More than a week after a man with terminal cancer took his gripe with Spirit Airlines public — and after several stern statements by Spirit that it would not, under any condition, bow to public pressure and refund the man his $197 — the airline has bowed to public pressure and is refunding his $197.
“Every day we seek to balance customer service with customers’ demands for the lowest airfare possible. But sometimes we make mistakes,” reads a statement from Spirit CEO Ben “Don’t Hate Me” Baldanza.
“In my statements regarding Mr. Meekins’ request for a refund, I failed to explain why our policy on refunds makes Spirit Airlines the only affordable choice for so many travelers, and I did not demonstrate the respect or the compassion that I should have, given his medical condition and his service to our country.
“Therefore I have decided to personally refund Mr. Meekins’ airfare, and Spirit Airlines will make a $5,000 contribution, in his name, to the charity of his choice, Wounded Warriors.”
The man, who suffers from esophageal cancer, had booked a flight to New Jersey to be with his daughter when she went into the hospital for an operation. However, his doctor recently told him that he is too ill to fly.
When he explained the situation to Spirit, the airline would only offer a non-transferrable credit for the ticket, which is no good to a man who has a short time to live and won’t be doing any flying during that time.
The man’s case was likely helped by the announcement earlier this week that Spirit — which has the gall to call itself the country’s “most consumer-friendly airline” — would be soon begin charging up to $100 for carry-on bags.