Spirit Air Burns Woman's Luggage

Sean writes, “Lost luggage? That’s so 1990’s… Spirit Air’s all about burning bags instead.”

According to the TampaBays10 news,

On a recent trip to Atlantic City aboard Spirit Airlines, [Barbara Blewitt] couldn’t believe what she saw when she arrived at baggage claim.
“I looked and there on the floor was my luggage,” says Blewitt who discovered her bag had been mysteriously burned.
“I said what does that mean, what happened here? My clothes are burned!”
Spirit Airlines gave Blewitt a “Baggage Irregularity Receipt” last month at the airport. She says she hasn’t heard from anyone at the airline since.

You know what this means: a new “No Luggage Burning” fee when you purchase your ticket. Otherwise they’re going to apparently use it as a cheap replacement for fuel.
“Passenger says airline BURNED her baggage” [TampaBays10]
(Photo: tampabays10.com)


Edit Your Comment

  1. PeanutButter says:

    new rule:
    we are not responsible for broken wheels, handles, etc., or burning of your luggage.

  2. IphtashuFitz says:

    @PeanutButter: I think most airlines have already reached the point of “We are not responsible for anything.”

  3. dss902 says:

    Man he got burnt! Man I would be inflamed if that happened to me.

  4. PeanutButter says:

    @IphtashuFitz: yeah… the overhead compartment door could fall off and knock you out, but it’d still be your fault.

  5. jblake1 says:

    It happens quite often when bags are placed by the hot exhaust of a baggage belt loader next to aircraft. They should replace her bag absolutely.

  6. b612markt says:

    From their website:

    Damaged Bags
    If your bag is damaged, please notify a Spirit Airlines representative within 4 hours of arrival at your destination. All reports must be made in person at the airport.

    Spirit Airlines is not responsible for conditions that result from normal wear and tear, or the following:

    Damage to:

    * Wheels, feet, zippers, extending handles
    * Over-packing of the bag
    * Fragile or perishable items
    * Loss of external locks
    * Pull or security straps
    * Manufacturer’s defects

    Sounds like they owe her a new bag and should replace whatever was inside it.

  7. DeltaPurser says:

    Trust me, they will find a way out of this one too…

  8. Chad Cloman says:

    From the picture, that looks like a conveyor belt burn, where the bag gets stuck on the conveyor while it’s running.

  9. TheRealAbsurdist says:

    “Burning airlines give you so much more.”


  10. thirdbase says:

    and remember you have to pay Spirit $20.00 per bag for this outstanding service. You don’t even get to take one bag free on Spirit

  11. I saw this happen with another woman. Several of us flew into the airport on a late flight and our bags failed to follow us. About 8 of us stood in line, and when the woman in front of me handed her baggage tag in she was taken aside by the night manager at the United desk. He said her bag had come in earlier, but there had been some damage. When she asked what had happened he said “Umm … it caught on fire….”. The rest of us looked on in some sympathy as the guy brought out a large cardboard box, and took her bag out.

    It turns out the bag fell off the baggage cart, and got sucked up into the wheel well and sat trapped against the tire for about an hour as the cart made it’s rounds.

    The United rep was very sympathetic, and said that they assumed total responsibility. He helped her inventory the damage, and promised to call her the next day to arrange for replacement.

  12. Add:

    Her bag was Hot Pink too … lesson? Don’t buy hot pink luggage XD

  13. Macroy says:

    That’s hot.

  14. MayorBee says:

    We’ve got Spirit, yes we do,
    We burned your luggage, now you’re screwed!

  15. FLConsumer says:

    “I should have used Preparation H.”

  16. What’s really sad here is that simply replacing the bag, or paying the woman back for her damaged belongings, does very little to mitigate the aggravation caused by what probably amounts to carelessness or thoughtlessness or bad design. Imagine arriving at a vacation destination and finding many of the things you packed are unusable. Getting the cash to replace those things isn’t going to make it suck any less that you will now spend much of your vacation without important items and/or scraping together items and clothing. Poor woman, I hope Spirit goes the extra mile to make up for their terrible oversight.

  17. psychos says:


    I think it’s pretty reasonable not to be responsible for broken wheels/handles/other things that stick out, as airlines do generally disclaim liability for. They do, of course, stick out, and are often of poor construction. That said, my current set of moderately-priced luggage with multiple-hundreds of thousands of miles on most of it (much of that towed by hand within subways and cities and such, not just air-travelled miles) has not lost any wheels or handles.

    Burning your damn luggage though? I believe the traveler should have filed a complaint with the DOT and TSA (hey, they could’ve burned it too!) after more than, say, a week or so passed after the “Baggage Irregularity Report.” If that failed to produce results, it might be time to enlist an attorney.

    It does sound like the traveler, unfortunately, has not adequately harassed the airline. While it should NOT be her responsibility to harass the airline, doing so would generally produce more favorable results.

    Step #2 including contacting the media to induce a story about your burned luggage is perfectly fine. However, step #2 should also include contacting relevant government agencies, and filing more official grievances with the airline.

  18. cac67 says:

    @generalhousewifery: Just out of curiosity, what would you consider adequate compensation for this?

