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Spirit Airlines' boss calls complaints 'irrelevant,' says dying veteran should've bought insurance
FoxNews.com ^ | 5-13-2012 | Joshua Rhett Miller

Posted on 05/03/2012 1:42:07 PM PDT by servo1969

The boss of Spirit Airlines isn't about to cave in to a dying former Marine, and he doesn't lose sleep knowing his company leads the industry when it comes to customer complaints, he told FoxNews.com.

“That’s an irrelevant statistic,” Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza said when told his airline generates gripes at two-and-a-half times the rate of the next most complained about carrier.

Spirit racked up 8.27 complaints per 100,000 passengers in January, while United finished a distant second-worst, registering 3.5 complaints per 100,000 fliers, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics. By comparison, Southwest notched just 0.2 complaints per 100,000 fliers.

Spirit is generating complaints at a much faster clip on Facebook, where a "Boycott Spirit Airlines" page has seen its number of "likes" soar to more than 21,000 from about 700 since the carrier denied a $197 refund to Jerry Meekins. The 76-year-old Vietnam veteran and former Marine tried to get his $197 back after learning his esophageal cancer is terminal and being told by his doctor not to fly from Florida to Atlantic City. Airline officials told him to forget it, and Baldanza reaffirmed the company's hardline in an exclusive FoxNews.com interview.

“A lot of our customers buy that insurance and what Mr. Meekins asked us to do was essentially give him the benefit of that insurance when he didn’t purchase the insurance,” Baldanza said. “Had we done that, I think it really would’ve been cheating all the people who actually bought the insurance … and I think that’s fundamentally unfair.”

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: airline; airtravel; cancer; refund; veteran
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I imagine Ben Baldanza considers himself a smart no-nonsense guy. His job is to make as much money for his company as possible and everything else is horse hocky.

Here’s my opinion-

On the one hand, he's right. He doesn't have to refund Jerry Meekins his $197. Mr. Meekins didn't buy the insurance. Spirit Airlines is under no legal obligation to give it back.

On the other hand, is the public relations fiasco he’s creating for his brand worth the $197 they got to keep? I hope so because he's leaving the door wide open for the next new airline that wants to take his customers away. A business has to operate in the real world. Your customers are people. Treat enough of them like garbage and they’ll be happy to take their patronage elsewhere.

In short, this is a classic case of “Pennywise, Pound foolish.”

1 posted on 05/03/2012 1:42:21 PM PDT by servo1969
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To: servo1969

This wouldn’t happen at Southwest
and it wasn’t that he wanted a refund
he would have changed the ticket to his daughter’s name


2 posted on 05/03/2012 1:45:52 PM PDT by RWGinger (Simpl)
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To: servo1969

Spirit Airlines is now irrelevant to me. I won’t fly Spirit again.


3 posted on 05/03/2012 1:46:22 PM PDT by trailboss800
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To: servo1969

4 posted on 05/03/2012 1:48:41 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: RWGinger

Right-O. Southwest Airlines is the only airline to fly.


5 posted on 05/03/2012 1:52:19 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: servo1969

By the time veterans get through with not flying Spirit Airlines, old Benny will likely find himself driving a school bus for a living.

I will never under any circumstances fly Spirit Airlines even if it means I have to walk to my destination.


6 posted on 05/03/2012 1:52:57 PM PDT by MIchaelTArchangel (Da Bro' Gotsta Go!)
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To: trailboss800

We won’t fly Spirit anymore since it cancelled flights with zero notice to those having booked seating far in advance. And then would not even respond to inquiries or requests that it provide alternative booking on other airlines. Unreliable. Unresponsive. And it can cost a lot more to get seating on other airlines “at the last minute,” too.


7 posted on 05/03/2012 1:55:28 PM PDT by faithhopecharity (remember when "Four more years!" was a credible campaign slogan for an incumbent?)
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To: servo1969

Spirit Airlines just announced they are going to start charging $100 for each item stored in overhead bin.


8 posted on 05/03/2012 1:57:05 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: servo1969

It’s simple

Spirit has every right to withhold the fare
And I and thousands of others have the right to seek out other carriers.

Case Closed


9 posted on 05/03/2012 1:57:05 PM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: servo1969

A smart CEO would have taken the $197 out of his own pocket. This kind of publicity has probably cost him $197,000.

Idiot.


10 posted on 05/03/2012 1:57:18 PM PDT by Grammy
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To: servo1969

If we don’t vote with our wallets, we are supporting our demise. If the right would practice activism on a daily basis, there would be no money to support the left.


11 posted on 05/03/2012 1:57:18 PM PDT by Steamburg (The contents of your wallet is the only language Politicians understand.)
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To: Grammy

It’s called “Penny smart, and Pound Foolish.”


