Spirit Airlines, as reported here in an update earlier today, has canceled all of its flights through Tuesday because of a strike by pilots.
What are your options if you are stranded by Spirit? Not just in Fort Lauderdale but in other places Spirit flies to, like Cozumel, Jaco, Lima, Costa Rica ...
Well, if you are stranded, you're faced with booking alternate flights on another carrier, and probably paying full-fare walk-up coach.
Meanwhile, Spirit claims it will refund your money. All you have to do is call. Hah! I did call several times, and the telephone hold is endless. ("Extremely high call volume," it says). People are reporting waiting up toi four hours before giving on on calling Spirit.
In the phone announcement, Spirit actually has the nerve to suggest that you call your travel-insurance company, if you bought travel insurance. Sort of like calling the fire department when your house is afire and being advised to contact your State Farm agent.
From Spirit's Web site:
"If you would prefer to receive a full refund, please call 1 (800) 772-7117 and one of our Customer Service Representatives will assist you.
"Customers who made their reservation prior to May 11, 2010 directly with Spirit and purchased travel insurance should call Travel Guard at 866-877-3191 if their flight has been canceled."
"Spirit is the official airline of P.T. Barnum," says Joe Brancatelli, of the Web site Joesentme.com
My advice, assuming you paid for your Spirit ticket with a credit card (and not, God forbid, with a debit card): Ignore Spirit and call your credit card company immediately for a full refund for service not delivered. And forget about that $100 "voucher" for future travel that Spirit offers, if you simply work through them on your canceled ticket.
And please, ignore lazy, asinine newspaper advice like this. It simply regurgitates a Spirit Airlines press release.
By the way, both Joe Brancatelli and I marveled at the media gullibility that Spirit benefited from in the walk-up to this strike, when the news media blithely reported that Spirit would continue flying, pilots strike or not. Here's an example.
. And here's another.