TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Spirit Airlines canceled more than 1,700 flights in just one week. The chaos is leaving people struggling to get home, including right here in Tampa Bay.
“We really want to get home, but we can’t get home. We’ve been here for eight days. We’ve been stuck here for eight days,” said Lamaiya Robinson.
Robinson said she’s been battling with Spirit Airlines since Monday.
“They tried to give us a refund, but it’s an $80 refund,” she said.
She could switch to another airline, but Robinson said she would have to pay for it out of pocket, which isn’t an option.
“It’s too expensive. We don’t have the money right now. We don’t have the funds,” she said.
She isn’t alone. Thousands of Spirit customers are facing similar issues around the country.
Paul Hudson, a consumer advocate with Flyers Rights, said there are other options.
“The first thing you can do is ask for what’s called an involuntary refund, regardless if your ticket is non-refundable. If an airline doesn’t fly, they cancel their flight, they don’t get to keep your money,” Hudson said.
He also advises disputing the ticket charge with your bank if you’re not able to get a full refund. You can ask Spirit to transfer you to another airline. If you’re stuck for a day or two, ask for meal and hotel vouchers.
Overall, Hudson said have a “Plan B” if you’re flying anytime.
“You cannot count on the airline getting you to your destination on time, so you need to plan on having another plan, assuming that they cancel or really delay your flight,” he said.
A Spirit Airlines spokesperson said the problems started last weekend with weather-related cancellations. They also blame the surge of summer travelers, staffing shortages and computer problems.
If you want more advice on what to do, you can contact the Flyers Rights organization.