Spirit Airlines' Customer Service Number Leads To Phone Sex Line

When you fly an ultra low budget airliner, you expect ultra low service, but even under that business model, it seems reasonable to assume that calling customer service won’t take you to a phone sex line. Reader Barbara would agree. She writes:

Did you know that Spirit Airlines is now charging their customers for making a seat reservation — middle seats are $5, Aisle and Window seats are $10 and the “exit row seats” are $15. I was shocked with this change. I didn’t make a seat reservation because I already paid the airfare for the ticket, which entitles me to a seat. I know the gas prices are very high, however, this was too little information, not written int he small print (I checked) and only identified when you selected your seat. I tried to call customer service, but was connected to someone in the Far East (they didn’t identify the country they were calling from) and their English was so poor I could not understand the person I was trying to communicate with…When I mentioned I lived in Michigan, I was repeatedly asked, “Where, where do you live?”

Then, when, I asked for a “customer service” number in the US and the number I was given connected me to a “pornographic” phone service — I was more than startled!

Do you want this airline to survive?

Please listen to you customers and please answer your telephones with American residents who speak and understand English and know American geography — this is where you customer base lives and supports you…

I called back and got a number for a “customer service” desk at an airport. When I called that number and talked to a very helpful ticket desk Spirit Air Representative named Karen, she gave me a 1-800 number that had me on hold for 35 minutes with no one answering the phone. I finally hung up.

I have been a customer of Spirit Airlines since they starting flying out of Detroit several years ago. What has happened to Spirit Airlines? They off-shored their customer service lines to people who do not know the geography of the US and are not able to provide answers to questions that relate to the United States, the airports here and the service provided.

I had already paid for my (non-refundable) ticket to NY from Detroit, so I couldn’t cancel it, but I sure thought about it. I couldn’t get information about the seat selection fees until after I had paid for my ticket. This information needs to be provided up front! The baggage information is also troublesome. If you tap the wrong number of bags you wish to “prepay”, there is no way to “delete” a bag if you choose not to take 2 bags on the plane.

From information I have gathered on the web, their customer service has deteriorated considerably in the past few months. They are very good at sending e-mails with enticing fares, but their website does not work correctly, it sent me back to the beginning several times, even when I was ready to select and pay for my ticket. The air fare deals does not even connect with their reservation page.

I hope at least the flight that I paid for is safe and will allow me to travel when I scheduled my flights.

- Barbara in Detroit

Comments

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  1. In other news, you can call 1-800-My-Puppy for a free sample of dog food.

  2. scooby76 says:

    All I could think about with that picture is Hooter Airlines…

  3. Half Beast says:

    Coming from the same company that brought you the “Threesome” and “M.I.L.F.” promotions…I have to say, I’m not surprised…

  4. bobbleheadr says:

    Sounds like she misunderstood the number from the person with the accent, and the real number isnt a porn line.

    Im gonna get completely trashed here, but OP comes of sounding kinda racist. Don’t get me wrong, I wish reps were here too, but Im not sure what citizenship has to do with anything. There is a reason they can offer lower fares…

    Also pretty sure that you dont need a seat reservation. You dont pay the extra 5 and you get sat where other people dont reserve.

  5. IphtashuFitz says:

    Maybe this is an attempt by Spirit to attract more passengers. Next they’ll replace flight attendants with strippers and food carts with mobile stripper poles. Business men would start fighting each other (and likely offering to pay more) to fly on the airline if they did that.

  6. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Basically, the deal with their seats is pretty simple. Pay, or get a random seat. You will get a seat on the flight, it’s just that you don’t get to choose which seat.

  7. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    As long as the customer service garuntees satisfaction, I dont see what the problem is.

    Bawnt wat ta want waaa.

    “What are you wearing? I need to know so that I can (breathy voice) seat you, ahhh”

    Oh yeah, spirit all the way and I mean that literally.

  8. RandomZero says:

    Still hilarious, but more than likely a simple mistake. One of Sprint’s contact numbers, for example (Order Support, as I recall) was an 888 number, and the 800-number equivalent was a phone sex line. More than one rep made that mistake (or decided to be an asshole, admittedly), with hilarious results on the callback.

  9. This pales in comparison to the real, unsolicited sexing you get when flying United or American. My butt was sore for almost a week. At least the empty wallet helped ameliorate the symptoms.

  10. xsmasher says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: I think the onomatopoeia you’re looking for is “Bow-chicka-bow whaaaa…”

    This could make for an interesting cultural study, though. “What sound does a rooster make in your language?” could be replaced with “What sound does porno music make?”

  11. Farquar says:

    @bobbleheadr:
    Not racist – Xenophobic is the word you are looking for.

