On Monday takeoff of Spirit Airlines flight NK440 from Fort Lauderdale to Cleveland was delayed 2 hours 5 minutes and then as it neared its destination diverted to Detroit due to weather.
Now, Detroit – Cleveland is just a 95 mile flight. However Spirit decided to bus passengers from the Cleveland airport to Detroit Metro. The buses arrived three hours late.
One of the buses broke down near Toledo. And while airlines have to provide food and water during flight delays, there are no such rules about bus delays.
“I would like a representative from Spirit to contact the passengers that were sitting on that bus on the side of the highway, elderly people, people with kids,” she said. “They wouldn’t give us any drinks, meals. They wouldn’t even give us a bottle of water.”
According to Spirit the bus made it to the Cleveland airport around 3:30 a.m., around 10.5 hours late. A passenger on the
flight bus relays that they made it home at 5 a.m.
Copyright: boarding1now / 123RF Stock Photo
Spirit gave passengers each a $50 voucher for future travel, but pointed out that’s generous and not something they have to do.
A spokesman said the airline was not required to offer anything because the delay and diversion was caused by the weather.
It seems to me that claiming a $50 voucher for future travel constitutes going above and beyond is worse, even, than offering just $50 for a broken down bus (whose busted water hose was not caused by weather).
And it underscores how airlines blame everything on weather, if there’s weather anywhere that can plausibly be connected. When my United flight from Washington Dulles to Austin a couple of weeks ago was stuck on the ground in the previous city on a mechanical delay, United’s system showed the cause of delay as weather. It was only when they cancelled my flight after several hours, with the plane still stuck on the ground elsewhere due to maintenance, that they updated the cause.
On the other hand, Spirit’s passengers were probably lucky to get a $50 voucher. Under their previous CEO they might have gotten nothing at all. Ben Baldanza famously hit reply all and accidentally shared his philosophy of giving nothing to complaining passengers with… a passenger reasoning that people will keep buying their tickets if they’re the cheapest so there’s no reason to compensate for bad service.