Dear Spirit Airlines,
Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot. After all, it was almost midnight in the Ft. Laudedale airport at the swamped ticket desk and I had my inconsolable wife and apoplectic 8-year old hanging on me as well as half of South America behind me in line trying desperately to get home. They seemed very agitated, probably because they were wondering which one would happen first: finding a Spirit reservations agent that spoke Spanish or The Rapture. Got to tell you, my money was on The Rapture.
Fortunately, I not only know English, but am fluent in Jackass-ese as well. So I understood you perfectly when several representatives of your apathetic airline explained that having to wait 24 hours for another flight to such remote destinations as Dallas, Texas is not uncommon and "delays happen and it is what it is." And I think you really do say it best when you say nothing at all like earlier that day when your gate agents at the St. Thomas airport waited until well after our plane was scheduled to leave to bother walking all the way over to Gate 1 to tell over 150 concerned travelers that our flight to Ft. Lauderdale had been delayed by four hours. No overhead announcement either. That would have spoiled the surprise and might have even given several of us a chance to make arrangements since we were all going to miss our connecting flights. We tried calling your toll-free reservations line (can't believe you don't charge for that call, you're slipping), but they told us they could do nothing because it had to be handled by a gate agent at the airport. But here's the funny thing about that, once you go through security in St. Thomas, the only way out of the terminal is on a flight or as a TSA handcuffs tester. That's genius. You know, you guys should also offer skydiving. And just think, you could charge an extra-carry on bag fee for the parachute.
But no complaints. After all, your gate agent in St. Thomas did hurriedly hand us a bunch of crumpled papers as we were actually boarding the flight and said something like, "these are your vouchers, take them" as if she were tossing us a life preserver. Since I had never used airline vouchers before and they came in like six carbon copy colors and all the info on them was written illegibly, I thought they might be tissues, especially since my wife was crying. Sure, at some point during the over six hours I was at the St. Thomas airport waiting for this flight might have been a better time to take a minute to explain how vouchers work and what the actual name of the hotel and cab company were that we'd need to use, but I can admit that the judges would not have awarded your frantic gate agent as many degree of difficulty points if she hadn't waited to give them to us until we had one foot out the door to the tarmac.
Again, no complaints though. The hotel you sent us to was real nice. Even though there are over 50 hotels located next to or within a mile or so to the Ft. Lauderdale airport (mostly well-known nationwide, budget chains for business travelers), you thought enough of us to send us to a quaint little fixer-upper over 10 miles away. It was quite educational really and I find that urban plight really is best observed after midnight with a cab driver that openly hates you because he considers airline vouchers from Spirit to be worth as much as monopoly money. Plus, I had never stayed at a hotel before that only offered towels upon special request. So you can imagine our surprise when we woke up to find no towels in the bathroom at 4am because we were naively trying to make it back to the airport to fly standby on your 7am flight to Dallas. Fortunately, the clothes from my bag that I had to use as a towel were only slightly damp after sitting out in the rain on the tarmac for four hours.
Darn the luck, that 7am flight was oversold and it probably didn't help that four of the seats on the flight were deemed inoperable. How do you break a seat anyway? I guess the tray table was on the fritz or something.
As we made the long walk back to the ticket desk because the agent at the gate couldn't possibly print our boarding passes for our flight 12 hours later I could help but notice that there was a flight to Atlanta leaving from the gate next to ours that was then going on to Dallas later that morning. But somehow it was considered a viable option for getting us home by the ticket agent less than seven hours ago at this very airport. I guess that would have required advanced math theory and a horse whisperer to configure.
Alas, a full day after we thought we'd arrive, you did get us back to Dallas. But I'm perplexed. Even though I asked not to receive any promotional emails, you sent me tons of emails before our trip encouraging me to upgrade my seat on the plane to one with more leg room. After finding out the seating plan on your planes was designed by marsupial contortionists, I did take you up on that offer and paid extra for the exit row. But on the flight back to Dallas, the only seat you had for me was in the back of the plane. Hey, I understand, we were lucky just to get on that flight. But yet, you've not sent me one email since our trip offering to refund me the price difference between that diminutive, soul crushing seat and the exit row seat I had originally paid for.
Come to think of it, you never even bothered to offer an apology of any kind. How shrewd of you. And even when your representatives were face to face with us and could see that we were obviously exhausted, confused and concerned about getting home, they still just said, "it is what it is, nothing we can do." Unlike several passengers around us, we never responded to that senseless rhetoric with raised voices or attempted retribution by dressing down your people in any way. But congrats, you've trained them well. They didn't buy that reverse psychology for a second. It only made them squint at us harder as if it might make us disappear. Maybe you should change your airline name to "Spite."
But let's agree to disagree. You don't admit any fault and we won't admit that we ever flew on your airline. Call it a win-win. We learned that no frills really means limited means, no reciprocity privileges with other airlines and an open invitation to spite your . And you learned a valuable lesson too and that is that you could probably make a lot of money charging for apologies.
Have a super day,
PS. I thought you might appreciate the irony of this text exchange between me and my son's little league coach, especially since I actually bothered to communicate with someone about being delayed:
"Sorry Coach, flight back to Big D delayed a full day, will miss playoff game."
"No worries, will miss you, but sure you will be there in spirit."
"Actually, no, no we won't."