  12. rick_in_texas says:

    This is happening with Dell, and many other vendors. What happens in customer service or the customer themselves have called 1-800-xxx-xxxx instead of 1-866-xxx-xxxx. Whether it was customer service or the customer that got it wrong is not important. What has happened is that phone sex vendors have taken all customer service numbers and only changed the 800 vs 866 etc.

    I’m not making this up.

  13. bk says:

    I’m really not a fan of this post’s headline. Spirit’s customer service number still leads to their customer service. The phonesex number could have been a mispronounciation by the CSR, a misunderstanding of the customer, or a misdial by the customer. Since when is it okay to write alarmist headlines for a misstep that is (probably) the customer’s fault?

  14. csdiego says:

    @Farquar: It’s neither racist nor xenophobic. If the offshore rep can’t speak English that most Americans can understand, he’s not doing his job adequately. You don’t have to be racist or xenophobic not to want to have to talk to someone in India when you need customer service. One reason is enough for me: I don’t want my sensitive personal data being processed in a country with virtually no privacy protections.

  15. dragon:ONE says:

    … Spirit is just going down that perverted path.

    Two MILF sales and now this? C’mon.

  16. fafi says:

    I tried to call Spirit maybe 2 months ago regarding a charge on my credit card. My card company would not reverse the charge because I had agreed to pay it according to them (????). It was for some promotional club or something. The number I called on the website would transfer me, and the line would disconnect. I literally called 50x one day. FU SPIRIT. I finally emailed them from the webform & the rep apologized and reversed the charge. And no, I did not click on some random box while buying airfare. Spirit is just dumb.

  17. chrisjames says:

    (A) What was the number, so we can try it–for educational purposes only, of course.

    (B) Are you sure you didn’t accidentally dial 1-900- instead of 1-800-?

  18. aka Cat says:

    @csdiego: Yeah, actually, you do. The non-racist non-xenophobic alternative is wanting to speak to someone with an accent you can understand.

    If you just want to speak to an American, I can have my coworker phone you. Though since he was raised somewhere in Eastern Europe, has a speech impediment *and* mumbles — good luck with that. :D

  19. alumicor says:

    @csdiego; Agreed, I really have no problem talking with CSR’s with an accent and I’m sure bobbleheadr doesent either…..it doesn’t matter what country they are in/from.

    Now if they can’t speak the language there is a problem. How can I possibly get something resovled when calling customer service if the person taking my call has no clue what I am saying…..way to go coperate america…..off shore all of your customer service so it seems like your doing a good job because your customers that are calling don’t understand your CSR’s and your CSR’s don’t understand your customers….makes for way less complaints because no one has a clue what’s going on.

  20. bobbleheadr says:

    @Farquar: Thank you. Knew I was using the wrong term…

  21. Geekybiker says:

    Spirit is just trying to make good on their MILF sale.

  22. Farquar says:

    @csdiego:
    Two things:
    1. OP specifically says she wants “American Residents” answering the phone. While the impetus for her statement was the communication issue, the statement is xenophobic.

    2. I was only correcting a prior commentor who used the term “racist”. Which in no way applies as the issue was of nationality, not race. I was making no accusations. I actually think OP’s statement regarding American residents was just careless on her part, not actually xenophobic. (though some would argue that such carelessness evidences xenophobia)

    But, yeah, I like talking to people I can understand too.

  23. incognit000 says:

    I like how the FIRST thing that gets cut is always customer service.

    Followed by training.

    Followed by the pay of the people who actually do the work that makes the company run.

    You know what never gets cut, and should be the first, last and ONLY thing that gets cut when the budget is tight? Executive compensation. You see these airlines losing money hand over fist, and the executives are still walking away with huge wads of cash.

    They should just fire ‘em all and let me do their job. Sure, I don’t have an MBA, I didn’t go to Harvard, but I will work for 30K a year plus health insurance. And I won’t borrow a corporate jet unless there’s an actual real business meeting to go to.

  24. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Here are some actual emails I’ve gotten from Spirit. Incidentally, I’ve never been able to book a ticket for the advertised fares. As you can see, a very classy operation all around!:

    It’s Time For Some T&A
    Travel and Adventure From $9* Each Way

    We’ve Gone Brazilian to Colombia
    And Other Places Too – From $0.69* Each Way

    Raise Your Pulse
    With Hot Fares From $9* Each Way
    (This email has a pic of a nurse/doctor with a stethoscope on for some reason…hmm)

    We’re Proud of our DDs – Fares from $9 Each Way

    This Sale is NC-17! Fares from $17* Each Way.
    Nearly Comped Fares – From Only $17* Each Way
    There’s no need for the children to look away. These Nearly Comped fares may make you raise an eyebrow. But that’s only because they’re so low, from $17* each way.

    The Big “S” Sale
    We’re celebrating today with our Big “S” Sale, bringing you big “S” savings with fares starting as low as $19* each way.

