No one stands up for the free-enterprise system more than I do.
But sometimes, as in this case involving Spirit airlines, the hate that people have for such large companies is pretty justified.
A good, well regarded, successful company gains that reputation for how they handle the unusual situations.
And in the case of 76 year-old Vietnam vet Jerry Meekins, they are handling the unusual situation he faces in a foul manner.
Yes, Mr. Meekins did buy a ticket to travel to see his daughter one last time before he goes off to the Glory. For Mr. Meekins has esophageal cancer and that has so compromised his immune system that his doctor said he could not fly to see his daughter.
So, why doesn't the daughter just go see her dad?
Well, because Mr. Meekins daughter is having her own surgery.
So, the great customer service and compassion shown by Spirit airlines when Mr. Meekins asked for a refund:
That is the one word answer from one spokesdolt, Misty Pinson.
You know though that Mr. Meekins could get some of his money back at some point.
But Mr. Meekins has to die before or during the flight to get a partial refund.
I get that this airline has a pretty strict policy regarding refunds and they reinforced it in the following statement:
"At Spirit, we treat all our customers equally and with respect. That means our non-refundable fares are non-refundable for everyone."
I get it.
But read this to realize how stupid they are handling this situation:
We are very saddened to hear about Mr. Meekins diagnosis and sincerely hope that his health improves and that we have the opportunity to serve him on his current ticket and many more flights."
Whiskey? Tango? Foxtrot?
What about this does Spirit air not get?! The old dude is, let me spell this out.
D y i n g!
This man served his country. He is frickin' dying. He has a short time, if that to live. All he asking for is a lousy $197. Is a bend for this man really going to tee off the majority that fly this airline?
I doubt it.
Again, what separates a good company from a cut-throat is how it deals with this kind of situation.
An airline watchdog group seems to think that Spirit should refund the money.
Kate Hanni of FlyerRights.org said that it is standard operating procedure to refund tickets if the passenger has a note from the doctor that he or she can not fly.
And especially when a dying man, who BTW may not have all his faculties due to the cancer, is unable to fly because his immune system is so compromised.
America is a nation shows respect for those that have served by wearing the uniform of our armed forces. And now, because of the lapse of treating our vets who served in Vietnam with respect but with contempt, more than ever Jerry Meekins deserves not just his money back but a huge apology for not offering customer service, let alone any compassion.
This is but one of the reasons people in the United States have had it with flying.
Overbearing TSA agents, airlines constantly cutting back and raising fares, cutting flights. It is just one big mess.
But when a airline shows nothing but contempt for its customers and hides behind an unbendable policy, it deserves scorn.
The fact is that a man that served his nation when it asked him should not be treated like cattle because he made what turned out to be a mistake.
Spirit Airlines, give Mr. Meekins his money back. Realize that sometimes, it is better to bend the rules in an unusual circumstance than being heartless bastards.