12 posted on 05/03/2012 1:58:43 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Deb

If southwest doesn’t go there I either drive or don’t go.


13 posted on 05/03/2012 2:01:53 PM PDT by prov1813man (While the one you despise and ridicule works to protect you, those you embrace work to destroy you)
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To: servo1969

This is not worth the bad publicity.


14 posted on 05/03/2012 2:02:04 PM PDT by Lazamataz (To the wall, street occupiers!!!!!)
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To: dfwgator

Sorry, but the only way I’ve ever heard it is “wise”.


15 posted on 05/03/2012 2:03:32 PM PDT by servo1969
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To: servo1969

Delta, United, KLM and the other airlines have to be laughing themselves silly. You just can’t buy advertizing like this.


16 posted on 05/03/2012 2:03:57 PM PDT by Hodar ( Who needs laws; when this FEELS so right?)
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To: RWGinger

I was able to get a flight cancelled at southwest due to a medical emergency this spring. But no refund and no transfer.

This is pretty common stuff.


17 posted on 05/03/2012 2:04:22 PM PDT by Vermont Lt (I just don't like anything about the President. And I don't think he's a nice guy.)
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To: servo1969
In short, this is a classic case of “Pennywise, Pound foolish.”

So true. The $197 dollar refund, plus, throw in a free trip anywhere that Spirit flies, and they would have gotten a MILLION dollars plus of FAVORABLE warm fuzzy publicity. Powerful positive branding.

Sorry though, when the "bean counter" mentality PREVAILS, more often than not, you've screwed yourself.

18 posted on 05/03/2012 2:07:27 PM PDT by VideoDoctor
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To: kcvl

Typical bean counter and an ugly little f***er to boot. The next Spirit Airlines board of directors meeting should be a hoot. Speaking as a marketing person, the sound of an accountant CEO being crushed is almost musical.


19 posted on 05/03/2012 2:08:34 PM PDT by katana (Just my opinions)
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To: GSWarrior

This airline is beyond stupid. It will die a slow horrible death.


20 posted on 05/03/2012 2:11:15 PM PDT by Drill Thrawl (The United States of America, a banana republic since 1913)
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To: servo1969

The Board of Directors should have this guy arrested for felony stupidity.


21 posted on 05/03/2012 2:15:07 PM PDT by Zman (Liberals: denying reality since Day One.)
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To: servo1969

Baldanza is likely to be looking for a new job rather soon.


22 posted on 05/03/2012 2:15:26 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: servo1969

Dude, you have some kinda balls to continue down a path that an Epic Loser for you, the employees and stock holders.

Career dissipation light blinking faster.....


23 posted on 05/03/2012 2:16:04 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: servo1969

Dude, you have some kinda balls to continue down a path that an Epic Loser for you, the employees and stock holders.

Career dissipation light blinking faster.....


24 posted on 05/03/2012 2:16:40 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Vermont Lt

I am confused
you got the flight cancelled but no refund or transfer
so what did you actually get?


25 posted on 05/03/2012 2:18:54 PM PDT by RWGinger (Simpl)
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To: katana

Meekins, meanwhile, told FoxNews.com he has been inundated with phone calls from veterans across the country and has received numerous offers of cash, including a $197 handshake from “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy on Wednesday — which Meekins said he would donate to the Wounded Warrior Project for injured veterans.

“It’s been tremendous, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” Meekins told FoxNews.com following the appearance.

FoxNews.com readers overwhelmingly believe Baldanza got it wrong: In a “You Decide” poll with more than 100,000 responses, 8 out of 10 readers said Spirit should have refunded Meekins’ fare. But according to emails supplied by the company, some customers backed its decision.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/03/spirit-airlines-ceo-dying-veteran-didnt-get-refund-because-didnt-buy-insurance/#ixzz1tqNcYI00


26 posted on 05/03/2012 2:19:56 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: servo1969

You can sure buy a lot of bad publicity for your company for a miserly $197.00.


27 posted on 05/03/2012 2:20:27 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: servo1969
Just the other day I saw a story that said that Spirit Airlines is gonna start charging $100 for CARRY ON bags.I think there was an ad campaign years ago by an airline (can't recall which one) that featured the slogan "is this any way to run an airline?".

I'll walk before I ever set foot on one of their aircraft.

28 posted on 05/03/2012 2:22:43 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Unlike Mrs Obama,I've Been Proud Of This Country My *Entire* Life!)
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To: servo1969

Gotta wonder where this airline’s political donations go...


29 posted on 05/03/2012 2:24:26 PM PDT by william clark (Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: servo1969

Given that airlines are hurting thanks to, among other things, the public’s reluctance to be groped by TSA agents, I would think that airlines would want to create some goodwill by issuing the
refund. Spirit must be really making money if it can afford to lose customers over this issue. (I doubt it)


30 posted on 05/03/2012 2:24:56 PM PDT by fatnotlazy
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To: prov1813man

You said it.


