How Will Spirit Airlines Hold Up In a Storm?

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Back in 2007 my husband and I had booked Ryanair tickets from Bratislava to Frankfurt (Hahn) then Frankfurt (Hahn) to Stockholm (Skavsta) to catch a cruise we had booked for the last week of our European trip. The weather wasn’t great but we made it to Frankfurt that night; with plans to catch the first flight of the morning to Stockholm. We were supposed to stay the night in Stockholm one night before we got on our ship. The weather never cleared up; it actually got worse, and Ryanair canceled the flight completely. We could not get rescheduled for another flight or time; we were refunded our money and left to figure out how to get to Stockholm on our own. Ryanair eventually chartered a bus for whoever wanted to take it; and the cost of the bus was twice what our airline tickets were. Luckily since we did plan the extra day in there we did make it to Stockholm in time to catch our cruise.

Now the scene is present-day 2013. The kids and I planned a last-minute trip to Florida to catch a cruise with my family who were celebrating my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. Since Spirit does not fly into Miami my plan was to fly in and out of other Florida airports and rent a car one-way to get us to and from the airports and the port of Miami. The flight home was the same cost out of Fort Lauderdale as it was out of Orlando so I choose to fly out of Orlando so I could spend a little more time with my family and “just in case” something happened and we needed to overnight at my parent’s house. That “something” came in the form of a major ice storm that left the roads with 3-4 inches of ice on them and several thousand people stranded at DFW.

My concern was if Spirit Airlines was going to do what Ryanair did and cancel our flight and refund us our money? Our flight was on Saturday night; so my plan was to call my husband as soon as we got into Miami that morning to figure out how bad the roads really were in Texas. I did and they were as bad as was predicted. Once we got to my parent’s house I went online to see what the status of our flight was. It looked like it was still going; but even if the flight made it to DFW that would leave the kids and I stranded out the airport overnight since the roads were too bad for my husband to come pick us up. Then I saw what the Spirit Airlines website said; it offered anyone on a flight to DFW from Dec 5th – 7th the chance to change their flight to a different day up until Dec 13th without having to pay a change fee or a difference in fare. The next question became what day to change our flight to where the roads would no longer resemble an ice-skating rink. We decided what day; then, since I had already checked in for our flight that day, I had to call up Spirit to change my flight.

It took almost 30 minutes to get to a person; and once we had everything figured out she was trying to change my flight for me my cell phone disconnected the call. Grrr. Another phone call and 30+ minutes on hold later I got through to someone and stayed connected long enough to actually get the flight changed. Calling Spirit and getting through to a live-person isn’t an easy task normally; but whether it was a coincidence or they had more people manning the phones; it was easy enough to navigate the options to be put in line to talk to a real person; even if it did take a little while to actually talk to them.

I was pleasantly surprised that I did not have to go through our Ryanair experience again. I was also concerned that I would be limited to only one or two flights we could change to; but that wasn’t the case at all and I had no problem getting the flight we wanted on the day we wanted. I still have no problem recommending Spirit Airlines to people looking for cheap airfare; but again I would warn them to know all the ins and outs so they don’t end up paying the same (or more) as a regular carrier.


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Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 11 and 7, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

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