Annette Campos and her fiancé received an unwanted Christmas present from Spirit Airlines in exchange for their airline seats. Spirit gave them six vouchers for future flights, but they could not use them. Campos used our Spirit executive contacts to write a letter to the airline to ask for a voucher extension, which the airline agreed to.
Unfortunately, Campos’ story is mixed. It provides encouragement for Spirit Airlines passengers that even the “Bare Fare” airline won’t always turn a deaf ear to customer service problems. But it also carries a warning to Spirit customers that vouchers won’t cover the full values of their flights. A Spirit Airlines flyer who accepts a voucher, like Campos, may find that the voucher covers only a small portion of the total airfare.
Spirit Airlines vouchers for Christmas
Campos and her fiancé, Michael Erickson, had booked flights from Chicago to Phoenix via Dallas/Fort Worth Airport last December 25. According to Campos, they had “great seats.”
While they waited for the Dallas-to-Phoenix flight to depart, Spirit’s agents announced that they had oversold the flight. The agents offered vouchers for future flights to any passengers willing to give up their seats. Campos and Erickson decided to accept the offer.
Campos hoped to use the vouchers for a flight in May, but she was unable to find a seat on a round-trip Spirit Airlines flight from Chicago to Phoenix. All she could find available on Spirit Airlines were one-way tickets with no return flights. She decided to write to the executive contacts we list for Spirit Airlines to ask if they would be willing to grant her an extension of the voucher validity deadlines.
Before Campos received a response from the Spirit executive contacts, the airline granted her a seven-day voucher extension, which wasn’t enough time for her to use the vouchers. She decided to let the vouchers expire. But Campos was about to discover that her attempt at self-advocacy had paid off — or so she thought.
How to get a Spirit Airlines voucher extension — use our executive contacts
Campos had emailed the following to Heather Lenahen, director of customer relations and baggage resolution, whom we list as our primary contact at Spirit Airlines:
My fiancé and I had a layover in Dallas and agreed to take another flight on [the] night of December 25! We were compensated with six vouchers which we thought was really nice! We planned to use them in May but at this time we can only get one-way tickets to Chicago. I was able to get a voucher extension of seven days but I need more time, like another 60 days! I hope you can help me!
She received this reply from a Spirit customer service agent named Kevin:
No worries, I got you covered. Annette, note that after this final Spirit Airlines voucher extension we won’t be able to reinstate your vouchers.
The value of the FTV [Future Travel Vouchers] will cover the “Flight” portion of the base fare and not of the “Flight Price.” If the value of the “Flight” portion of the base fare is more than the value of the voucher then, the whole amount of the voucher should apply.
Campos was given a Spirit Airlines voucher extension through to May 4, 2018. This was good news to Campos — until she found out exactly what they were worth.
Spirit Airlines voucher math
When Campos tried to use one of the vouchers, she learned that it would cover only $25 of a $121 ticket. She complained to Spirit, which reiterated that a Spirit Airlines voucher covers only the “Flight” portion of the base fare.
Campos has plenty of company in her confusion over what this means. But here’s the explanation:
This means that ticket prices can vary greatly based on demand for flights. If there isn’t much demand for a particular flight, the base fare of a ticket price could be as low as one dollar. And that will be the value of the voucher when applied to that flight: one dollar.
I noted in a third recent Spirit Airlines vouchers case that the vouchers cover only the base fare, for one use only, and never cover the costs of taxes or additional charges, such as baggage fees. Those extra costs can significantly drive up the price of a ticket.
Campos labels Spirit Airlines’ voucher program a “hoax.” It’s certainly confusing and misleading. And it’s provided our advocacy team with plenty of work on behalf of other disappointed Spirit Airlines passengers.
I wish Campos had gotten more for giving up her seat last Christmas. But Spirit Airlines lives up to its reputation as “Home of the Bare Fare” by not providing anything else. Campos’ case is a reminder to passengers on Spirit and other no-frills airlines that they get what they pay for — or don’t pay for, including the value of vouchers.