  19. @cac67: If it were me? I’d want a since apology, first and foremost, from someone at the airline. I really appreciate a genuine apology, especially when paired with a positive attitude.

    Could they fix it? “Offer compensation”? Probably not. I doubt it would be adequate. People don’t have unlimited time off and unlimited vacations. The nicest thing they could do would be to help mitigate the cost of the now-ruined or now-aggravated vacation, perhaps by refunding some of the money for the flight. I doubt most airlines would do this, and I wouldn’t expect it, but it would be nice. It would make me want to fly them again even though they screwed up.

    I know airlines aren’t quite like hotels, with concierges and so on, but it would also be pleasant if they tried to help replace necessities right away, so that the victim doesn’t end up scrambling around for the first day of what might be a short vacation making sure she has toothpaste or a hairbrush.

    It would be nice if they helped make her trip more pleasant on the way home, maybe by bumping her to business or first if she flew coach.

    There probably isn’t “adequate compensation”, but there are things that the airline could do to make it a little bit better. They don’t seem to interested in that though, based on the current response. She shouldn’t have to beg-they should already feel terrible and ashamed.

  20. FLConsumer says:


    “I know airlines aren’t quite like hotels, with concierges and so on, but it would also be pleasant if they tried to help replace necessities right away, so that the victim doesn’t end up scrambling around for the first day of what might be a short vacation making sure she has toothpaste or a hairbrush.”

    Actually, you raise an interesting question… Why aren’t the airlines up to par on this? Not one of the majors stands out above the crowd on this. Everything else in the travel industry offers some higher level of service, complete w/concierge, but you can forget that with air travel unless you’re flying private.

  21. LUV2CattleCall says:

    Spirit Airlines gave Blewitt a “Baggage Irregularity Receipt” last month at the airport. She says she hasn’t heard from anyone at the airline since.

    Not sure that’s a bad thing…if she did hear back from them, it would probably be another one of those messages from the CEO saying “Screw them, they say they’ll never fly us again…but they’ll come back the next time they can save a penny on airfare” [consumerist.com]

    @FLConsumer: Air travel has become a commodity, CASM is WAY above RASM, and costs must be slashed! I’ve found Southwest’s customer service to be top notch (hence my username), and Virgin America, at least while traveling first class, has impeccable service.

  22. FLConsumer says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: I’m not expecting them to provide such a service for free — I wouldn’t expect any service at Mal-Wart either.

    I’ve said many times on this blog that I’m more than willing to pay extra for good service. I can (and do) this with hotels, car services, retail stores, even automobiles. Why can’t I get good service in-flight without having to resort to general aviation / chartering planes.

  23. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Paying extra for good service? How about a decent level of service for what we pay now?
    I’m sorry, ‘higher costs’ can never justify the piss poor level of service from most every airline. If you can’t make money and offer good service, you have NO BUSINESS running an airline.

  24. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Delta lost our luggage on a flight last year(it never was put on our flight from LAX to BDL). We didn’t get it until late the next day.

    But they did give us toiletries kits. It was something, at least.

    United melted the handle on our baby stroller a few years ago, and paid for the replacement.

  25. @FLConsumer: Airlines are way behind because they can be. It’s unfortunate though, because an airline that does begin to offer superior service would likely find itself with a glut of new customers. Granted, I would probably not pay hundreds more per ticket for a company that treated me like a client instead of like cattle, but I’d probably pay a bit more and if service stayed at a high level I would be a very loyal customer. I only fly 6-8 times per year, so maybe I’m not the person the airlines are clamoring for, but hey, my money has to be worth something.

  26. RedRyder says:

    Obviously, she’s a terrorist. Probably had an explosive device in there. Off to Gitmo with her!

    Too bad no one onboard would have more than 3 oz of water to put a fire out with.

  27. EBounding says:

    @Chad Cloman: I agree, it does look like it got caught in something and wasn’t just submitted to a blowtorch.

    The airline should be held responsible, but this is why you don’t want to use crappy luggage.

  28. cybercjh says:

    Spirit Airlines. You get what you pay for. Just like USAirways. Glorified ghetto greyhound hustlers that have rape their customers in order to go in search of their next crack fix.

  29. @cybercjh:

    I actually had an OK experience with US Air (SFO-Barcelona, Venice-SFO). Flight crew even helped me looked for my camera when I thought I lost it on the plane. (Not that I am praising them – experience wasn’t necessarily the best, but not the worst).

    But, I think I am never going to trust Spirit with what I’ve heard about them.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I flew this crummy airline in May 2007. There was no one at the check in desk 45 minutes before the flight so I couldn’t get my boarding pass!! This was Memorial Day weekend. I was flying from SFO to Detroit. I was not allowed to board through security because the airport didn’t even know how to reach Spirit Airlines. I ended up missing my flight and had to buy a one way ticket with another carrier leaving the next morning. On my way back from my destination 3 days later, I learned that since I hadn’t boarded the outbound flight, my returning flight had been automatically canceled. There were no refunds. Unbelievable. Again, I had to buy another one-way ticket back home – this time with Spirit itself since no other airlines were headed back to SFO that day. SPIRIT AIR IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST AIRLINE I HAVE EVER DEALT WITH. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT FLYING WITH THEM.