It´s Monday, the day before Kara, Jess, and I leave for Colombia, and I´m online at spiritairlines.com to check in for our flight. We booked a one way ticket through cheaptickets.com from LaGuardia, New York to Bogota, Colombia with a connecting flight and 52 minute layover in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I find that Spirit charges for every bag you check or plan on carrying on and stowing in the overhead bins. The first checked bag for an international flight (bag must be under 40 lbs) is $30 if you check it online before your flight and $40 if you check it at the desk at the airport. So obviously we want to save $10 each and pay for our bags ahead of time. Well, when I push the button to check in, it tells me I can´t check in online and need to see a representative at the desk at the airport. So I decide to call "customer service" (from now on only to be refered to as "donkey´s rectum"). After navigating 20 minutes worth of "press 1 for english, press 4 for technical assistance, press 666 to speak to the devil" I spoke to a donkey´s rectum representative somewhere in India. I explained how I couldn´t check in online and wanted to pay for my bags before getting to the airport to save money and this is where the worst airline experience or my life begins...
Spirit Airlines Donkey´s Rectum Rep: "Yes so you will need to pay the $20 for your checked bag from LaGuardia to Ft. Lauderdale, then $40 for the same bag when you recheck it from FLL to Bogota."
Me: We have a connecting flight. We should only have to pay the $40 international fee at Laguardia and our bags will be transfered to the connecting flight. Are you telling me that you expect us to get off our plane in Florida, leave the gate terminal to baggage claim, wait for our bags, recheck them at the Spirit desk, go back through security and try to make our connecting flight ALL in the 52 minutes between flights IF we have 52 minutes between when we land and when we need to board our second plane??
Spirit Airlines Donkey´s Rectum Rep: Yes. Sir, you have booked two one way tickets, one for Laguardia to Fort Lauderdale and the second for Ft. Laud. to Bogota. You do not have a connecting flight.
Me: No, we do have a connecting flight. I have my cheaptickets.com itinerary here in front of me. It´s a connecting flight. Our bags need to be transfered or we will not make our second flight. I apologize but I´d like to speak to your supervisor.
SADRR: Please hold a moment to speak to my supervisor.
30-40 minutes pass on hold
Spirit Airlines Donkey´s Rep Manager: Hi, Mr Egan, how may I help you.
I ask for his name. Colin Woods, employee number 17726. I explain my situation and politely explain how Spirit has made a mistake and needs to simply change our flights not the flight number, not the time, just make it say connecting so our bags get transfered over. He tells me he cannot help, the best he can do is cancel our flights (we won´t be refunded) and get us a connecting flight from Laguardia to Bogota on October 15th that will cost us $870.90. He says cheaptickets.com booked us two one way tickets instead of one one way with a connection in FLL. He wastes my time for another 10-15 minutes saying there´s nothing he can do so I finally say thanks for nothing and hang up to call cheaptickets customer service.
I call cheaptickets and get ahold of a customer service rep named Titus in the Phillipines within seconds of the phone ringing. I explain everything that just happened with the Spirit Airlines Rep and the first thing he says is "That´s absurd." My point exactly! So I apologize to Titus but tell him I need the highest authority I can speak to with cheaptickets and he passes me on to his manager Tyler. Tyler looks at my itinerary and confirms we have a one way connecting flight to Bogota. He says this has happened before with Spirit and he will call them personally and get the flight fixed. He calls back two hours later and says he used all of his available resources and fixed the problem. And we thought we were past the difficult part.
Tuesday 4 AM: Awake and ready to get to Laguardia. We arrive hour and a half before our flight to check in. The Donkey´s Rectum Agent (Spirit Airlines Agent # 56117) looked at our flight information and asked for proof of return or onward travel from Colombia. We told her we were traveling overland to Ecuador to visit friends of family and showed her the email from the Ecuadorian family we would be visiting. Agent 56117 told us this meant nothing and we either needed a flight or a train or a bus ticket with us then and now to show we would be leaving or she would not let us check in and obtain our boarding passes. That or nothing. Neither Kara, Jess, nor I had our cell phones since we would be out of the country and we had to politely beg a stranger to borrow their phone to call anyone we could to check online if it was possible to buy bus tickets from Bogota to Quito, Ecuador over the internet. I called my father at 5:30AM apologizing profusely but needing him to jump on the computer and look. Nothing would come up, only blogs about the bus ride between the cities. With all hope lost, we were money raped by Spirit Airlines into buying a return ticket to Fort Lauderdale for Nov. 11th (the cheapest ticket we could get) even though we have no intention of using it (Sorry Kara´s fam). The agent said we would not be allowed into Colombia immigrations without this proof.
We race through security and to our gate, no time to fill our water bottles, to make our flight. It´s not until we are on the flight we realize the tickets the incompetent agent booked us to show proof of exiting Colombia, she put Jess´ name on one, and MY NAME on both my ticket and Kara´s! What the fuck? How can this airline be so horrible?! Now we´re worried if we don´t get this fixed in Ft. Lauderdale then immigration in Colombia won´t let Kara in. During the flight I chat with Lars, the flight attendant, who lives out of his truck in Ft. Lauderdale and works to travel. I tell him our horseshit story and he completely agrees it´s BS. Our plane lands late in Florida, we have to race just to catch our connecting flight, no time to speak with a Donkey´s Rectum Rep and no time to fill our water bottles again (I stress the water bottle filling because Spirit Airlines has no complementary drinks on domestic or international. H2O costs $3 a bottle) On the second flight, I walk back towards the bathroom and ask the flight attendant, "So, no complementary water on international flights, huh?" He replies, "Sorry no, I can give you complimentary cups of ice cubes." So there Kara, Jess, and I are trying to get the sunlight through the plane´s window onto our tray tables to melt the ice faster so we can have baby sips of water (We refuse to buy $3 bottles of water on a flight).
We land safely in Bogota, 7,000 ft above sea level with hardly a drop of water all day, to find our checked bags never made it onto our connecting flight. We go through immigration, not a word or question about HOW we are leaving, just asking how long we are staying. SPIRIT AIRLINES IS FULL OF SHIT! So we find the other passengers from Laguardia to Bogota missing their luggage and an extremely nice Colombian man shows us where to go to speak to the Spirit Airlines representatives. We find John, the customer service representative (I write it for him because he deserves it) and he had us fill out the paper to have our bags delivered the next day to the place we´re staying, a posh apartment in northern Bogota with a Juan and Sarah, two people we found on Couchsurfing.org we met who are letting us crash. There is another couch surfer there named Alice from Malaysia who had the exact same problem with Spirit from Ft Lauderdale to Bogota BUT she told them the same thing about traveling overland and they let her go!
So my plan is to write essentially this blog to any newspaper I can find emails for about how incredibly SOULESS Spirit Airlines is. ¿Donde esta mi dinero Spirit??