Spirit Airlines

Are Airline Rules Clear Enough for the Average Passenger?

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Spirit Airline Baggage FeesWhile I was waiting to take my Spirit flight out to Vegas I overheard an encounter between an irate passenger and a Spirit gate agent because the passengers missed their flight.

The first thing they were mad about was they said the website said to be at the gate 15 minutes prior to the flight, and they showed up then and weren’t allowed on the flight.

It seems like they misunderstood the website. The website says the customer has to be there AT LEAST 15 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time for a domestic flight or they risk cancellation of their reservation. If you’ve flown before, you know showing up only 15 minutes before the scheduled departure is a risky move. The airlines are usually pretty clear about that rule and once the doors are shut you’re not getting on that plane.

They were also mad about something else. It seems one of them had necessary meds in their checked bag that they couldn’t go without. Again, if you travel enough, you usually learn to keep all necessities in your carry-on because even if you make your flight, luggage gets lost and misplaced all the time. But is that point emphasized enough for people who rarely fly? Especially if it’s liquid medication, people may assume they can’t bring it in a carry-on if it’s more than 3 ounces, but TSA does have exceptions to these rules in cases exactly like these, but many people may be unaware of them.

What do you think? Was it the passenger’s fault for not learning about these things ahead of time? Or should the airlines make it more of a priority to make people aware of these rules and exceptions.


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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.


  1. Tom

    September 23, 2014 at 3:33 am

    15 minutes before boarding? Never heard of that before on a domestic flight. Usually it is 15 min before departure. Seems like spirit is pulling a fast one if they require you to be there 45 minutes before departure.

    • Tiff

      September 23, 2014 at 3:38 am

      Oops, you’re right. I fixed the post. It is the scheduled departure time, not the boarding time. Thanks!

  2. NB

    September 23, 2014 at 10:12 am

    The rules are clear enough for the average customer. This customer was obviously very much sub-average and, whatever you do, you’ll never make that sort of person understand all that they need to understand.

  3. Jerry Mandel

    September 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    The passenger had an easy option. How about AA requiring you to be there a certain time BEFORE the start of boarding?

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