Airline Sticking To Policy Of Non-Refundable Airfares
Spirit Airlines' refund policy is not earning it much public support after the airline refused to refund the ticket price for a Vietnam veteran suffering from cancer. Jerry Meekins purchased a $197 airfare to visit his daughter in Atlantic City this May. She is having surgery and Jerry wants to be with her to bring her home from the hospital and care for her as she recovers. The problem is Jerry has terminal esophageal cancer which he's been fighting for two years, and his immune system is weakened from treatment to the point that he can't fly.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Jerry contacted Spirit Airlines' customer service department last week to see about a refund but was told the tickets are non-refundable without exception. Spirit's policy is that a death before or during the scheduled flight might qualify for at least a partial refund, but the airline would require a death certificate as proof. This lack of compassion has motivated Jerry to not just get his money back, but to see the airline changes its policy to avoid a similar situation in the future. A spokesman from the airline said in a communication with the Tampa Bay Times that all tickets are nonrefundable, but passengers have the option to purchase travel insurance which covers a variety of unexpected circumstances. Airlines policies on refunds for medical emergencies and illnesses vary, and management would have the final say on reimbursement.
Meekins has said Spirit's unwillingness to refund a fare for a sick or dying passenger is un-American. Regardless, he will still try to get to New Jersey next month to see his daughter; he'll just have to drive if he's able. He said "If I have to crawl up there, I'm going."