    The DILF Sale
    DILF – Dad I’ll Love Forever
    In the Spirit of Father’s Day, we’re offering fares as low as $9* each way!

    We’re Proud of our DDs
    Deep Discounts – With Fares From $9* Each Way
    Spirit Airlines is proud to offer our DDs to you – Deep Discounts off our fares.

  25. csdiego says:

    @CatMoran: If you read on in my post, you would see that I don’t like dealing with CSRs in India or other countries because those countries don’t have the privacy protections we do here. That has nothing to do with hating foreigners or foreign nations. I actually have a lot of admiration for India, hope to go there someday, some of my best friends… and all that.

    Beyond that, you also don’t have to be xenophobic to worry about Americans losing their jobs.

  26. csdiego says:

    @Farquar: OP wasn’t expressing hatred of any foreign nation, she was saying that being familiar with American geography and other details of American life was a qualification for working as an airline CSR. In theory, yeah, you could give your Indian CSRs years of training in American geography, travel patterns, speech patterns, accents, and regionalisms to give them the same level of knowledge that the average American absorbs just by growing up, but by the time you did that your cost advantage would evaporate. The OP, and other people who don’t like dealing with offshore CSRs, are saying that by going offshore the airline has cut the quality, along with the price, of its CS.

    A xenophobic statement would be something like “stinking [stereotype] [stereotype] [stereotype] foreign CSRs”, because that would be directed toward the workers as individuals and members of a given nationality, not to the quality of their service. Saying you like CS provided by American reps is not xenophobic in and of itself.

  27. jessemoya says:

    Mmmm… The gal in the banner is Ms. Carli Banks – my favorite model/actress in the business!

  28. Farquar says:

    Airplane, Yes.

    It needed to be said.

  29. aka Cat says:

    @CatMoran: Yeah, I sort of skipped over your point about privacy, until after I’d already posted my reply. Sorry about that.

    Even so, I’m not convinced our privacy protections are all that effective. Though that could just be because I’m ignorant of the privacy issues in other countries.

  30. czarandy says:

    Sounds like a mistake, probably by the person dialing the phone number.

    And the seat reservation fee seems reasonable. Would it sound better if they made it a discount for not having a reserved seat? That would be fundamentally the same thing. Maybe they should work on their marketing.

  31. Speak says:

    I like how the OP wrote “… please answer your telephones with American residents who speak and understand English and know American geography” because I’ve encountered American residents who can barely do any of those things.

    @rick_in_texas: I’d believe it. Now the question is, how many people decide to stay on the line once they realize they’ve called the wrong number?? It must pay off somehow for the phone sex vendors.

  32. You-Me-Us says:

    I immediately recognized that as Carly Banks. How sad is that?

  33. mdoneil says:

    The seat assignment instructions are on the website. You can pay for a seat assignment, or you can have a random seat assigned it seems pretty clear to me.

    Why do you need to call customer service. You have a ticket, you have a seat. Why could it possibly make any difference where you sit for two hours.

    They have two customer service numbers, one for Spanish and one for English. The Spanish one is answered in the Dominican Republic, and the English in the Philippines. The Spanish language one has no wait, being multilingual is a benefit, but few xenophobes are polyglots.

    I flew Spirit last week. The only people with problems were those who could not follow directions. The web site has the contract of carriage (the rules both you and the airline agree to), those who did not read it or choose not to follow it were the ones who suffered.

    Some yahoo was in line with me 40 minutes before his flight left (I was there at the appointed time for my flight) he was all pissy about having to pay 20 (now 25) bucks to check his bag, and he missed his flight. If he had read the site he would have known when to arrive at the airport, and about the bag fee.

    Spirit is an ultra low cost carrier, just like Ryan, Go, or Click. If you can read and follow simple instructions you’re fine. If you are a moron then well you’re whole life is probably a nightmare so there really is no help for you.

    Everything on Spirit is unbundled. The bags, the seats, the chips and drinks, if you want it you pay for it. That seems reasonable to me. I have a sandwich and a diet coke before I leave the house and I get the big front seats which include the seat fee. Spirit is cheaper, and I have never been delayed by something under Spirit’s control.

    I am so very tired of complainers who simply don’t feel like going to the effort of reading what their obligations are. The seat fees are presented before you buy your ticket, she just didn’t feel like reading about them.

    I doubt this woman was given a phone sex line, I think she dialed the wrong number.

  34. mikelotus says:

    what was the number? were they cheap? sound any good?, fetishes, etc.,?

  35. Consumer007 says:

    @bobbleheadr: NO, OP is NOT racist. She rightfully expects businesses that want to transact with her where SHE lives to SPEAK HER LANGUAGE. DUH in bolded 50-friggin-point font. If they want to take reservations in India, no prob. But that’s not the case.

    WHAT BUSINESS PERSON IN THEIR RIGHT MIND SUBJECTS US TO NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS?

