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On November 26, 2008, a friend and I attempted to fly from Tampa Fl to San Jose Costa Rica on Spirit airlines. I purchased 2 sets of round trip tickets on October 16, 2008.
We arrived at the Tampa airport at 6:30 AM for the 8:30 flight to Ft. Lauderdale. We were told at the Tampa airport that they could not issue us the boarding passes for the Ft. Lauderdale - San Jose flight because of the way I had booked the travel. We were informed that we would need to go to the front ticket counter in Ft. Lauderdale to do this. I questioned this because the flight would arrive in Ft. Lauderdale at 9:40 and the next flight departed at 10:40. Knowing this was the Thanksgiving travel time I was concerned there would not be enough time. The Spirit airline employee assured us that we would have plenty of time to do this so we boarded the flight to Ft. Lauderdale. I am unclear why the Spirit Airline employee in Tampa could not print our boarding passes. Had this been a domestic flight we could have printed all our boarding passes and this would be a non issue. Had we booked both flights together, the Spirit Airline employee could have scanned our passports and printed our boarding passes. But because they were separate for some reason this could not be done. When I asked why I was told "We just can't". When these tickets were purchased we were not provided with any information from Spirit Airline saying that boarding passes would only be issued in Fort Lauderdale.
Immediately upon landing in Ft. Lauderdale we went to the Spirit airline counter. We arrived at the counter at 9:49 AM. At this point we were told that we were late by 9 minutes and would not be issued boarding passes. I explained that the Spirit agent in Tampa had told us there was enough time, but they would not listen. Cheone, the Spirit employee at the Ft. Lauderdale counter, informed us that there were no additional flights to Costa Rica that day or on November 27th. The next day would be the 28th of November and it would cost an additional $430 for that flight. We asked if we could be refunded for the ticket and were told no since they considered us late. We asked if we could have credit towards a future flight, they said no since we did not cancel 24 hours in advance. We asked to speak with the supervisor and he told us the same thing. We were left stranded in Ft. Lauderdale. We then asked if they could get us on a flight back to Tampa. We were told no, the flights were full. The soonest would be on the 27th at a cost of $220. At this point we evaluated our options. At our own expense we rented a car and drove back to Tampa to retrieve our car.
When we returned home we immediately reviewed all our emails and reservation confirmations from Spirit. Nothing in the Spirit Airlines correspondences indicated that it is required for passengers to be checked in 1 hr. prior to boarding an international flight. I called Spirit to try and resolve this situation. I spoke with Alexis Smith. She reviewed the reservations and informed us that Cheole had stated in there that we were "No Shows" and we were denied our boarding passes because we were late. She did confirm that she saw we did board our flight in Tampa and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale. At this point she indicated that she was not going to be able to help us because our case was marked as "No Shows". I explained to her that was not true and relayed the above information but she would not listen. I then asked for her supervisor. I was transferred to a woman named Linda. Linda answered the phone already with the "No" answer. I relayed the above information to her as well. At the end of our conversation she said to me "You can keep talking but I am not going to do anything for you". At this point I ended the conversation and called Capital One to dispute the charge. I also went to the Spirit Airline web site
help area and did a search on "International check in time". None of the documents returned from the search indicated that passengers need to be checked in 1 hour prior to departure.
Based on the information told to us by Spirit Airlines employees in Tampa, based on the emailed reservation confirmations from Spirit Airlines and based on the lack of information posted on the Spirit Airlines website, we feel we were denied service from Spirit Airlines and this is why we are disputing the charges.
Anyone have any other suggestions on what we may do to get a refund?