31 posted on 05/03/2012 2:25:00 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: servo1969

Baldanza....Sounds like something George Costanzas Gym teacher might call him.


32 posted on 05/03/2012 2:27:50 PM PDT by ResponseAbility (Islam...Imperialism in a turban.)
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To: Grammy

According to an above comment from the story they were even trying to just get the name on the ticket changed and apparently they would not even do that. CEO wouldn’t have had to refund them any money at all.


33 posted on 05/03/2012 2:33:57 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: kcvl

This little CEO twerp probably got beat up on the playground when he was a little kid.

It’s amazing that someone so effin’ clueless can be the head of a corporation.


34 posted on 05/03/2012 2:35:39 PM PDT by july4thfreedomfoundation (The TEA Party is my cup of tea.)
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To: servo1969

It’s a very unusual business plan, but one I shall watch with interest. The guy’s a dope in my mind but he’s right that people will put up with a lot to save a buck or two. So far, given Spirit’s incredible growth, he’s been proven right.


35 posted on 05/03/2012 2:36:45 PM PDT by BfloGuy (The final outcome of the credit expansion is general impoverishment.)
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To: Vendome

HE SAID WHAT!

36 posted on 05/03/2012 2:42:18 PM PDT by packrat35 (When will we admit we are now almost a police state?)
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To: Secret Agent Man
According to an above comment from the story they were even trying to just get the name on the ticket changed and apparently they would not even do that. CEO wouldn’t have had to refund them any money at all.

A change to travel arrangements usually costs. $150 is my experience.

37 posted on 05/03/2012 2:44:56 PM PDT by Dianna
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To: Dianna

Most do, but it is worth noting that Southwest will change their regular tickets at no charge, or give a refund. And if you change to a flight that ends up cheaper, they’ll refund you the difference. Even with their more restrictive discount fare, they will give you full credit for a change (no refund though).


38 posted on 05/03/2012 3:09:40 PM PDT by MrShoop
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To: servo1969

I’ve never flown with them, and definitely don’t ever plan to fly MeanSpirited Airlines.


39 posted on 05/03/2012 3:09:46 PM PDT by KJC1
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To: servo1969

It is a HUGE PR fiasco.


40 posted on 05/03/2012 3:26:44 PM PDT by apocalypto
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To: kcvl

I bet he gets up tomorrow morning looking in the mirror to shave and says DUMBASS!


41 posted on 05/03/2012 3:32:07 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: servo1969

I was flying back to Iraq after leave and Delta move me into first class. I was in my BDU’s There is a difference in airlines so I fly Delta if there a choice.


42 posted on 05/03/2012 3:36:00 PM PDT by jesseam
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To: servo1969
In short, this is a classic case of “Pennywise, Pound foolish.”

Amen. $197 by orders of magnitude is what he's going to have to pay some PR firm to haul his sorry behind out of the debacle he's mouthed himself into. Sometimes "the principle of the thing" is not the same as "doing the right thing."

43 posted on 05/03/2012 3:36:28 PM PDT by Hoffer Rand (There ARE two Americas: "God's children" and the tax payers)
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To: servo1969

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2103695/Southwest-Airlines-desirable-brand-America.html


44 posted on 05/03/2012 3:46:07 PM PDT by radar101
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To: servo1969
guess nobody ever told the fool you have to pick your battles, $197 is one hell of a small hill to die on... make that mole hill
45 posted on 05/03/2012 3:58:09 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
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To: packrat35

Totally.


46 posted on 05/03/2012 4:33:24 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: servo1969

47 posted on 05/03/2012 4:42:02 PM PDT by Brandonmark (2012: Our Hope IS Change!)
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To: servo1969

This publicity makes me aware of Spirit for the first time. It makes me realize that they have low fares, and don’t bow to every pressure tactic for certain sympathetic people. Good for them. Just because you’re old, or dying doesn’t mean you can pick the pocket of a company I might wish to patronize.


48 posted on 05/03/2012 4:46:33 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Hold My Beer and Watch This!)
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To: VideoDoctor

The $197 dollar refund, plus, throw in a free trip anywhere that Spirit flies, and they would have gotten a MILLION dollars plus of FAVORABLE warm fuzzy publicity. Powerful positive branding.


You don’t get free publicity for giving in to a whining old coot.


49 posted on 05/03/2012 5:20:56 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Hold My Beer and Watch This!)
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To: servo1969

Spirit has every right to withhold the fare
And I and thousands of others have the right to seek out other carriers.

bye bye now spirit airlines.


50 posted on 05/03/2012 5:23:24 PM PDT by tweakDU (Someday karma will run over leftist dogma.)
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