Thanks For Cancelling My Flight to Jamaica, Spirit Airlines… No Really!
Eyes narrowed simmering with anger…
View most any commercial jet airliner head-on as above and it’s almost impossible to avoid ascribing some similarly perfunctory personification. For many travelers, this applies exponentially when the air carrier in question is Spirit Airlines.
The airline everyone loves to hate…
You know Spirit Airlines, Home Of The Bare Fare, distasteful marketing, and notorious nickel-and-diming over seemingly every aspect of the inflight experience. There’s scarcely ever been a more disliked airline. (For more on this, see spirit-sucks.net.)
You never know…
So, knowing all of this negative stuff, as any travel industry vet like me should, I’ve long made a point of avoiding Spirit Airlines at all costs. That all changed with my almost escape to Jamaica last week. Air seats were tight, fares were way high… Spirit was the only option.
The escape, though, never happened. Our flight got canceled.
That there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to fly that day was, of course, known to me long before the wife and I arrived at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport last Tuesday. Tropical Storm Emily was looming nearby. I could see the dark storm clouds rolling in through the tiny windows of the jetway as I made my way aboard the aircraft. Just as I took my seat, it started to rain. Fingers were crossed but to no avail.
That’s the Spirit…
We taxied out to the runway, where we appeared to be next up for take-off. Instead, we sat there, just at the edge of the runway for two hours. We watched as just a handful of flights were allowed to land, but no one was allowed to take off. The airport was closed, and so was the window for our escape.
I’d been in similar predicaments before with other airlines –– stuck on tarmacs, the engines shut off to conserve fuel, barely and a/c circulating through the cabin, scant few announcements, and no offer of snacks or water.
None of that was the case on this particular day aboard my Spirit flight that never was.
The captain did a great job keeping us informed throughout the ordeal. Flight attendants remained calm, helpful, open to questions; even joking about Spirit’s fee-mongering rep while doling out complimentary snacks and water. Customer service reps I spoke to by phone were similarly pleasant and accommodating.
For a rough and ultimately disappointing experience, it really couldn’t have gone much better.
All of the passengers I witnessed aboard and after deplaning seemed to agree as there was no sign of the yelling and shouting (or worse) you sometimes hear about with flight cancellations. I mean, the weather was clearly terrible along our intended flight path. Spirit was not to blame and I’m glad that they/the airport erred on the side of caution.
So, Negril will have to wait. Based on this latest experience, though, I won’t hesitate to give Spirit Airlines another try next time.
*Photo credit: Flickr user Bernal Saborio.