CREAGER
FREE PRESS TRAVEL WRITER
Score one for the little guy.
In the middle of a long hot summer of cancelations and delays, an airline has been ordered to pay an East Lansing woman $1,350.75 after it canceled her family's flight at Detroit Metro Airport and never rebooked them.
Jane Waun sued Spirit Airlines in the small claims division of East Lansing's 54B District Court as a last resort this spring after trying unsuccessfully to resolve her beef with the airline directly.
She won her case Monday mainly because Spirit never showed up for the original hearing and didn't have a good excuse. But the judgment reimburses her hotel and meal costs, a lost night at her destination and the four tickets she had to purchase on a different airline.
Will other passengers fed up with airline bad behavior now haul them off to small claims court, too?
"I'd encourage them to give it a shot," says aviation attorney Don Frank of Okemos. Even if you don't win, "it can be cathartic."
In Waun's case, Spirit Airlines likely will pay the judgment "and move forward," says spokeswoman Alison Russell.
Still, Waun, 55, who never sued anyone before, likely won't get the one thing she really wants -- an apology.
"If Spirit just would have admitted their error and apologized," she says, "I would have flown them again."
Abandoned at Metro
On March 23, Waun, traveling out of Metro Airport with her husband and 81- and 83-year-old parents, found out that their flight, NK681 to Ft. Myers was canceled.
Counter agents would not rebook passengers. They passed out the airline's telephone number to call instead. Waun waited on hold for hours but never even got through.
Meanwhile, the family was in trouble. They had taken the bus from East Lansing and had no car. Waun had to pay for two rooms and dinner at the Westin Airport Hotel. She also had to buy four new outbound tickets on Northwest Airlines for the next day.
In the evening, she finally got through to Spirit by phone. The agent confirmed her party had never been rebooked and agreed to credit the lost outbound portion of their tickets.
Waun later wrote letters to Spirit, attempting to get reimbursed for her additional costs.
The airline declined.
So, she sued.
A rare win for passengers
In small claims court, no lawyers are used. It was up to Waun to argue her case. But she didn't have to say a word.
On May 14, she appeared before Judge Richard Ball, but no one from Spirit showed up, and she won by default.
Spirit filed a motion for rehearing, and a second court date was set July 9. That day, Michael Cox, general manager for Spirit's Detroit operations, appeared on behalf of the airline.
The judge was unsympathetic.
"Why should I set aside this judgment?" Ball asked.
Cox explained that Spirit's headquarters in Florida didn't get the information about the first hearing. Not good enough, Ball replied. He had a document signed by Spirit's local Michigan agency -- coincidentally, located just down the street from the courthouse -- proving the airline had been served with the hearing notice.
"And do you have any defense to this woman's claim?" the judge asked.
Cox said that Spirit legally has no obligation to fly any of its routes and cannot be held responsible for canceling flights. The airline's contract with its passengers, called a "contract of carriage," is clear about that, he said.
The judge was not impressed.
"I am afraid I cannot set aside the default judgment," said the judge.
Waun had won.
Records are not kept of small claims court proceedings, so there is no national data about how many passengers sue the airlines. But aviation attorneys say it is very rare to win such a case. Airlines with deep pockets can get cases dismissed from small claims court, claiming it has no authority over federal aviation law. It can even get cases moved to federal court.
The last publicized air passenger victory was in 2005 when Thatcher Stone of New York won $3,100 in small claims court for mishandled luggage and inconvenience after he and his daughter were bumped off a Continental flight en route to a ski trip to Colorado.
But bumping is different from cancellation. And Stone was hardly the average passenger -- he's a well-known aviation attorney.
Waun was a regular air traveler. And she wanted answers.
Real solution elusive
Outside the courtroom, Waun pigeonholed Cox. She asked why she and other passengers had been treated so shabbily the day their flight was canceled.
He told her that when 150 people are on a canceled flight, the counter agents can't handle them, so people have to call.
"But nobody could get through," she said. "Don't you have enough employees?"
When asked for comment by a Free Press reporter, Cox declined.
Later, people with other cases before the court that day came into the hall to congratulate Waun.
"On behalf of everyone who has been canceled by an airline, thank you," one man said.
Waun said she was sad she did not get a chance to tell the judge her whole story, but she was glad she won.
"I worked in (insurance) customer relations for a long time, answering complaint letters and calls. If someone had a complaint, the first thing I'd do is say I'd look into it. If a mistake was made, I'd apologize," she said.
Now, Spirit has 21 days to pay up. Small claims judgments cannot be appealed.
Aviation attorney Stone says Waun's win is rare because the flying public does not have many rights, even in court.
"The real issue is not the infrequent nature of these awards, but rather, Congress' unwillingness to address the issues created by more and more bumped passengers and the absence of an airline passengers' bill of rights, notwithstanding an overcrowded and overburdened air transport system," he says.
Will Waun's concerns about Spirit customer service be addressed? Did she get the attention of the airline? Spirit spokeswoman Russell says that yes, the airline has just contracted with a new Florida company to help staff the phone lines so callers won't get busy signals anymore.
To accomplish this, it will close its last Michigan call center and lay off 131 people.
Contact ELLEN CREAGER at 313-222-6498 or email@example.com.
NADC10Fan From United States of America, joined May 2005, 164 posts, RR: 11 Reply 11, posted (6 years 5 months 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 1657 times:
Rough for Spirit, but perhaps a good wakeup call. While you DO get what you pay for, there's still a reasonable expectation of responsibility; and Spirit was at best laggard in responding. Hopefully they'll take that lesson properly.