This story is so compelling you’d almost think it was made up.
Jerry Meekins will die soon of esophageal cancer, and he can’t fly because of his compromised immune system. But Spirit Airlines considers his condition insufficiently grave to grant him a refund for a flight to Atlantic City next month.
But if he actually dies before his flight, Spirit would be happy to give him some money back.
…Meekins, 76, bought the ticket last month. His daughter is having surgery in May, and he wants to be there to take her home from the hospital and care for her while she recovers.
He has been battling cancer for about two years. But it was not until shortly after he bought the ticket that doctors told him there was no more they can do. He has only a couple of months left.
Because his treatments are breaking down his immune system, his doctors told him he can’t fly.
Oh, did I mention the guy is a Vietnam veteran who, despite his illness, still “volunteers every day as the commander of the American Legion Post No. 14 in St. Petersburg, devoting his time to helping other veterans”..?
Spirit says their tickets are non-refundable. And he could have purchased travel insurance.
Several other airline policies do mimic Spirit’s, refusing refunds for medical issues. Delta is one of those airlines, but a spokeswoman says “we recognize that there are exceptions and we work with customers on a case-by-case basis to do our best to meet their needs” — i.e. get a reporter to call and we’ll give you a refund rather than eat the bad press over it.
Spirit can’t be this bad at crisis P.R. Instead, I have to think Spirit does this on purpose. It’s like whenever Ryanair has been out of the news for awhile claiming that they’re going to make passengers stand up instead of having seats, and pay to use the loo.
In effect they’re trying to say, “We’re so cheap, we don’t give refunds to dying veterans who can’t fly up to care for their daughters going into surgery. So you know we’re the no frills carrier. And if you aren’t dying of cancer, you’ll save money booking with us.”
If you don’t mind being universally hated, you can probably make money.
(HT: uggboy on Milepoint)