    This should be a felony as should outsourcing, but our “leaders” in Congress have NO spines.

  36. Consumer007 says:

    @mdoneil: And we are all very tired of self-righteous falsely superior armchair quarterbacking ASSHOLES like you who attack other consumers on this website. Oh you’re so fricking perfect, oh you NEVER make mistakes. Oh you ALWAYS read EVERYTHING on EVERY website ahead of time. Well fuckin goody for you. Whoop-t-do.

    In the REAL world, the rest of us consumers are allowed to be HUMAN, and there is something WRONG with corporations that don’t allow for that just like there is something MEGA-WRONG for someone like you to come along after the fact and say it is ALWAYS the consumer’s fault, and NEVER the corporation’s. I hope you get feed and fined and processed and put on hold and telemarketed to DEATH for the rest of your life until one day you realize HEY, they are after ME too! On that fine day, YOU will be the MORON the rest of us laugh at and scold and lecture for not being PERFECT any more.

    There is NO place for you on this website. Get lost.

  37. Consumer007 says:

    On a bigger relevant topic, I’m just wondering how many more FEES and FINES people are going to allow the airlines to get away with. I mean really, what’s next?

    - functional seat fee
    - nonsmoking row fee
    - non-Drunk pilot fee
    - licensed pilot fee
    - airport tarmac fee
    - cleaning crew fee
    - baggage handling fee
    - call attendant button fee – $5 every time you ring it
    - airline counter overusage fee – you have to pay $2.95 a minute to talk to a stupid human being at a counter wasting your time
    - extra oxygen fee if you turn on the air vent
    - working window cover fee if you open or close it
    - seat belt fee
    - bathroom fee – you get charged $5.00 a minute over minimum 30 second usage
    - attendant fee – you get charged $5.00 every time you ask a question
    - personal device fee – they notice if you’re using any ipod, phone or other device YOU own and charge you for using it on the plane
    - security screening fee – you have to be screened, therefore you have to pay it to fly, credit card scanned as you walk under
    - and DON’T EVEN get me started with all the online and reservation fees

    I know, I know, you think I’m being silly / paranoid / have to much free time on my hands, whatever, but you BETTER BELIEVE there are airline “consultants” that sit around and get paid millions by the CEOs and boards to figure out “how else can we get mo money outa dose chumps!”

    SO, what will it take to stop all this? Good question. Just not flying? Well, if that kills airlines even more than their greed and corruption have, we end up with one state-provided monopoly airline, not ideal.

    I don’t know, maybe angry consumers blocking tarmacs, concourses, ticket counter areas screaming NO MORE FEES? naw…Americans sadly don’t have brains and spines like the French, and won’t band together like the French will in a HOT SECOND to stop the nonsense…

    One does wonder though just how much more we will put up with before it all hits a flash point….

    Democrats did try to help out with the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights, but good ol Bush and Republicunts used it for target practice…well now we all see what happens to ALL consumers when people vote Republican…

    No, Obama won’t be the way to solve and isn’t the answer to everything. People have got to start getting nasty, persistent, loud, and obnoxious, and consistently so and support each other in organized groups instead of tearing each other down in denial until businesses realize it is suicide to keep attacking us, yes attacking us with fees, fines and minimizing our experiences, our lives, and our futures.

    Consumerist is one example of how that can start to happen. This is a pro-consumer organizing website. That is its purpose. So to all of you who want to be pro-corporation, or anti consumer, and tear down other consumers fighting for their rights GO FIND OR START YOUR OWN DAMN BLOG SOMEWHERE ELSE AND SHUT UP. We consumers have a RIGHT to object to these nonsense corporate acts on this website without your damn noise.

  38. Consumer007 says:

    oh one more fee I’m sure we’ll see before long – a “Speak English fee” when calling customer service – I’m sure mdoneil will just LOVE that.

  39. Consumer007 says:

    @incognit000: AMEN, BROTHER! Let’s see these CEO’s get cut EVERY time there are layoffs…guess what, no more layoffs.

  40. Consumer007 says:

    @Farquar: No, wanting American residents to answer AMERICAN customers isn’t xenophobic careless, or anything else except COMMON SENSE and PATRIOTIC.

  41. pke says:

    Phone sex operators having similar numbers to companies and CS lines is a huge problem and done by these people intentionally. These companies bet on misdials and reap huge profits from them…taking a page from domain name “dropcatchers,” one outfit called Primetel monitors the pool of 800 numbers and immediately sucks them up when someone forgets to pay a bill and their number drops. When the FCC released around 20,000 unused 800 numbers earlier this year, every single one was taken within 3 minutes. Primetel snapped up most of them. The companies never release them and they are mostly responsible for the shortage of available 800 numbers. What do they use them for? Pre-recorded messages trying to convince you to call one of their sex lines. A shameful waste of a public resource, it is.